This day marks one year since I received my final exam results marking the end of four years of college. I moved to France and had no clue what I was doing next. 12 months on I have learned some truths.
Final year of university is tough, really tough and the thoughts of finally being free and finished gets you through those long days of study. There’s a certain euphoria after finishing that last exam, your life can start, you are an adult, there’s no stopping you. That’s true for some but in reality so many people finish college and have no clue what’s next. Here’s 5 truths I have learned since graduating.
1. Most people don’t have a plan
When I finished law I thought everyone had their life planned, that all were going to do the FE1s (Irish law exams) and become lawyers. Boy was I wrong! Out of my group of closest friends two did these exams, two did a Masters, I moved to France and the others in my class went into every avenue possible. I don’t think any of us actually planned these paths years in advance we all kind ‘fell into’ what we ended up doing.
2. There’s no defined path
Just because you do a certain course doesn’t mean you have to be a certain thing. Your undergrad doesn’t define your future career path. From Masters and graduate programmes to conversion courses and gap years the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid ‘to take the path less taken’. I read something recently that stuck with me – just because you spent 4 years studying something doesn’t mean you have to spend forty years working in that area.
3. No one cares what you do next
As Doireann Garihy (Irish snapchatter and radio presenter) always says ‘No one gives a f*** about you’. What I have taken from this is that you shouldn’t care what people think about you because… They’re not thinking about you! Of course your friends and family care but they only want what’s best for you.
4. Only you can decide what you should do next
All that matters is that you are happy with what you are doing, or what you plan to do. However once you finish college it’s up to you to decide what’s happens next. Before university your parents could help, during university your college could provide support services but after.. You’re not on your own but.. You kind of are.
5. It’s tough but it’s not impossible
Some people make it seem like leaving university is absolutely terrifying especially if you haven’t got a concrete plan in place. What they don’t tell you is that it’s actually exciting, for the first time in your life no one is telling you what you have to do. It’s the first September that you don’t ‘have’ to do anything! That freedom to choose is a change. Of course it can be scary but it’s liberating too.
If you’re a final year student just finished exams and waiting for results and have no plan what to do next, stop worrying! No one really knows what they are going to do next. You aren’t alone and you will figure it out eventually. Stop putting pressure on yourself and just take a step back. There’s nothing you have to do but there’s lots you can do. You can do more study – a masters, post grad, a conversion course etc. You can do a graduate programme or an internship – within the area you studied or even a completely new area. You can start working – in a 9-5, or something temporary. Or you can take a gap year – if that’s what your thinking of check out my earlier post on why I think it’s a great option that more people should consider. Whatever you decide remember you’re still young, there’s no need to rush into something you will grow to hate.
What advice would you give to someone just finishing college/ university? Is there anything you have learned about since graduating that you wish you knew then?
As always I’d love to hear from you. Sharing honest advice is so helpful especially to those in a situation where they feel that they are the only one without a plan.