Ever since I finished high school and transitioned to university to study a Bachelor of Business and Science, I had a clear routine. I would attend university, socialise, work on my business or any casual job I had at the time, and the cycle repeats day after day. My university experience was good despite frequent late night cram sessions, blood, sweat and tears. I am glad to say that I survived! My graduation day is in May 2018 which is a long way away so technically I have “unofficially graduated. Hooray!
So now what?
I finished university. My routine is non-existent. What do I do next?
This is a common thought many university graduates face. It can be very stressful to the point where they are suffering an early onset of a quarter-life crisis.
To help you figure out what to do next, I have put together this ultimate guide to life after university.
Don’t fret if you feel like you aren’t doing as well as other people. You are simply comparing your beginning to their middle or end. Comparing yourself to others isn’t good for your mental health or self-esteem so go at your own pace.
The Ultimate Guide to Life After University
Life after graduation can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what you want to do with your life yet. Don’t worry, you don’t always have to know what you want right away. Usually there is some sort of epiphany you get through experiences that make you think “Yes, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” Now I am not saying to do nothing until that certain epiphany strikes. Now is the time to experience new things and truly discover yourself.
As a university graduate, I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life but I do have a set of goals that I want to achieve in the short-term. Right now, I want to discover who I am, work on what I am passionate about, and create something of my own.
My Life After University Goals
- Work on this blog, grow my audience and interact with other bloggers
- Launch an e-Book and e-Course
- Grow my pet accessories business, Healthy Nibbles and Gifts
- Work on my freelance portfolio and score more clients
- Consistently provide high quality work to my existing long-term clients
- Travel the world and meet new people
I have put aside the stereotypical ‘finish university, get a full-time job at a company’ path for a couple of reasons. I don’t see myself in a 9-5 job yet. It’s not because I am lazy; I want to make a difference and be ‘out there’ rather than contained in an office. I also want the freedom of working for myself. Of course, depending on how things pan out, one day, I may be in a 9-5 job but for now, I am focusing on my freelancing work and my businesses.
Now that you know what I am doing as a university graduate, you don’t necessarily have to follow my path if it’s not for you. There are many different pathways you can take and I’ll take you through each of them below.
Different pathways you can take
1. Graduate Position
The most “traditional” pathway to take after graduation is to find a graduate position at a company. Times are tough though, making graduate employment quite stressful for many due to the weak job market. While there are only a handful of graduate positions available, there is a sea of keen grads competing for the same job.
If you do land a graduate position, congratulations! If you haven’t landed yourself a graduate position and you have been applying for months, don’t worry too much. While you are actively applying, you can think about other pathways you can take if you don’t end up getting a grad job.
Internships are handy for gaining relevant experience within your field of study. I will admit, I did not apply for any internships during my university degree. Is it something I regret? Yes. If I could go back in time, I would have pushed my younger self to get an internship to boost my resume. Then again, I don’t live off regrets so I will just believe it happened for a reason. If I were you, I’d look into any internships that may be available for you. If you don’t snag an internship, it’s alright. I’m alive today, aren’t I?
Many internships these days are unpaid, which essentially means you work for free but have the opportunity to gain relevant industry skills. Be wary about unpaid internships. There have been many stories about companies taking advantage of their interns where they are merely a coffee server and errand boy/girl. Research the company and stand up for your rights. You are there to get industry experience, not become their servant.
Volunteer work is beneficial to your resume and is great for building up your references and connections. Usually volunteer work will be advertised by non-profit organisations who require extra help for their mission to create a better world. I’m talking about the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, and the Red Cross. Take some time and help out these amazing organisations who are on a mission for good cause.
3. Gap year
After several years at university flipping books, give yourself a break by taking a gap year. Gap years are your opportunity to discover yourself, experience the world, and figure out what you are passionate about. When you travel to new places, your mind becomes more open to the different culture and atmosphere.
I am not taking a gap year but I have planned several travel trips throughout the year. Last July, I travelled to New Zealand which was truly amazing! You can read about my New Zealand adventures here where I will take you through trip planning to the best places to go to. In March 2018, I will be travelling to Thailand and Kuala Lumpur so I cannot wait to experience parts of South East Asia!
If you can’t take a gap year, take small parts of the year off instead to allow yourself to experience the world in your supposedly wild 20s.
4. Start a business
Here’s my favourite pathway: starting your own business. When you are working in an area that you are passionate it, you will find that you are more motivated and driven. If you are thinking of starting a business, go for it! If you have already started a business, kudos to you! You are going to big places! It takes courage and passion to start a business because it is scary. There are so many things you have to consider from what you are offering your customers, who is your target market, how much you are going to charge, and how you are going to market your product/service. It can be overwhelming but it is truly a great learning experience.
5. Get a part-time job
As opposed to full-time jobs, a part-time job can give you more freedom and time to think about what you want to do as your next milestone in life. This is very helpful when you are thinking of starting a business. Sometimes during the beginning stage of your business, you will have little income and more expenses. A part-time job helps bring in some income while you build your business.
If you aren’t thinking of starting a business, part-time jobs come in handy as they can lead to full-time positions as companies like to hire ‘in-house’ since you are already familiar with how they work.
Live your dream life!
No matter how lost you feel after university, there are so many things you can do to live your dream life. You just have to sit back and really think about what you want because not everybody wants the same things in life. You got this!
Here’s your next read: Finding Routine and Purpose Again after Graduating University.