Whether you’re graduating this summer or you are just at the end of your first year, the future crosses all of our minds at some point. Throughout my time at university, I have always felt like there was a huge black hole waiting for me after graduation. When I started my final year in September, I decided I would finally do something about it. I booked an appointment with the careers service, and had a great experience with them. With the help of careers consultant Louise Setthi, I wanted to put together an article that would help students feel less alone when it comes to worries about their future.
Louise and I agreed that thinking about the future can be so anxiety inducing that it makes you shut down completely. Personally, the prospect of trying to find a job was absolutely terrifying until I actually started looking into it. The more I learned about application processes and career options, the less scary it became. Challenging that anxiety is not something you have to do alone.
Practically, the careers service offers so much to help you take small steps in thinking about your future. There are starting sheets for those of us who have no idea where to begin, and application, CV, and interview advice with friendly feedback. CareersLink can point you towards job opportunities specific to your degree or preferred location. Careers fairs can also be a great way to get started in finding out what path might be right for you.
Louise also pointed out that much of the journey of looking into future careers is about wellbeing and self-awareness. What matters to you? What do you need to feel fulfilled? It is important to know that no opportunity or experience is wasted if we choose to be proactive about reflecting on them. Even the most gruelling interview experience can teach us about handling the next opportunity that comes along.
You may be thinking that the idea of going straight into a ‘career’ after graduating is completely unappealing. That’s fine. Most students have been in full-time education from the age of 4. If you are anything like me, you have probably been stressed about academic work since sitting your year 6 SATs. That’s a long time to experience that sort of pressure. Louise and I agreed that it is important to consider what you need, not just what you think is right. It is okay to take some time off to figure out who you are without the pressures of academic work. There are plenty of ways to build experience after graduating that are not full-time career opportunities.
The careers service is available for students to use up to 2 years after graduating. However daunting it is to think about your next steps, make the most of university services while you can. You do not have to do this on your own!
For more information about the university careers service, visit their website.