The dissertations have been handed in, exams completed and the obligatory photos in front of the Uni sign are filling up Instagram feeds. University? You completed it mate. Even if it may have been on a random Thursday at 2am in your bedroom alone, you made it to the finish line. It’s an achievement you deserve to feel proud of, so why are you not feeling ecstatic?
There are a few reasons for this, but firstly let’s talk about the fact that students put so much time, energy and strength into completing a degree and then there is no sense of instant gratification at the end of it all. It’s important to remember that sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the end result itself. You look back and realise that a part of your life has ended. Things are going to change which may possibly not all be for the better and that’s a scary thought to process.
It’s normal to miss a part of your life but be okay with not wanting it back. Just as with any phase of life, you will look back and remember all the good bits. It’s great to reminisce from time to time, these are your memories and you will have them forever. I believe it was good old Winnie the Pooh (A.A Milne) who said “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” But just remember that the end of one cycle brings the start of another, and the best way to beat this feeling of nostalgia is to make plans for the next stage you’re entering.
So how do I get started in this next stage of my life?
Apply for graduate jobs and utilise that degree!
When you submitted your UCAS application, your younger self had a vision of the type of jobs you may possibly embark on once you put on that cap and gown. Channel back into that mindset, update your CV and get applying to the career of your dreams!
Make a 5-year plan and define your life goals
This may seem overwhelming at first, but here me out. When you start university, you have a three/four-year plan laid out for you. You know what to expect and you know what’s coming, and this helps to be able to plan your day-to-day life around. Having an element of long-term structure like this in your life is ideal, as it helps you to look at what your goals are in life and then plan how to make steps to achieve them, just as you achieved your degree.
Arrange a meetup/event with uni friends in the not-so-distant future
One of the scariest things about graduating university is the thought of no longer seeing your closest friends every day. Some people are lucky in that they might carry on living with some housemates post-graduation, but many return to their hometowns or set off on adventures to new places. The best way to manage that fear is to plan a meetup or an event for only a short while after being apart, so that the gap doesn’t feel too long, and you will have plenty to catch up on.
Reflect on the person you are now vs when you started university
Something that gives a sense of satisfaction and pride is reflection, specifically on ourselves. Day-by-day, you may not have noticed significant changes within yourself, however each hurdle, setback and achievement has subtly changed you for the better. Through reflection you may notice that you approach situations with a clearer sense of understanding, or that you no longer let your emotions dictate your behaviours. In whatever way you have changed and developed, enjoy the recognition of the better person you have become.
Further your studies
Maybe this is something you have contemplated all along, but the end of an undergrad degree does not have to be the end of your academic career. Postgraduate degrees are widely available in a diverse range of subjects, and in most cases you can study a master’s degree in a subject that is not directly linked to your undergrad. So, if you spent your Undergrad studying English Literature and now have discovered a love for writing poetry as well as reading it, a Postgraduate degree in Creative Writing might just provide you with the opportunity to hone those skills.
Start a new hobby
Just because the days of student union clubs and societies are over does not mean you have to give up sports and hobbies! Get online and research your local club, or now with more free time you might finally be able to take up that hobby that you’ve been passionate about for too long but studying took all your focus. Get excited! Post-Uni life is opening up a wide range of possibilities for you and this is only the beginning of the rest of your life.