The final year of university can be a pretty daunting one. You’re 21 years old (or so) with 17 years spent in the educational cycle. Suddenly, in a few months, you will be thrust into normal life, expected to get a job and officially become an adult. It’s something you might have been fretting about since the start of the year, or perhaps you haven’t spent much time pondering on it at all. Either way, it’s important that you’re ready to step into the next phase of life. How do you prepare for life after graduation?
So, how should you be preparing for the realities of post-graduation life?
How to prepare for life after graduation
An easy mistake to make — which many students do — is to wait until the day university finishes to start thinking about next steps. “What next?” is in fact something you probably should be asking yourself from the beginning of your final year onwards.
Your biggest priority is identifying career fields you want to step into and looking at how to get into them. For many of the opportunities you’ll ideally be looking at, application processes will start months in advance of your end date. Indeed, by the time you’ve graduated, plenty of them will be all be concluded.
Attend careers fairs, get an idea of what you want to do and begin to build your CV well before the end of your studies — ideally you want to be stepping into something from virtually the moment you’ve left.
Get experience where you can
A common gripe of graduates looking for roles is being beaten out for positions based on other candidates having “more relevant experience”. Of course, the answer to this is to get some experience of your own.
If you’ve got a work placement as part of your course — that’s brilliant news. Especially if it’s a longer one, say six months or a year, you have a real opportunity to pick up solid, full time, relevant experience. What’s more, if you do well, your placement employer may well invite you to come back after university to work for them properly.
If not, try and get relevant work over the summer or during term on an internship — it will help your cause when you come to apply for roles if you’ve already got knowledge of the industry. If you can’t find relevant experience, just get a part time role. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bar job or waiting tables, it shows employers that you have a willing and a desire to support yourself — not to mention it helping you to stay on top of your personal finances as well.
Don’t forget your studies
If you are in the “fretting” category and have been pondering your post-uni life for some months, it’s easy to get carried away with preparing for what’s next instead of focusing on right now. You still have studies to complete — and certain grades to achieve in order to be applicable for many roles. Don’t forget to get the job done at university before you think about a job somewhere else.
Finally remember to enjoy your time at university. Many people will tell you that university was the best time of their life, so don’t waste a significant portion of it worrying about the future.
Revel in your last few months as a student, nail your final papers and exams and then you can look forward to new challenges ahead.
Do you have tips on how to prepare for life after graduation for students?