Top 10 tips for mastering post-graduate life
The feeling of sitting your final exam at University can only be described as pure relief. Relief that all the years of hard work, late nights, long weekends assignments, essays and exam study has been worth it.
The feeling of relief can quickly be followed by uncertainty as it sinks in that you are entering into post-graduate life and more importantly the ‘real world’. It is easy to become overwhelmed and it can be difficult to decide which direction your life should be heading in now.
|The feeling of sitting your final exam at University can only be described as pure relief. To help master postgraduate life, this article gives tips on how to get through the transition period from student to employee.|
1. Do not rush into a decisionWhen I left University, everywhere I turned it seemed that all my friends already had their minds made up; careers locked in and long term decisions already made. I was a little more uncertain in what I wanted to do and I felt pressure to make a decision. Luckily, I took some time out instead to travel and saw it as an opportunity to clear my head and get an understanding of which career path I want to take.
Fast forward 5-6 years and many of my friends have already changed jobs 3-4 times and many have chucked in their vocation altogether. Do not feel rushed to make a decision once you have completed your study. As tempting as it is to earn a solid income, if it is in the wrong job the novelty will wear off quickly.
2. Nothing will be offered to you on a platterA lot of departing students have an expectation that they will land their dream job straight out of University. Chances are this won’t happen. Great grades do not always guarantee a great graduate job. If you don’t land the job at the firm you want try not to become too disheartened, it may be a blessing in disguise.
3. Embrace UncertaintyIn post-graduate life it is difficult to have certainty. Interviewing can be a difficult process because you are releasing all control of your future to the panel sitting opposite you.
The trick is to embrace the uncertainty. If you have a rigid plan in mind of how your post-graduate life will play out, things will inevitably not follow script. If you learn to roll with the punches and have back up options you will find yourself in a better position to deal with uncertainty.
4. Trust your intuitionIf you land a graduate job you will find that there are still several paths within a single organisation that your career can take. Use the first year in graduate work to understand what line of work you want to follow. The path you want to follow may be slightly different to the expectations you had when studying. Trust your intuition and follow what feels right, even if that means following a path you never thought you would.
5. Keep learningJust because you have finished tertiary education does not mean you stop learning. It is now a great opportunity to learn new skills. Many graduate careers have further qualifications that you can embark on to up skill yourself in specific areas.
Do not limit yourself to just academic skills. Your post-graduate years are a great opportunity to also learn entirely new skills altogether. You already have fantastic study habits, take the opportunity to learn the language you have always wanted, try that new hobby or learn that new instrument. You will have time if you are lucky enough to land a graduate job where you don’t have to take your work home with you.
6. Continue to challenge yourselfOnce you land your graduate job or complete studying it easy to relax and think you have made it. Whether you want to hear it or not, the hard work has only just begun.
Continue to push and challenge yourself in all areas of life. At work, if you believe you can take on more stimulating tasks, make sure your boss knows you are willing to take it on. Likewise, set attainable goals outside of your work environment that your want to achieve whether that be in fitness, health, finance or travel.
7. Be selfish with your timeMost people enter postgraduate life in there twenties. At this time, it is easy to get caught up believing your life should be at a certain stage. Discard this notion. When you are at this stage of life your responsibilities are minimal and your income would have jumped up a notch from being a student.
Become selfish with your time. Work hard but also experience life. Travel, go out, try new places and meet new people. Because before you know it you may have the responsibility of family, staff or an organisation resting on your shoulders and the time to do any of the aforementioned will disappear.
8. Expand your readingWhilst I was at University I cannot remember reading anything that was not a textbook, journal article or academic paper. It is easy to forget how good it is to read a decent book.
No matter how busy your life gets, take time out to read for choice. Reading books on a wide range of subjects should be a breeze after trawling your way through some heavy textbooks over the years. It is a great feeling being able to sit down with a good book and expand your knowledge organically without having to learn and regurgitate phrases.
9. Keep in contact with your fellow post-graduatesWhen you leave University and start your post-graduate job it is likely your fellow classmates have spread all over the globe for different opportunities. Make an effort to keep in contact and continue to encourage and follow each other’s progress.
10 years down the track you will be glad you made the effort to keep in touch. Some of the strongest friendships you ever make will be at University.
10. Keep calmAt the end of the day, post-graduate life will continue to throw curve ball after curve ball. Keep calm, relax and enjoy the journey. If you put too much pressure on your post-graduate years they will be hard to enjoy.
Related: Tips and Useful Resources for International Students