Now that you’ve survived the first weeks back at school/uni I want to just discuss a few things I wish I’d known when I still was at uni myself. Because, believe it or not, life was a lot easier when my day was planned from class to class.
It has been exactly 1 year since I graduated, but it doesn’t feel that long since my ceremony wasn’t until early March. At the time, I was sooooo eager to get it all over and done with, to throw away my textbooks and to never ever have to set foot in the library again. But now that I have a good year and 9 months of working experience under the belt, I must say that maybe the uni days weren’t that bad after all…
The future is still distant
When you are still studying, you might be like me and have a constant focus on the future. But that is the future, it is this intangible thought that is far far away. As soon as you graduate, it hits you that this is the future you were dreaming of all those years. My advice is to try and live in the moment as much as possible, as cheesy as it may sound. Yes, you should think about what you want to do later in life but you can’t plan everything. I tried, and skipped most steps but there are still things I thought I’d have done way before now (like getting a driver’s license for example).
One of the things I miss most about being in uni is all the free time and time spent with friends. It is inevitable that most of your close friends are the people that sit next you in class, so you end up spending most of the week with them. You might do something after school and perhaps also meet up on the weekends every now and then. Once you start work, you are limited to evenings, weekends and holidays to enjoy free time. In the beginning it is really hard… I was the kind of person that would get up in the morning and decide that I wasn’t in the mood for lectures (bad behaviour I know), but try telling your boss that you’re just not feeling it today!
If you are working, there are a million things on your to-do list on days off, plus you also want to have some time to rest and relax. Try to fit in the gym, domestic duties, socialising, Netflix and rest in just two days of the weekend. Spoiler alert, it’s not happening. Suddenly you have to start planning to see friends, what were once daily catch ups are now weekly or even monthly get-togethers.
Guidance is (nearly) always provided
I’m sorry to tell you that it really is a big scary world out there. Especially if you don’t know what you want to do yet, or are not sure how to get where you want to be. Most of the times, being in school means having a mentor or a career centre where advice is given. Where are you going to for advice once you’re out? I’m lucky to have very supportive colleagues that help me in every way possible, but this is unfortunately not everyone’s scenario.
We are so lucky to live in this era with the internet as a major source of information, but all that information can get quite overwhelming. Especially if you don’t know where to start searching. Looking back at my experience now, I probably wouldn’t have moved to London if it weren’t for my internship. It was all arranged by my university, they basically held our hands in terms of administration. The same with my study abroad, I know so many people that had the choice to study abroad but were less guided by their uni and ended up not going because the paperwork was just a pain in the *ss.
You’re not really an adult yet
I know as soon as people hit 18 they think they are so grown and ready to take care of themselves. But the truth is that age doesn’t matter at all. If you live on your own, work full-time to pay your bills at 16 you are an adult. If you, like me, started living that life at 21 that is when you truly become an adult. Taxes, credits scores and the godsend that is Lidl suddenly take a spot light in your life. The other day I was SO excited that my laundry basket was empty for once, it was then that it hit me that I am oldddd AF! When did that become a highlight of the day!?
Like I said before, most of us uni students enjoy the liberty of non-compulsory attendance, shifts at part-time jobs that are cancelled easily and many many weekends abroad with buckets of cash to spend (compared to what you can spend after uni). I didn’t even go on a summer holiday this year because I couldn’t afford it. Not because I am broke (okay maybe a little), but that is because after all my bills I have enough money to either go out on the weekends and enjoy life or save up all month by staying in to go on a trip in about three months time. To each their own, but right now I need to live in the moment and enjoy every day.
Money, like time, is suddenly scarce. To me, that is truly adulthood. I was working full-time but lived in a very cheap place, so still had loads of money to spend. But after my move I had difficult choices to make, had to change lifestyle in order to stay out of the red and build up a good credit score (yup, it’s actually a thing!).
Look, I’m well aware that this post is a tad bit on the negative side of things but we are so eager to get out of school that we don’t realise that it isn’t actually so bad until it is too late. Therefore my one and true advice is to just enjoy it while you can.
What did you wish you’d know when you were still in school?
Lots of love,