Congratulations if you are graduating this summer! Completing your degree and finally being rewarded for your hard work is a great feeling. Enjoy it while it lasts, my friends. There are so many things I wish someone had told me about life after graduation. Sure, I know how to use Harvard referencing. But was I prepared for Real Life? No. Not I was not.
I promise this post isn’t going to be all doom and gloom. Here’s the good, the bad and the work-formalwear-level of the ugly reality of being a grown up with a degree.
No one gives a shit about your degree. I have never been asked for proof my my degree, nor do I feel having a First has given me much of a jump start on any other job candidates. While many professional roles require a 2:1 or more, that’s about the extent of many degrees’ usefulness. Unless you’ve been studying medicine. Then people definitely give a shit about what you’ve learned in your degree.
Having a degree doesn’t equal big bucks. In fact, stacking shelves in Aldi will probably earn you more than your first graduate job, unless you’re catapulted straight into a job in The City. It’s not all about the money, honey.
Council tax is a bitch. Honestly, the one thing I miss most about student days is not having to pay council tax. The real kicker? It’s your responsibility to make sure your local council is up-to-date with your information or you could have one heck of a bill waiting with your name on it.
You’re not that smart. You can know every business theory in the book, or leave uni with straight As, but you’ll still be the least knowledgable person in the office. Approach your career with humility and you’ll be fine. On that note:
Learning doesn’t stop once you graduate. I genuinely feel like I’ve had to learn more since leaving uni than I did to get my degree. The tough part is you have to motivate yourself. Most of this learning isn’t obligatory, but if you’re serious about your future career then it’s important to keep on top of the latest industry trends and developments.
A 9-5 gig is tiring. After 3-5 years sleeping in and partying with the occasional all-nighter thrown in, committing to a full day’s work will take it out of you when you start your first full-time job. Don’t worry too much; you’ll adjust soon enough.
High-school drama never ends. If you thought school was full of bitchiness, wait until you enter a busy office. You won’t like everyone and not everyone will like you. The truth is, everyone is human and colleagues and superiors will make decisions that you don’t like. Take a deep breath and don’t take it to heart.
Don’t spend a fortune on business-formalwear. Apart from the odd occasion, I’ve never had to wear really smart clothes to work and I’ll bet you won’t either. Most offices these days have a very lax smart-casual policy – I’ve even worked in an office where a colleague had a top with ‘fuck’ written on the back. OK, maybe don’t wear that, but your black jeans will probably be fine.
Twenty-two is still young. Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you’re a fully-fledged adult so don’t worry if you don’t have your shit together. Heck, 25 is still young. Thirty is still young. Thirty-five is still young. So don’t sweat it – after all, you’ll be working until you’re 70 anyway!
One of the most important things I’ve learned is that people are generally forgiving. We all make mistakes and everyone is winging it in some way or another. Seriously, everyone. I don’t think anything really prepares you for the Real World, but a willingness to learn and a good work ethic are the best skills to equip you for a graduate job.
Congratulations on your graduation and happy job hunting! Looking for some tips on crafting your perfect CV? I’ve got you covered here.