Our younger selves have been led to believe that going to a good university and then graduating with honours is the ultimate goal of life. It’s why students, with their parents’ prodding, obsess over getting good grades, sometimes to the detriment of social relationships, health and happiness. East Asian countries like Japan and South Korea take this to the next level with the popularity of cram schools. Students attend another set of classes up to four or five hours either to have advanced lessons or to prepare for university entrance exams.
While studying and doing well in uni are worthy endeavours, this laser focus on just one chapter of people’s lives has made some students feel lost and uncertain after graduation. Structured learning has disappeared, and they are left to find their own path. Life skills not given importance in uni like personal finance, conflict resolution and how to do daily chores are suddenly needed to navigate the real world. It is why adulting courses are popping up for the ill-equipped.
Graduating from the university is only a transitionary period to the rest of one’s life. It is in these post-uni years that you will find yourself and grow into the person you want to be. A fresh start is given to those who can make the most out of it. Here are three other things nobody tells you about life after uni.
It’s the perfect time to take risks.
Jumping straight into job hunting might be a tempting next step after graduation. After all, isn’t that what uni was all about? But why waste the opportunity to explore and learn more about the world when you can still afford to expend time and energy. Being in your 20s means you have more to gain and less to lose by taking risks. You don’t have a family to feed and other responsibilities that stop you from spreading your wings and finding what you’re meant to do.
Your first job might not be related to your major.
It’s natural to daydream of an ideal job, where each day doesn’t feel like work, and you can impact the world for the better. Unfortunately, that dream might not happen in your first foray into the labour market. Sometimes, your first job will not even be related to your major, like creating pitch decks about the merits of hospital wall covering when you hold a degree in fine art or finding new clients as a political science major. What’s important is you learn foundational skills like customer relations, research and project management in your first job. These skills are easily transferrable to any industry.
You can’t escape paperwork.
The world outside uni loves paperwork, from lease contracts and taxes to health insurance enrolment. That’s not even counting the amount of paperwork you’ll be writing and reviewing in a corporate setting. It’s better to accept this fact of life early on and create an organisation system for all your paperwork, so they are easy to find and won’t get lost in the clutter. You might even consider digitising them to lessen the space they occupy.
Life after uni can be both liberating and nerve-wracking. A whole different world is waiting for you out there, where risks, life lessons and paperwork are abundant.