I graduate in June. I have a date, a time, tickets will be available soon and I'll be honest - it terrifies me. This is the end of my education and although university is of course very stressful and I can't wait until I don't have the worry of dissertations, assignments and exams pressing on me. However, although I'll be glad from a break from education after spending almost my whole life at school, college and university, I don't really know what to do with myself and it stresses me out. It's crazy that at the age of 18 when applying for universities, we're supposed to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives. I'm 22 and I still don't and I don't want to rush into a career that I'm going to end up hating after a few years. Here are just a few of the things I've been doing to help with the fear of my life after graduation.
Focus on the now
I have an awful habit of looking ahead and thinking "oh balls, what am I going to do?" I get myself into a right tizz and start to panic, whether I'm at work at my current job or in bed trying to sleep. Suddenly the panic will just hit me. Of course you have to think about the future in some respects like when you are applying for jobs and the like but with exams and deadlines looming, I try not to live in the future too much, focusing on getting through now without too much stress. Do not let the future impact your ability to enjoy today. Of course, I know as well as anyone that its easier said than done and takes a lot of effort to do this but honestly, try not to let the big dark scary future overshadow the present.
Keep an eye on graduate recruitment websites
There are websites out there that have all of the available graduate jobs in the area you want to work in and one of them is Spotlight Recruitment, a website that specialises in marketing careers. I would love to move to London one day (boooo to the boring countryside) so I've been browsing the site looking for the job that calls out for me in London. There are jobs listed in categories such as digital marketing, communications, e-commerce and much more with the salary and exact location of the job next to each listing. It's a really easy to navigate website and it even has its own blog with posts with helpful tips like how to sell yourself and what to include on a CV, knowledge which is essential for us newbie graduates.
Think of failures as a learning experience
Being told you aren't good enough is never a nice feeling, no matter how tough you are. I went to an interview last December for a place on a programme that I really wanted and I just know that I'd have been brilliant at it. However, the "assessment day" as they're called, was simply awful. I was right out of my comfort zone and I think that a lot of the time this type of interview is geared towards certain types of people, something which I don't think is entirely fair. For example, I think that including role play activities in an interview is completely unnecessary. I'm not an actor and how I behave in a role play situation is nothing like how I would behave in real life and is completely not representative of me as a person and I know I'm not alone in thinking this. However, it is what it is and most graduate schemes will have this type of activity. It's tough, it's embarrassing and it's not nice but I've tried to view each failure as a learning curve. It sounds cliche but it's true - now I'll know what to expect in my next role play challenge. I know where I went wrong and how I can improve and although I hated every minute of that task, I can look back and know my strengths and weaknesses.
Accept the inevitable
As I've just said, interviews are not nice at all. They're not enjoyable, they're not fun and they can be downright humiliating. However they are a fact of life and each and every one of us will have to undergo at least a few ordeals at the hands of interviewers. If we accept this fact, instead of running scared from the words "interview prep", we can embrace the opportunity we have and show the best version of ourselves to the interviewer.
In my opinion, one of the worst things you can do is rush into a career. Of course if you know what you want to do for the rest of your life when you're freshly graduated then that's absolutely brilliant and you should go for it but if you don't then it's okay. I have no idea what I want to do in the longterm so I'm definitely going to take some time out, work in my current job and work on my blog and have a think about it. You don't want to pressure yourself into taking a job and trapping yourself into a career that you're going to hate in three years time.
Of course, I know myself that all of these are much easier said than done. It's something you have to work on and when dealing with the added stress of exams, dissertations and everything else, dealing with the fear of graduation is definitely not easy.
Good luck to anyone else graduating this year or anyone who has exams looming!
*this post is in collaboration with Spotlight Recruitment. All words and views remain my own.