So I’ve officially been out of school, fully graduated for more than year. I know there are lot of people out there who are now in my position at this time of year. Whether you just finished, are looking forward to finishing, or finished years ago I think we can all do with a bit of advice on our first years out of school.
I’m by no means an expert, but I recently saw this article from Huffington Post with some tough love advice and it struck me. It was just so real, no nonsense about “finding yourself” and “you have time” and “you’ve got this”. I mean it said all of those things but in a much realer way.
So I decided to put my own spin on it and give you some advice that I’ve discovered along the way, that I think me a year ago really needed to hear. At the same time I know I probably wouldn’t have listened to it either but try your best.
You’re not top shit
Listen I get it, lots of things will build you up but the year after you graduate breaks you down a little. I know you probably still believe you’re amazing. And you should, because you are, but you also might not be as great at things as you think. That’s totally okay! Yes you’re amazing because it’s hard to graduate, it’s hard to graduate with good grades, it’s hard to land a job (seriously any job, I have zero retail experience so if this whole writing thing bottoms out I won’t be able to get a job in anything else and I’m screwed). So yes you had to be top shit to do any of this. But the reality is that so much of that is also luck. You have to be super qualified to land a job, but lots of super qualified people probably applied for your job, could have done it well and didn’t get it. The rest is charm and luck.
That’s also reassuring in a way if you don’t get the job you didn’t, you probably didn’t get it because of luck and circumstances, not because you aren’t great.
Take some time off or you’ll burn out
So here’s the deal. When I graduated, the second I finished classes I had an internship lined up for a weeks, then the second I finished that I packed up my things in my partner’s car and we moved across the country. I took three days off to visit family before I moved away (for who knows how long – I mean I know now it was six months but at the time who knew?) and was sick the entire time.
I then worked for six months straight without a vacation (once worked 11 days in a row just to get a 2 days off to go to my own grad). And essentially was super burnt out. Less than a week after leaving that job I sustained a back injury that forced me to pass on jobs I really wanted and take a month off, lying on the ground, feeling like I was dying (only a wee bit dramatic?).
So the lesson here is, take some time off or your body will make you take some time off. Honestly choosing to would have been much better.
The one nice thing about moving far away last year was that I didn’t spend that much money. I was traveling a lot on little weekend trips but we were doing it on the cheap. So even though I made very very little money I still managed to walk away with a couple of thousand dollars. This helped get me through my back injury and so much more.
But it’s also okay to spend the money you saved
Once I got my new job, the one I’m currently at and have been for 7 months (woo go me!) I started saving money. I knew with this new job I was actually entitled to vacation so I wanted to have money to travel. A big chunk of pay cheque immediately goes into my saving account. Now my vacation is coming up so I actually booked things and you know needed that money. That meant pulling my hard-saved money out of the account and actually spending it. I was very sad to see my savings go in the other direction. BUT here’s the thing, that’s what it’s for. So spend that money on the thing you were saving it for. It’s okay.
Apply to grad school
Everyone plays the ‘will I or won’t I go to grad school’. I am still playing it. But why not apply, actually make it happen. Just fill out some applications, see if you get in. Then you don’t necessarily have to go but when you get that acceptance your immediate reaction might tell you which way to choose.
Fill your time with things you love
I am so so busy. I spend every weekend somewhere else or if I’m in the city, crammed with activities. I’m exhausted, but you know what? I love it. It’s so fun to be surrounded by people I love all the time, doing things that I love. I am busy, work is busy, my social life is busy, but it is all things that make me happy. So fill your life with things you love to do. You don’t have homework anymore, you might as well make the most of it.
Make new friends
My high school and university friends are still incredibly special bonds that I cherish. I spend as much time with those friends as I can. But the reality is that I don’t get to see them all the time. So I’ve made new friends, friends from work and such that I can spend time with and relate to on a different topics. You’re in a new phase of your life, you’ll need new friends to accommodate that.
Join new clubs
This will help with the friends thing. Just because you aren’t in school anymore doesn’t mean there aren’t clubs. There are still social and physical activities you can be a part of. While I’ve filled my time I still try to go to yoga fairly often and recently joined a bell ringer’s society (I know it’s odd and I can’t wait to write about it). There are tons of clubs and activities for an adult and it’s even more important that you join them now than in school.
What did you do after you graduated that really got you through? Any advice for new grads? Or advice you’d like as a recent grad? Let me know in the comments and follow my on bloglovin’ to keep up to date on my new blog posts and ensuing adventures!