During my time at school, teachers would always tell me things like: ‘The jump from GCSE to A Level is the hardest jump you’ll face’ or something similar about the transition from A-Level to University. But what is rarely talked about is the transition from University to whatever the future holds after Graduation. In fact, it’s actually a subject among Uni students that is half-joked about while also being semi-taboo. It’s never a comfortable conversation asking a final year (who may or may not have some sort of plan) what they’re doing after they graduate. During my time at University, I was peppered with careers advice, from fairs to CV workshops, but what isn’t really mentioned is what the transition after University is actually like and what common issues are. So, I hope that I can shed a bit of light (based on my own experience) on this topic.

**For clarity, I graduated from doing Chemistry at the University of Warwick in June and went straight into working in Marketing and Technology.**

 

1)   It’s completely normal to go into an industry that has absolutely NOTHING to do with your degree.

 

Since leaving University, a phrase that I hear time and time and time again when I’m explaining to people what my job is: “What’s that got to do with Chemistry?” or “Why did you bother studying Chemistry then?”. Like many A-Level students, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do when I was older, so I chose to study the subject that I enjoyed the most. It just so happens that, while I still love Chemistry, it isn’t the career that I want to pursue (right now anyway) – and that’s fine. Don’t listen to old-heads who find it strange that your job doesn’t relate to your degree. If anything, that situation is very advantageous, as it will make you a very well-rounded professional with a multitude of skillsets. HOWEVER, I’m certainly not knocking anyone who directly uses their degree every single working day – because that means they (probably) love what they do and have a clear idea for their career path.

 

2)   If you don’t have a job straight after graduating – MAKE THE MOST OF IT.

 

Now, before I explain what I mean, I must stress this is no reflection on the way I feel about myself, because I have enjoyed every single day at work since leaving Warwick. However, the thing about full-time work is that you can’t really just decide to have a month off and go to South-East Asia (usually). If you are having a gap year after University (be it planned or not), make the absolute most of it. If you don’t, you will look back and heavily regret it, because it will be the most extended period in your life that you can effectively do whatever the f**k you want. Take the time to see the world and **air quotes** “find yourself” in typical gap year style (lol). Cliché aside though, life comes at you fast after you leave full-time education, so take the time to reflect on your life thus far and what you want to achieve once you’re back in the hustle and bustle of ‘real life’. I’m well aware that a lot of people out there won’t be able to afford to see the whole world (myself included), but just make the best of what you can do with the resources at your disposal.

 

3)   Third, and finally, it’s very normal to feel sad upon reflection.

 

It takes a while to sink in but leaving full-time education for the first time in your life may well leave you feeling a deep sense of sadness, regardless of your immediate situation after graduating. In fact, it may be a mixture of emotions. It’s very normal to feel sad about not seeing your friends every day or living the (let’s face it) f*cking decent life of being a student. It’s normal to feel anxious about the future. It’s normal to feel nervous about starting a new job. Embrace those feelings and take the time to reflect on your time at University and school. Use all of this and turn it into something positive. Get excited, like really excited, about the future – because, like it or not, time stops for no man, and s#!ts got to happen at some time.

 

With all of this in mind, when it comes to what to do and what to feel after leaving Uni: there is no right or wrong answer – but it’s so important to find something that makes you want to get up in the morning, regardless of how long it takes.

 

Remember, that happiness and wellbeing is the ultimate ROI – especially when that investment is your most valuable resource: time.