Today marks two years since my BA graduation from the University of York. In some ways, I can hardly believe it was two years ago, but at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago.
After all, so much has happened.
It’s easy with any stage of life to reflect and form a checklist in your head of what you have and haven’t done since an event and graduating from university is a big one.
The thing is, life is never linear, it’s a zig zag. You move forwards, then back, then side to side and every toher way you possibly can.
I don’t really plan ahead so I can’t really describe where I thought I’d be two years after my graduation compared to where I am. I don’t really create long-term goals, I have fuzzy dreams that I work towards and kind of accept that I won’t achieve them for 10/15 years.
I also don’t believe in having regrets, everything I’ve done has taught me something or been for a reason, or just been lovely.
One thing I’d say is that I’ve failed more times since my graduation than maybe I anticipated… but it’s been worthwhile!
I would also say that it’s been brilliant, bloody hard work, I’ve learnt more in these two years than I’m sure I did in the three at uni and I’ve been to amazing places with my wonderful family & pals.
I wrote some tips last year about coping with life after university, but after two years in the adult world, here’s 6 attitudes I’d recommend that you adopt after graduation…
University might not give you the best years of your life, but the best people
I personally don’t think that university were the best years of my life. I absolutely loved them in lots of ways, but it was also hard work, lonely and took its toll on my mental health.
The people I met at university made those years great for me, and I think that’s actually what people mean about university being the best years of your life. You get to spend every day with your best pals! In that respect, it is amazing, as that hardly ever happen in real life.
But University also might not be the best years of your life, instead I think university can give you lifelong friends that make every year ‘the best’.
This mindset will also help you keep in contact with your friends after university, as even when life gets in the way of seeing each other regularly, you know that you always have the best time together.
Try not to lose sight of your dream, while you’re busy working
The world is going to rain on your parade and it isn’t personal. But when you’re working in a job you perhaps don’t enjoy, or caught up in the stress of the moment of your living, work, life situation, don’t lose sight of your dream.
You might be thinking how will I ever lose sight of it? It’s what I’m dying to do. But trust me, when you’re tired or working full-time it’s hard to find the energy and time to do additional learning, training, volunteering, work experience, side hustles that you want to grow into your full-time career.
Try to not lose sight of your dream, even if you’re manifesting ideas for a couple of minutes a day, if it’s on your mind and in your sight, then you’ll keep working towards it.
This also helps you feel as though you’re still working on your dream and makes sure that everything that you’re doing aligns with what you want.
Keep moving as failing will get you further than standing still
The most important thing to do (in my opinion) is to keep moving, keep trying new things and figuring out what is and isn’t important to you and what kind of life you want to create for yourself.
Keep moving and keep failing, failing is essential!
I live at home with my family now, but I moved out once already since graduating and then move right back in again when that didn’t work out! And then I’m moving back out again next month. Adult life is a zigzag process.
Also, I cannot stress this enough, you never ever move backwards, you’re always moving forward – even if you do move back in with your family, it’s completely different to when you last lived there.
Focus on what you’re doing, not what other people are doing after graduation
Yes, you may have gone to the same university, but your lives will look starkly different even two weeks after graduation. I’ve spoken about this before here.
You need to focus on what you’re doing rather than what someone else is doing as if you’re focusing on them, that means you’re essentially doing nothing for yourself. Why do that to you eh?
Be vocal & be the change YOU want to see
It’s a broken world. It’s 2020 and we’re still fighting against racism and anti-Semitism, gender and sexual inequality, against slavery and violations of human rights.
You have a voice and I’m sure at University you used it proudly, loudly and coherently. Now you need to use it in your workplace and wider society as well.
There will be resistance to change, there will be policies or people that will extremely frustrate you, there will be people who are uncomfortable discussing certain matters, but change does not happen without action.
So be the change you want to see in the world, be vocal, be smart about difficult conversations, be resilient to adversity and educate yourself and others.
If you want something, you have to go and get it as it won’t come to you.
Nothing will come to you sat on your bed watching Netflix, it’s sad I know, but true. My Uncle gave me this advice when I was in my final year at University and my Mum said it to me again recently, that if you want something you have to actively work to get it rather than expect it to happen or come to you.
Figure out a way to move yourself closer to whatever you’re trying to achieve or become. For me that’s always been writing my own blog, pitching to magazines, brands and taking courses.
It also means you’re putting more of your life back into your control. It can feel as though things happen around you or to you and that you’re waiting for other people to make something happen for you e.g. give you the job you applied for. The more you can do for yourself, the more control you have over your life.
It is very unlikely that your current job is your forever job
Don’t worry if you’re doing something you don’t enjoy, as you will have so many different jobs in so many different sectors in your lifetime.
Especially at the moment when the job market is a very competitive place, any job you can get will give you experience… but if you can try to find one related to what you want to do.
For me, I wanted a job where I can write and be creative and I worked originally in editorial on a magazine and now in Marketing. The thing you want to do everyday will relate to several different job avenues so apply for all of them and hopefully one will work out.
Prior to working in editorial I worked at Starbucks for a few weeks when I’d finished university. It meant I had enough money to travel over the summer, which was exactly what I wanted!
You can also use the fact that you don’t like/enjoy/relate to your job as fuel to keep working towards what you do want to do, while being grateful that it pays for your rent and Deliveroo bills.
What other attitudes should you adopt after graduation?