With graduation looming and inspiration yet to strike about your future plans, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of despair. All of your friends are starting fancy grad schemes or llama-herding in Peru, while the only thing you’ve got lined up is a Breaking Bad marathon and scheduled panic attacks about the dwindling graduate jobs market.
Your student discount card is about to expire, and if another family member asks you about your career plans then you might just have a breakdown. Sound familiar? These six points might help to reassure you.
- We’re still young
Those who started a three-year course straight from school will have only just turned 20 something, so there’s no rush to accept the first 9-5pm job that you’re offered. Daniel*, a recent graduate from MUBS, turned down several graduate jobs in favour of continuing with bar work.
He says: “I don’t see the point in accepting a poorly-paid graduate job that I’m not even sure I want to do, just because I’m expected to. I’d rather save up until I’ve had time to decide what I really want to pursue.”
- Comparing yourself to other people is a waste of time
Just because your housemate has secured their ideal job doesn’t mean that you’re a failure by contrast.
- You can’t discover who you want to be until you find out who you are
Personalities often change at university, which can be daunting beyond the bubble of campus life. Challenge yourself by experiencing something new, while you still have the chance. Jennifer has just returned from the UK, in time for her graduation:
“I had wanted to travel and experience different cultures for a while, and the summer before starting work provided that opportunity. It was the best experience of my life. I thoroughly recommend going out into the world and seeing it for yourself, regardless of whether you have a job lined up for your return”, she said.
- Many successful career-people have ‘fallen into’ their line of work
Recent statistics indicate that 19 out of 20 graduates had switched jobs within three years. Be confident enough to accept that your dream career might not be as you had hoped, and devise a new plan according to the aspects that you enjoyed.
- Your degree won’t go to waste
Deciding that you don’t want to be a psychologist doesn’t necessarily mean that the three years and millions of shillings spent on a psychology degree was all for nothing – any university education teaches a desirable skill set. According to Prospects, many graduate employers seek degree-level candidates rather than those disciplined in a specific subject.
- You’re not alone
Marcus Zientek, a careers adviser at Sheffield University, says that many students are unsure of their plans after graduation:
“How uncertain they are does vary, from those who have an interest in a general area of work but have not yet decided about it, to those who describe themselves as not having any ideas at all.
“Panicking doesn’t help and is unnecessary anyway. Don’t let things drift – keep calm and make a plan. Realise that you’re not deciding what to do with the rest of your life, but choosing a good next step for you.”
Contributed by David Phocus, Campuslane Editor.