Life after Uni

DISCLAIMER: this post may be soppier that my usual musings.

I finally visited home for the first time in three months last weekend and could not have been more content on that late night train, crammed with people while I squished in the window seat trying not to spill my soup. All the while praying my weekend bag at the other end of the carriage, out of sight in the luggage rack, didn't get taken (weekend outfits and a work laptop made me extra nervous about it's whereabouts). And when I got out of the station to see my Mum waiting for me - and bumped straight into an old friend at the ticket machine complete with mini catch up - I genuinely could have cried. It's the first time I think I have actually missed my home town in about three years - who knew Northamptonshire has that kind of pull?
When you prepare to leave university it's a very much spoken (and sometimes unspoken) expectation that you should begin searching for that prestigious grad job. The next step in the career ladder, the first day of the rest of your life etc etc. I have been extremely lucky in that I was able to start such a job a month after my final exam. On top of this, I moved out of my beloved uni town, to somewhere completely new for my first proper renting experience. Granted, it hasn't been smooth sailing landlord wise, and I can't go as Grand Designs on the decor as I would like - but it's not student accommodation, and I don't get woken up every other night by riot vans closing down a house rave next door, so it's a step in the non-student direction.
It wasn't until a few weeks ago when I met up with one of my closest friends, and sat down to chat about graduate life, that she pointed out exactly how far I had come since uni a mere FOUR months ago. It was realisation that combined pride with a slight sicky feeling, I mean I am still only 22 after all - I haven't even graduated yet, or even been on a straight out of uni SATC-esque trip to New York, but I somehow have got a proper job and (kind-of) my own home (?!). 

So when I went back home last weekend, and had girly catch ups with the rest of my nearest and dearest it became even more obvious to me that outside of the four campus walls, there is no pressure to rush your life. The majority of my best friends who all graduated this year do not have a specific graduate job yet, and if they do, they still live at home. Annoyingly all of them seem a little little less stressed and financially stretched that I do. Of course I am proud of how far I have come, and I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given - but it made me wonder whether the pressure put on students to find a job in their final year is justified. Just because I am in a graduate role does not make me any better than another graduate taking time to work out her next career move while part timing. For all we know, that person could land their perfect job from taking some time out and meeting the right person at the right time.

I guess what I am trying to say is, that a job straight out of uni is honestly amazing, but it is not the be all and end all. You shouldn't push yourself to get onto a graduate scheme that you might be faintly interested in because you think it will reflect better than taking a little time to work out what you really want to do. And after speaking to all my favourite people (with amazing grades, from different universities and different disciplines) about this issue - I can truly say that they have changed my way of thinking with their unanimous belief that taking your time after uni is totally okay, and if I am honest inspired me with their determination.. see! I did mention this was going to get a little emosh.

So I just wanted to share this realisation with all of you that have finished uni, or who are in your final year now looking for 'proper' work, and remind you that following your heart when it comes to jobs is still very much a thing. Of course it goes without saying that if you find a job you love straight out of education - go for it and enjoy every second! But if not, remember to stay motivated and focussed on your end goal.. obviously you gotta find a way to earn the dollar for essentials (rent, food, the Zara sale) in the short term. But if you don't know what your end goal is just yet, there really is no rush to create it.

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