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What comes after university?

Gayleen Hodson

For some of you, university may be nearly over. This time can be confusing, stressful and worrying. You may feel pressure about what is to come next. The adventure of university is over. For me, the three years were a blur. They went so quickly and before I knew it, I was back home after a whirlwind adventure away. Suddenly I was back home and the rest of my life was before me. So, what was next?

I felt huge pressure when I moved home.

I was meant to be getting a successful job to use the degree I had just gotten. I had to quit my part time job where I was based at university and suddenly I was back home with my parents. The pressure I felt was huge. It was stressful. I was full of emotions, and had visions of what my life was meant to be like now- I was meant to get a successful job being a magazine editor in a big city. But actually, it’s not what I wanted.

 I never went ‘the usual route’.

 I never went down the route that was expected of me, but that’s a different story entirely. But it seemed that everyone else that had been to university, was able to find amazing jobs that fit with their degree and chosen career paths. I was envious, it seemed that everyone was successful. Even friends that hadn’t been to university were soon buying houses and working their way up their careers.

My life took a different route entirely, an unsuspecting one but I still ended up happy. I didn’t do what was expected of me, but I did what was right for me and my life.

Life choices are not on a linear route.

 Just because you went down a linear route with your education, from GCSE’s to A levels to a degree, it doesn’t mean that your life choices needs to follow a linear route after. You may find that the degree you took wasn’t in the same career path you want anymore, you may land yourself an unsuspecting job elsewhere and end up loving it, you may take the family route. Whichever one you take, just make sure that you are happy.

Some people start families before careers, buy a house before marriage, start families before marriage. There are no rules. Choose the life choices you feel comfortable with and are excited by, not just because you feel it should follow that route at that time. Not many people are taking note of how ‘properly’ you do life, they are busy with their own.

Vera Wang didn’t start designing wedding dresses until she was 40, JK Rowling was 32 when Harry Potter was published, Jeff Bezos was 31 when he created Amazon and Donald Fisher opened up GAP when he was 40. There are no rules as to when you need to be successful by. Life isn’t a race.

Don’t let society or anyone else choose for you.

 Whatever happens, don’t let external sources or people determine your choices. They are yours to make. This is your life, it is the only one you get so please make the most of it and don’t let the pressure of someone else’s opinions affect your decisions in life. Only do what you feel comfortable with at the pace you feel comfortable.

Don’t rush any decisions.

 Decisions, especially big ones, should never be rushed. Make sure you take time to reflect on what you want out of life. Nothing ever needs to be permanent, so if you do choose or apply for a certain job, it doesn’t have to be the end game. If all else fails, I believe in the good old process of writing a pro’s and con’s list.

Everything happens for a reason.

 I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Life leads the way and it will take us to some exciting, daunting, happy and sad places. Just learn to go with the flow. Life will naturally have its ups and downs and especially at times when it feels like the end of an era, you just need to be patient as new beginnings are on their way with better days.

Life will never be the same after university, suddenly you’re thrust into adult life and you have to deal with everything coming your way and that includes the question- what’s next for you? But try not to make things into a bigger problem than they are.  Try not to dwell and over think it. At some point, life will naturally drift you down new pathways, you just have to be open and onboard for new chances, horizons and opportunities.

So what’s next is entirely up to you. Don’t rush, over think, feel the pressure or worry too much. Life has a funny way of working out in the end.

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