13 ways to stop worrying about what you'll do after university
By Quarterlife readers
If you’re a recent grad, here’s how you can spend less time panicking about what’s next.
It’s November and, if you’ve just graduated, you might be feeling like you’ve just entered the first two months into your “lost year”. The “lost year” is a time when the structure of studying, the sense of belonging you had from living with your mates and the aspirations you had for your life after graduation, all seem to disappear. It can be a really tough time, but what you have to realise is: you’re not alone.
Turns out, more than six in ten of us have just graduated, and nine in every ten of us is feeling lost after recently graduating. For those 90% of us feel pretty underwhelmed by the anti-climax that is life after graduation, those first two months can be the toughest.
To compile our list of tips to help you enter the battleground of semi-adult life, we polled our Instagram followers for the advice that they’ve picked up from navigating this time. Loads of you who have already been through your “lost year” and come out the other side, shared brilliant suggestions for recent graduates who are asking the natural question: “what’s next?”.
We’ve captured the best 13 responses here, to help you cope with this difficult transition.
1. Throw yourself into your art, hobbies and passions.
Think of what you actually enjoy and push that door.
2. Don’t overthink it.
If you want to travel, save up some money and just go. If you want to work abroad, go and do it. You definitely don’t have to settle down just yet.
3. Tune out people who tell you your twenties are the best time of your life.
Sure, it’s comforting to know that this is just a temporary low, but don’t beat yourself up if things don’t seem as amazing as people tell you they should. Things will get better, but it’s fine for them to be shit for a bit right now.
4. Realise you deserve support through it, in whatever form that takes for you.
Talk to your friends about how you’re feeling, even if you think they’re lives are going well and they won’t be able to relate. Trust us, we can all relate and no one’s life is as perfect as it might look from the outside.
5. Lead your own life.
You are not your parents and you should do what you love, not what they do.
6. It’s okay to not know what you want to do straight away.
Don’t punish yourself for that.
7. You are more than the job you do.
We all have to do stuff to pay the bills - it might not be our dream career or something that sounds cool to say at a party. That’s totally normal and anyone who doesn’t get that is probably just ridiculously privileged.
8. It is okay if you don’t use your degree in your job.
The job you first land might be completely unrelated. Be open to a range of options.
Feel out jobs and places to see what they are like before you commit. But, only intern if (and we cannot stress this enough) you’re getting paid.
10. Volunteer for a charity if you have time to fill.
It’s a really rewarding way to create structure in your day and it’s the most rewarding thing you can do.
11. Keep busy.
See friends, work, visit new places, read books. Anything. Just keep busy.
12. Make arrangements to FaceTime your friends.
Make an effort to keep those lines of communication open. WhatsApp is great, but it’s not always the most nourishing or comforting form of contact. When you’re all split up across different towns and cities, it’s easy to feel isolated.
13. Everything will be ok.
Don’t rush any decisions and listen to your heart. Be kinder to yourself.
Image by unknown Pinterest artist.