In third year there are a few words which are barely whispered, never mind said aloud- one of which being the dreaded *graduation*. After a nice 16 years of education, the thought of that comfort blanket being ripped away is one that terrifies a good 99.9% of students. I found out my graduation date yesterday and it’s all getting very real. But the more lecturers continue to apply pressure and countdown to that dreaded ‘Independence Day’, the more students simply refuse to acknowledge its existence. Hence this blog post (which will be a struggle for me too. I feel your pain.)
Me embracing post-graduation plans. Obvs.
1) P L A N
My journalism lecturer started third year with a terrifying speech about life post-graduation with a big number 9 looming behind her on the big screen. 9 months until graduation. But that wasn’t the worst part- she went on to say that we should be applying for jobs by December and most students should be graduating with a secure job. This didn’t really fit with my master plan of taking summer off to travel and securing a job by September. But at the same time this lecture was what I needed to hear to kick me in to action; I applied for grad job websites, attended careers talks and had big talks with myself about that big scary gap of nothingness after Uni, and how to make it not so scary. The best way is to plan- I’m not saying have everything sorted by the time you graduate, because obviously it depends on the person. But having an idea about the direction you want to go in is really important and it will drive you to get the best out of your degree too.
2) Focus on work
The first point isn’t to say that you should give up on Uni work and spend your days applying for jobs or stressing at the thought of it. That’s only going to make your life a hell of a lot more stressful when it comes to exam periods. Keep work as your priority but keep post-graduation thoughts on your mind. After all it isn’t all about jobs, many students go on to do Masters or take a year out to travel. No path is the ‘right’ one, it really depends on what you feel is best for you after Uni.
3) Keep an eye on your CV
Update your CV as you go so you won’t have all the stress at once. I took my very messy and disorganised CV to a tutor at Uni and luckily, she told me that I had enough experience but it was the actual layout which needed the work. Most CV advisers say to keep it simple but not to be boring. I changed mine up a little bit: rather than pages of random experience, I sorted it in to sections eg ‘experience’, ‘skills’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘education’. No CV layout is the right one but from what I’ve heard certainly avoid putting your photo on it!
4) Experience, experience, experience
Do I need to say it again? Employers value your work -and life- experience sometimes as much as your degree. Make yourself stand out- whether you’ve already worked in the industry, volunteered for your local charity shop or spent a year soaking up another culture abroad, it will all help you when it comes to bagging that all important interview. Anything you’ve done that might have enriched your worldly understanding in some way will go miles.
5) Enjoy it
For many this will be the last year in official education- it’s a really scary prospect but instead of avoiding the conversation, speak to your friends and family about your plans (even if you don’t have any- talking about what you might like to do is a good place to start, right?) Not only is third year the hardest and most heavily weighted year of most of our degrees, but also, we’re burdened with the stress of making BIG decisions after three years of being settled. But whether you’re planning on a Masters, an internship or travelling the world, all have exciting prospects behind them- have faith in yourself and enjoy your last few months of mid-week nights out, rolling out of bed at 1pm and eating pasta for every meal of the day (the latter will probably never change for me. Ah well.)
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