Leaving University: 3 Things Nobody Tells You

​It may seem that having a degree is the ‘done thing’ these days and that everybody has one, but that doesn’t mean that its any less difficult or challenging for each individual to go through. As someone who is motivated by business and work, being in education for 3 years may have been the hardest thing I’ve had to do, but something I felt I needed to achieve for me and for my future.

I am a firm believer in experience and working your way up, but having done not as well as I could have in school and college, I also felt that this was my one last chance to show what I can achieve if I put my mind to it. Everyone looks forward to that moment they can hand in the last piece of work or finish the last exam and can finally feel free to sleep in or roam the bars and shops without feeling guilty for not being in a library. I too was one of these people, eager to get out and prove my worth in the world of work and live up to all of the big claims and ideas I had whilst studying, but actually it really isn’t that easy. And I’m not just talking about lack of jobs or any of that stuff. I’m talking about the mental and lifestyle changes that no one warns you about when you submit that last paper.1. You will sleep for what feels like eternity.
Late nights fuelled by Red Bull and early starts sponsored by Starbucks? Yeah me too. That Venti Skinny Wet Latte definitely contributed towards my final project and with each day came a greater need for my caffeine fix. But undoubtedly this had more of an effect on my body than I could have imagined. The false sense of security that these quick fixes give you is that you’re not tired, when in actual fact you are probably exhausted and stretched to your limits. Going from working all day and using up brain power to being completely free to spend your time however you please results in that loss of sleep catching you up. I planned to spend my time making new connections and working up great business ideas, but instead I slept in until 3pm everyday and couldn’t focus on anything. Don’t beat yourself up about it, you just finished a degree!! Get in as much sleep as you can and I promise in a couple of weeks you will be back to your old creative self, it just takes time.2. All those nights out you planned? Forget it.
Now this may not apply to everyone, but if you are someone who likes to be independent and live away from home, this costs money. It may be a wonderful idea to go on crazy nights out for a while, but soon enough the realisation that you are no longer provided monetary help sets in and the panic of what’s to come is pretty paralysing for a period of time. Me and my best friend planned a million different things to do and days out in different close by cities we had never really seen, were all at the forefront of our plans, but we haven’t seen each other properly in around three weeks. After spending every day together for a year this is a strange experience! But maybe all of those plans were just fantasies created by our brains when we had to find hope from somewhere that the whole of our lives would not be filled with worry and anxiety about when the next piece of work was due, or how we would be marked on our so called individuality. I fully commit to these plans we made (Emma please don’t punch me) but maybe the best thing we can do right now, or anyone can do, is take a bit of time and decided what you are going to do and how you will move forward. Bills must be paid and work must be found, but don’t get me wrong I love a good cocktail when I can.

3. Feeling lost isn’t the end, it’s actually the beginning.
If you are anything like me, you will have had a life plan and your future house and cars planned out for years (Penthouse in Ocean Village, a Bentley, a Range Rover and a 4x4 Mercedes if you must know) but the reality is that nothing ever goes as planned. Even if you don’t know what you want to do and enjoy just going with the flow then this time period can still be difficult, as big decisions still need to be made. With hundreds of thousands of students all looking for jobs at the same time it can be hard to keep up the motivation and not lose yourself if the whirlwind of free time. I haven’t been unemployed since the age of fourteen. FOURTEEN. And now I’m twenty-one with no job, that’s a hard hit to take. It took me a while to get my mojo back, but with some help from friends, family and those in a similar position to myself, I was able to work out what to do for the mean time to keep progressing. The lost feeling I had of not knowing where I was going has actually been the beginning of new things that will get me to my end goals, slowly but surely.

It is a very strange time to go through, and a sort of passageway I feel to ‘being a grown-up’. As a present for getting the marks I so desperately worked for, my mum helped by getting me a shiny new sofa and desk so that I could redo my living room that needed it so much. I now walk into my apartment and feel like a new person with a new outlook that wants to make her way in the world. Goodbye old student Ellisha and welcome to grown-up Ellisha (with council tax to pay. Urgh.) and a brand new living room.

I hope this has helped anyone struggling the same as me in this time, but if not I do hope it gives a slight insight into how difficult it is to actually finish university and transition into the working world. You know what this new me says?
Bring it on.

(Unicorn Chalkboard: Primark - Southampton, Sofa and Cushions: Next Home, Hedge End, Southampton)