Graduating: 1 year on
The other week one of my best pals put in our group chat that it had been a whole 365 days since we graduated. Where the flip has that time gone?!
Graduation was such a wonderful day, everyone was in good spirits and happy, so many proud parents and proud graduands too. It was the last time the German students would be altogether, it was emotional but it was beautiful.
Looking back at the last year, a lot has happened. When I graduated, I had just moved in with my boyfriend, quit my part time uni job, accepted a full time graduate job and had no idea what to expect.
I got a job as a marketing assistant for a retailer. I don't know if I ever really saw this as a permanent job, more like a stepping stone.
When I finished university, I desperately wanted to go travelling. There's still so much of the world I am dying to see. But the reality was, I couldn't afford it. So I intended to save up while getting some work experience.
I know money is somewhat of a taboo subject, but I think it's important to talk about, so here goes.
Even though I worked through uni, I came out with a lot of debt. Not just student loan debt, but overdraft debt too. This isn't through poor management of money, this is because university is bloody expensive. I don't think this is really talked about enough, especially when you're in school and being pushed to go to university. You're told not to worry about money because yay student loans, yay grants, yay you don't have to pay back that loan until you earn x amount and yay it's only a tiny percentage. But my hyped-up student loan didn't even cover my rent, let alone my bus pass, bills, society fees, living costs, any textbooks, food and obviously not socialising. I had to rely on savings, my bank and planned overdraft for that.
So yes, I wanted to go travelling, but my more immediate priority was getting out of my large, interest-free (thankfully), student account overdraft before I was no longer eligible for that student/graduate account. So I jumped into the working world, with a job in marketing which is what I ultimately want to do, with the goal of paying off this debt and then saving hard.
1 year on. I am out of my overdraft. I'm putting away money each month and attempting to line my savings account which took a brutal hit to get me through university. I have travelled where I can, visiting Norway, Fuerteventura, Germany, Wales, Hampshire, Dorset and London.
And I got a new job.
I was contacted about a job opening, and one thing after another, I ended up handing in my notice and accepting a new job offer. It came with a pay rise, the industry appealed to me more and it felt like the right step for my career. So I'm still working in marketing, but now in the healthcare sector.
I feel I've done a lot of growing up over the last year. I've been pushed out of my comfort zone more times than I perhaps would have expected or liked, but it's helped me so much. Student mentality can be a bit focused on the short term - if I finish this essay today I can go out tonight etc - you're not always focused on the long term. Your main goal is to pass your exams, get a good degree classification and graduate. Maybe you'll consider your first job out of uni, but beyond that, there's not a lot of planning.
I definitely came out of uni with this mentality. All I had my mind set on was saving money and going travelling, not really considering anything else.
But now I'm switching my focus up a little. I still want to go travelling so so much, but I'm putting my career first. I'm enjoying my new job and I have a lot of drive and ambition right now. I want to learn as much as I can and progress.
Right now, I'm ok with figuring it out as I go along. I'm doing the groundwork for some of my bigger goals, like travelling the world, investing money in property or otherwise, and longer term plans.
I miss university a lot, but I'm moving on and up. Post-uni life ain't all bad.
what i've learnt
1. You have time - you don't need to do everything right now.
2. Friendships will change - your friends will move all over the country and you won't see them as often, but they're still your friends
3. I'm not sure I will ever pay off my student loan in my lifetime
4. Fitting exercise in around a 9-5 job is really, really hard
5. Your first job out of university doesn't have to be your dream job, you've got a lot of working years, it may take time to get there
6. You will feel very pressured to buy a house ("renting is wasted money" *rolls eyes*) but it's not gonna be easy to get a big enough deposit
7. Your friends getting married and having kids will always shock you
8. You probably still won't know what you want to do with your life, but it's okay because no-one really does
9. You don't have to stop learning once you leave education - take courses, read books, study
10. Do not compare yourself to others, everyone has different paths and goals
To all the people who got their results this week and are heading off to uni (including my sister), I wish you all the luck in the world, make the most of it and have the time of your life!
To all the people who have graduated and joining the adult world, good luck too. It's not easy, but it's by no means boring! Chase your dreams, work your bum off and make the most of this one life.
I'm certainly trying to!
Let's see what the next few years bring x