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Articles > Mental Health October, 31, 2018

What They Don’t Tell You About Finishing University

Nichole Kuda
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After spending three years (and practically your whole life) in education, it may feel pretty daunting, confusing and can generally be draining when it comes to the bittersweet end.

All you’re really equipped for by the time the years of partying and pot noodles come to an end is “how to secure a graduate job” and “how to be successful in the world of work”. No one thinks to tell you about everything in between like how hard it will be to secure a job, how challenging it is not knowing the direction you want to take in life and the toll it may have on your mental health.

After finishing university, I felt like too much was expected of me. This pressure didn’t come from family expectations but rather the standard that was set by lecturers and my peers. After graduating with a First Class in Biomedical Science, the direction most people seemed to take was further study or going straight into NHS jobs. I still feel like I haven’t quite found my feet nor figured out what I want to do, but seeing other people celebrate their accomplishments on social media will very quickly have you comparing and feeling left behind.

I went back to my waitressing job after moving back home and soon after applied for a job as a customer care manager for a digital communications company – big mistake. Among the confusion of not knowing what I wanted to do and working full time in a job that sucked my soul, my mental health very quickly declined and I began to feel trapped. I’ve since quit and will now be spending a lot of time in bed, catching up on shows and possibly making some applications for medical lab assistant or biomedical scientists jobs (while contemplating leaving this life behind and running off to Ibiza for a few years).

“Go at your own pace and don’t focus on what everyone else is doing.”

A lot of your friendships will come to your end: this goes for both the ones you made at university and the friends you had back home. In the two months I’ve been back in my hometown since finishing university, I’ve met up with two pre-university friends and approximately zero university friends. This is ultimately due to life getting in the way and people’s schedules being so different and thus plans fail to come to fruition. Meanwhile, I’m seeing friendships that were made at university blossoming further before my very eyes as I see posts captioned “girls holiday”.

Take this time to invest in yourself. I now write blog posts (of which many are just shut away in folders on my desktop, never to see the light of day), but invest time in yourself. I’ve also been reading quite a lot too and “Ask and it is Given” is my current muse – I’ve been using this time to reflect on the past three years while determining the direction of the next three and have a few exciting projects coming up.

“Make this YOUR time”

It’s understandable that your self-esteem may be damaged after finishing university by the struggles you may face trying to land a job alongside the lack of social interactions but just take it as it goes. If you’ve made it this far already and have survived university then I truly believe that there is nothing in life that you will fail to overcome and conquer. Just take each day as it comes and don’t focus too much on all that may be going wrong because it won’t be like this forever.


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