How to Survive the Post-Graduation Existential Crisis
With a swift end to another academic year, if you’re anything like me you will have thus far side-lined applying for potential employment opportunities in favour of endless revision, essays and exams. Which is fine! Everyone prioritises differently.
Or rather, it was fine. Except that now we are hurtling towards the cataclysmic existential apocalypse before us
and nobody knows what to do. Basically, the fear of impending unemployment is very real.
Recently, I’ve become a bit concerned that I’m going to spend the next month or so in a prosecco-fuelled haze of celebration, pretending the inevitable can be continuously deterred, only to return home this July and discover that suddenly, I’ve got my whole life before me and absolutely no sense of what I want from it.
I think the problem for graduates facing these sorts of fears is that if you leave uni having yet to seal the deal job-wise, you’ve literally got months of your life spanning out before you. For the first time since you were about four years old, your time isn’t structured by the academic calendar. All that stands between you and your future is a perpetual stream of days in which – no pressure, but - you need to get your shit together.
So I’ve compiled a little list of things to remember whilst contending with the inevitable existential crises which can often follow graduating university - especially given the current state of affairs in the spheres of employment:
DO NOT PANIC
Easier said than done, I know. Maybe take a morning sometime this summer, get a nice brew and some biscuits and write a list of exactly what you want. If your first priority is to start earning some money, think about your options: maybe look for jobs locally, something part-time or semi-permanent – pubs, cafes, bars are more often than not looking to fill vacancies. If, however, you want to get straight on the career ladder, consider the process involved: get a CV together, get on job sites, get some experience (will expand on this in a mo).
Don’t feel pressured by other people
Pushy family and friends can be the worst, but make sure YOU aren’t putting pressure on you either! Just because that girl from uni got on a grad scheme and your bestie from home has already signed a 12-month contract at £16K a year doesn’t mean you should. Take your time in making decisions and again, think about what it is you want – don’t compare yourself to other people, it’ll get you nowhere.
Get yourself on the scene
LinkedIn, job finding sites, agencies – sign up to everything you can and show yourself off. All experience is good experience, even if you’re spending the next 6 months between job interviews, you’ll be such a pro by the time you’ve scored a position. Do stuff that boosts your CV, talk to people in the sector or your area of interest, get some experience, make yourself known.
Say yes to everything
If you’re not getting the results you want, don’t spend your time moping – enjoy it! Use your time wisely, and not just in the sense of CV improvements. If you’re still job hunting in early September, definitely go for a spontaneous round at the local on a Wednesday night – it’s not like you have to clock into work at 9am the next day, is it? Enjoy having the time and freedom to be a bit selfish.
Know that everything will work out in the end!
If in 10 years’ time you’re not where you thought you were gonna be in 10 years’ time at 21 – you’re probably doing everything right. Life will play out exactly how it’s meant to, so just have faith that the right thing is going to come along sooner or later – no matter how many interviews/training days/placements, even jobs it takes, you will get there. And if you want to take the summer off just to chill, that’s okay too. Book a holiday with friends and spend some time with your family – you deserve it after the past few years of graft.