A list of all the struggles you face when you adjust to grad life
Going out isn’t as fun when you have to wake up at 6am
Transitioning to a graduate life after university is an unsettling prospect for many students, which is understandable as it puts pressure on that familiar uni-life 'bubble', and reminds you that there really is a world out there beyond Fruity and 4am Crispy's (sorry).
Everybody's transition to graduate life is different, but here are some of the all too familiar struggles I have faced after finishing uni, which will hopefully help you consider the next steps, and steer you away from an inevitable breakdown (believe it or not, breakdown's don't end with uni, nor are they exclusive to Eddy B)
Finding the right house… and the right city
First comes the old cliché of flying the nest. You take on the role of Kirstie and Phil in your own episode of Location, Location, Location, although you need to expect that your search will consist of shoddy studio flats and 1-bedroom flats, rather than lavish 3- bedroom houses.
Given the property market today, chances are scientists will achieve the singularity before you are able to afford a mortgage. The advantage of having lived in a student house however, is that you are surprisingly lenient on what you are prepared to live in, as long as you are able to add your own touches and make it a home.
If you keep an open mind, you can make any house work for you, if the city is right. Gone are the safe three years of experimenting in a temporary city, once you graduate, you are (hopefully) signing up to a longer term job, so getting the city right is the most important thing.
Once you have found the right location, you realise the house is secondary. My house was a pretty good deal, even if it is on top of a Ladbrokes between an Indian and a Chinese takeaway… and a not quite so tranquil view of a roundabout and a Mcdonald’s. Now though this could almost be considered a heavenly place to call home for a student, but once you graduate you don't crave Maccies as often because night outs are far more limited.
Trying to live without that precious student loan
A select few of you might have tried to save money as best you can and put it aside in preparation for transitioning to adult life, however you quickly realise without a student loan or a student overdraft, that money doesn’t go quite as far when you get slapped with your first month’s bills and taxes.
Gone are the good old days with the all-bills included student house packages. You are already on a student budgeting level, you’ve gained experience points, now you need to upgrade to the level of adult budgeting… unless you are one of those lucky few that get a job straight out of university.
Trying to live up to grad job expectations
You've finished your three (or more) years, and the expectations from you, and everybody around you to find that perfect grad job suddenly become a lot more pressing. Let's not forget, you have to try and form of income in order to keep your new home for longer than a couple of weeks.
The true reality of the luxurious grad life is actually endless trips to the job centre, and over 250 job applications (only about 40 of which I got a response from, and of those 40 came only 3 job interviews. I managed to finally get a job). Even then, you find that you can't just jump right into the job which you might have imagined, and there will be many nights where you just need a cuppa tea and a binge watch on Netflix. Not exactly the grad life we all dream of.
You drink A LOT less:
Funnily enough, you find that you drink a lot less now than you did as a student when it was a staple of university life.
I can’t drink casually now, I have to have an actual reason to drink. I’m not sure if that makes me boring, but I certainly don’t miss all the hangovers, its incentive enough that it’s a lot cheaper, more money for the monthly Netflix subscription I guess.
You realise uni isn't just about the degree
Never has the phrase 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' being so true.
By the end, university was a lot about connection. Connection with other people, connection with the world around you, and figuring out different ways to connect with the world around, not just clicking the like button and endlessly scrolling down social media accounts.
Staying in touch with uni friends is a given, but you begin to find out how quickly things change over the summer when you are met with a social media barrage of friend’s holiday photos on Facebook and Instagram. All while you are still here in Leeds, simply doing DIY in the new flat to give yourself a break from the daily soul-sucking process of job searching.
All I can say now is that I hope your transition isn’t too harsh, and that you get to a point of having to turn to that next chapter where you think to yourself ‘hey this adult stuff isn’t too bad.’