Adjusting To Life After University
Adjusting to life after university can be an exhilarating experience. There is a feeling of immense pride that after years of skipped meals, all-nighters and serious stress over exams you have finally attained your objective and graduated. You feel great for about three weeks and then things start to change. You get a pervasive feeling of loss and a heightened sense of uncertainty as you no longer have the familiar schedules and routines that you had as a student. University does provide a cocoon of familiarity and community with mentors, teachers, and friends that provide advice and support. It is not uncommon for students to become anxious and even depressed after graduation. However, you do not have to feel lost after graduation, follow these tips to ease the transition from student university life to adult professional life.
Make New Friends
Not being with friends that you have spent years with can be one of the most difficult things to cope with after graduation. You need to be creative in keeping in touch with your uni friends, if you’re all in different cities try and get a WhatsApp group together and make the effort to meet up when you can.
What will help you, even more, is creating new friends in your professional circles. While making friends is not so easy as compared to when you were in college and university, it can still be done. You can start with your colleagues and you will be surprised at how many close friends you can make. You can also make new friends while engaging in social activities such as sports clubs and the gym.
One of the biggest disappointments you may experience may be having to adjust to a life or job that is not aligned to your passions. After graduation, you may have to work in a job that you have no passion for and live below your expectations. As an adult with new responsibilities, you may have to take whatever is offered and be patient to build on that. Job offers are typically few and far between and hence even if you have to take boring jobs, you have to be patient. Use these opportunities as a stepping stone for bigger things more aligned with your expectations or passion.
Set New Goals
In college, you may have gotten by doing all nighters a few days before exams and been able to get away with missing classes, but in real life, you will need to set new priorities. It is no longer about passing exams that are a few weeks away but more about adult responsibilities. You need to set new goals such as paying off your loans and saving money. To regain the sense of striving towards something and achievement, you should set a goal such as going back to school for postgraduate studies or saving enough for a deposit on a house or apartment. Having goals will give you a sense of purpose and increase your drive making you adjust faster to adult life.
Turn Uncertainty Into Opportunity
Decide to be positive about the challenges you encounter in your professional and social life. Acknowledge that turmoil is natural and is likely happening to most of your friends too. As such, you should take any challenges as opportunities to build yourself towards professional and personal excellence. For instance, if you are having problems grasping complex concepts at work, do not take it negatively but as a learning opportunity. Seek out mentors and more experienced colleagues to help you with the challenge and learn a new skill in the process. If you have been rejected by a hiring manager when you thought the job was in the bag, call the company and ask for feedback on how you could improve in the future.
Accept Your Changing Identity
Your identity has been tied to your education for most of your life. As an adult professional you need to acknowledge that this is changing fast and your professional life is becoming more important. While it may be an uncertain time as you try to find yourself, acknowledging your changing identity and embracing it will help reduce anxiety and go a long way to help you adapt to changing circumstances. Be reasonable with your expectations such as what job you can get and how fast you can move up the ladder. You can get a good job right from the start but the important thing is to not get disappointed or frustrated when you start spinning wheels.
Adjusting to life after university can be a daunting and frustrating experience. However, it does not have to be, given that a lot of people that went before you had the same experience and came out just fine. By being patient, adopting new habits and acknowledging your new and changing identities and circumstances, you can come out of the experience stronger. By following the tips in this article you can enter into responsible adulthood and achieve a lot in your professional life.
All the best,