Life After University – What Next?

Shining some light on my life after university! - Words by Hayley / Picture by Kat...

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68% of University leavers find full time work in the UK

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15% of University leavers go onto Further Study 

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6% of University leavers remained unemployed

I've been catching up on some of my favourite blogs the past few weeks and have seen a recurring theme - University. Whether it's worrying about what to do when you finish your degree or you've already finished and now you don't know what to do after... I wanted to share my story in hope's that it comforts some of you and shows you that it's not all rose tinted glasses upon graduation!

Let's be honest, life after uni is so daunting! You've had it drilled into you that we must find our dream jobs upon graduation and most of us tend to think that it might happen quite quickly, but that's not always the case. We pile on the pressure; pigeon holing ourselves into decided what career path we want to take, lining up interviews and trying to secure work as quickly as possible. It's so overwhelming; some of us don't even know what we want to do after graduating which is another stressful factor in itself. Third year is the most important part of university but whilst 70% of you is focusing on work the rest of you is like BUT WHAT THE HELL DO I DO ONCE I'VE GRADUATED?!?!?! Here I'm shining some light on my story to restore your faith that's everything works out!...

What did I think would happen after University?

To be honest, I'm not really sure what I ever thought would happen after university. Third year was hands down the hardest year studying ever, with gruelling work loads, tight deadlines and crazy late nights and sometimes no sleep at all. I think I'd focused all of my energy onto just getting through and completing my final year that I hadn't ever really given too much thought as to what I thought would happen afterwards. I kind of envisioned having a couple of weeks down time to catch up on sleep, line up a few interviews then I thought I'd find something pretty quickly.

What actually happened after University?

So, I graduated, celebrated, slept, slept some more and then felt like the whole world had dried up of jobs I'd love to do in the two weeks since I'd finished. PR or social media was a route that I was eager to explore and kind of imagined those jobs would be ten to the dozen. But I was wrong. I signed up to every agency, directory, newsletter and Twitter account that I could find and wasn't having too much joy. I didn't expect to just fall on my feet by a long shot, but at the same time, I didn't think it would be as hard as it actually was either!

So, what did I do? My step brother at the time was working as a chef and running a cafe in our town, it was on the seafront and it was summer so I took on as much work and overtime as I could so I could save up whilst looking for work. It actually turned out to be one of the best summers, I decided to stop being so hard on myself and enjoy life as it was, right then. It's so easy to pile on the pressure when graduating, always questioning why you can't find any jobs, or why you're not landing that interview, but I'm a firm believer of fate and I think things happen when they're meant to. So, I worked my butt off and saved up, whilst running my life, keeping connected with brands, bloggers, and PR's that I'd worked with previously and kept on applying.

I landed some amazing interviews; one was at my dream company and I'd built it up in my head as my 'dream job'; during the interview it was quite apparent that it was far from my dream job so I left feeling super disheartened. During the summer whilst I was waitressing, I received an email from a PR firm that I'd worked closely with asking if I'd like to start a two week internship the very next week as someone had dropped out last minute, I snapped it up and loved every minute. In fact, I loved it so much that I kind of never left, I just kept extending my internship every week because I didn't want to leave, it ended up being my job for a year and a half, which also proved to me that sometimes the best things come along when you're actually not looking for them!

So, even though I landed my dream job about four months after graduated, it wasn't all plain sailing and by no means something that just happened. After hundreds of applications, several rejections and utter persistence, I finally made it. What I'm trying to say to you gal pals; is don't stress yourself out about the situation, worrying after all, won't actually change anything. Don't put too much pressure on yourself because what will be, will be. Saying that; there are some things you could be doing to help you land your dream job; here are my top three tips!...

MY TOP THREE TIPS FOR APPLYING FOR WORK UPON GRADUATION...

STAY IN THE KNOW

I made sure that I'd signed up to as many job websites and social media accounts as I could so that I was kept in the know when new jobs arose. Try to sign up to newsletters where you can so you receive daily/weekly updates straight to your inbox as opposed to trawling sites! This is all dependant on what area you'd like to work in; if you're interested in working in fashion or beauty then I'd highly recommend checking out the following for job updates; Diary Directory, Fashion Monitor and Gorkana. Linked In and the Graduate Jobs Twitter account are great  too!

STAY CREATIVE

I think it's so important to stay creative once you've graduated! It's super easy to just let everything you've learnt or practiced slip away with everyday life. I studied Fashion Media & Promotion which involved photography, styling, graphics, writing and so much more. Once I'd graduated I made sure that I maintained my blog to get my brain creative, I also bought a camera and shot what I could, when I could. I also really loved illustration and graphic design and was fortunate enough to land a huge illustration job the week after I'd graduated which kept my creativity flowing. 

STAY CONNECTED

I'm a huge believer that sometimes 'it's who you know, not what you know' does actually work out. I'd met the girls at my job through my blog and had always attended events, supported their brands and built up great relationships with the girls, then when the internship came up it just seemed a natural fit for them to ask me, I loved everything they stood for so for me it was a no brainer! Try to attend any relevant events, stay connected with people via social media and make your presence aware so that if a job or an internship comes up; you're at the forefront of their minds!

So there we have it! My graduation story and my first job role! Like I said, please don't stress it, just put the work in, keep in the know with the latest job updates, keep connected to people of importance and work your little toosh off; in the end everything will fall into place. Promise. In the meantime, don't worry yourself sick about 'what might happen', none of us would ever get any sleep if we worried about what might happen, just focus on the now, if you're in your third year, put in the work and worry about the aftermath once you've completed your work load!

Are you in university or just recently graduated? What's your post-graduated story? Was work after university a concern for you too?

HEY GAL PAL!

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10 Comments

  1. Josie 30th October 2016 / 11:12 am

    This is so what I needed right now – and actually so helpful to find out some tips/what to do (as I’m liking the idea of going into PR) So helpful and comforting to hear your story thank you so much for sharing!! I agree, at the moment I’m a bit too busy and stressed to even think about applying for jobs/grad schemes and the more I don’t do it the more it worries me but you’re so right, there’s no rush really (only the pressure that goes on everyone) and I should just relax and enjoy life!

    JosieVictoriaa // Travel, Fashion & Lifestyle

    • Hayley 31st October 2016 / 8:55 am

      I’m so glad to hear that lovely, sometimes it’s nice to hear some advice from people who have been there too! Do let me know if you need anymore help or advice once you’ve graduated but 100% focus on your third year for now, the rest will work itself out love! x

  2. Erin 30th October 2016 / 3:58 pm

    I dropped out of my first attempt at uni, and I am so confident now that even if I had finished I would not be using the degree, I did something I was good at rather than something I enjoyed – that would be my biggest tip! But I love hearing peoples journeys who did do something they love, and where they have ended up now! I find it cool how so many of the bloggers have PR type degrees, and I love how in theory they are being used! I am looking to go to uni next year (its competitve to get in, so may be the next, or the next lol) but I want to do midwifery, so there is only really one path I can take there, but I am so excited to go – even if I am older 🙂

    Erin || MakeErinOver

    • Hayley 31st October 2016 / 8:57 am

      Ah it’s SO good to hear your story girl! When I was at college it’s kind of drilled into you that you HAVE to go to uni to be successful, but that’s bullshit – it’s hard work, sheer determination and passion which shapes our career. Sometimes a degree does help but it’s how we utilise it – good for you for going back into education lovely, sounds super fun! 🙂 x

  3. Margaret 1st November 2016 / 9:09 am

    I think the thing that bothers people is the time. People want immediate success after graduation while in fact those succeed right after is just one or two among millions of graduates around the globe. This is such a great post reminding people how important patience is! I love you sharing your thought and experience as always!

    xx Margaret
    http://www.maleemaleehong.com | http://www.facebook.com/maleemaleehong

    • Hayley 3rd November 2016 / 9:40 am

      Thank you for your lovely comment lady, I couldn’t agree more, people do expect everything to fall into place straight away, but for most of us that isn’t actually ever the case. Patience is a virtue, as is hard work! x

  4. Miriam - londonkitchendiaries.com 3rd November 2016 / 11:21 am

    It is so difficult to adjust to life after Uni and it is never black & white. There are so many options and sometimes things just take a little while …

    • Hayley 8th November 2016 / 7:28 pm

      Couldn’t agree more love! So many people think you graduate and it just happens but that’s rarely the case, I’m a huge believe that patience and hard work is a virtue! x

  5. Anastasia 8th November 2016 / 6:11 pm

    That’s a fabulous post, I’ve been meaning to write something similar as I notice that most of my students are stressed at their final year and they keep asking questions about what’s next after Uni…

    My story is a bit more unusual and different than yours, but I see that we both kept blogging and being creative along the way, which is always a great thing! After my Bachelors degree I shortly worked as a sales assistant, and then moved on to filling in applications for scholarships to study for a Msc. What I thought would be a few months of work, was eventually 12 months of me being a sales assistant and sleepless nights waiting for application decisions from the funding bodies.
    Long story make it short I got 3 scholarships and so I moved to Newcastle to study for my MSc, and then after this another scholarship came to study for another MSc and I took it because by that time to me studying was like my job, and since I was getting paid to do it, why not?
    And so years went by of me studying and working as a researcher at Universities until I decided to go on with a Ph.D. Mainly because I wasn’t bothered to get myself a job and doing a Ph.D sounded delightful (little did I know…), and here I am know being a lecturer, working as a researcher and graduating from my Ph.D in just under five months, eeek!!!

    What’s next? Only God knows! I highly doubt I will continue my academic career and I just need to work into something easier as my brain feels like a mash most of the times. I am a firmly believer that we all go down different pathways and even though we dont know it, there is a reason for whatever comes long. So I focus on now and will accept whatever comes next 🙂 Fingers crossed its a good one!!! 😉

    Happy Tuesday!
    x

    • Hayley 8th November 2016 / 7:30 pm

      Girl this comment made me smile so much, absolutely adore your positive outlook on life! It’s so refreshing to hear people with a ‘come what may’ attitude, because somethings really are out of our hands and I don’t worry too much with stressing about what we can’t change! I know that you’ll be smashing it as always my love! xx

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