Leaving university: one year on
19th May 2016
In May 2015 I sat my last exam as a university student and completed my degree.
How on earth has it been a year since I left university??!!
In all honesty, it hasn’t been an easy year and it has bought many challenges with it, but I’ve learned a heck of a lot a long the way and I feel like I’ve grown as a person.
When I finished my last exam I gave myself about a week off (which was no way near long enough after 16 years in education!) before starting the long winded process of finding a job.
I needed a job because I had a flat in Liverpool with rent and bills to pay. A lot of people return home after finishing uni but that just wasn’t an option for me; it was a last resort. I loved my life in Liverpool too much to leave it behind, plus Tyrone had just started his placement year and I knew that if I returned to Shropshire my chances of finding a job would be significantly reduced.
So I turned finding a job into my full-time job. I would spending every morning, 9 until 12, applying for jobs, making a note of every job I applied for. Then I would use my afternoons to work on my coding skills because I knew that ultimately I wanted to work as a web developer some day. I have to say, I got really depressed during this time and it was not uncommon for me to spend my afternoons breaking down in tears.
I booked a last minute cruise for Tyrone and I in June because I was in desperate need of a holiday. I paid for it using what was left over from my final instalment of my student loan, but I really didn’t care at the time because it was exactly what I needed. And it turned out to be one of the best holidays of my life.
I didn’t turn on my internet for an entire week and it was incredibly. After weeks of being completely attached to my emails, waiting for responses to job applications, not having access to my emails was bliss. I felt to incredibly relaxed and free, and I didn’t have any worries for that entire week.
Then when we returned I got back into the swing of things and started applying for jobs again. I even signed up to a few recruitment agencies when I felt like time was running out (my savings would only cover my for a few months) which was a terrible idea. They made me feel like my degree was worthless and my skills were inadequate, and it was sole destroying.
Folks, if you are a graduate looking for work, I’d advise you to stay away from these recruitment agencies! You are better than what they say you are.
Eventually I got my degree classification and I was overjoyed to find that I had achieved a 1st. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.
By the time I graduated in July I was still unemployed. And even as I walked across that stage to graduate I still felt like I wasn’t good enough because I still didn’t have a job. But then again, neither did any of my friends from uni.
Another month passed and I started getting a few interviews for jobs that I didn’t really want. I tried my damn hardest to fake passion (which is so difficult) at my interviews, but when I heard nothing back I just felt more depressed.
Then finally I got an interview for a position as a web developer. I applied for the job on a whim as I didn’t think my skills would be adequate enough, but I went along to the interview full of passion (genuine this time) and just tried my best.
I remember walking out of the interview thinking I had completely screwed it up. I even broke down in tears the day after in the shower. But then moments after I got out of the shower I had a phone call offering me the job.
In September 2015 I officially became a Junior Web Developer, and 8 months on I’m still at that job, loving every single minute of it! I could not be happier with my job right now.
The last 8 months haven’t exactly been plain sailing. As I’ve mentioned before, the very first week of my new job I started having problems with my next door neighbour and his anti-social behaviour, which was very stressful for both Tyrone and I. It completely controlled our lives. Really, we should have made the decision to move sooner, but as they say “better late than never”.
Since moving I feel like I have really started to embrace graduate life and all the benefits it brings. I love having my weekends and evenings to myself, and not spending them working on assignments. I love the fact that I can leave work at work. I love having more money to spend on experiences and travel.
Going to university and moving to Liverpool were two of the best decisions I have ever made. In hindsight I would have studied a different subject (probably computer science) but I don’t regret my decision as I had some incredible experiences studying geography and met some incredible people.
I don’t regret not carrying on with education, which had been my initial plan, because I much prefer the working world, i.e. actually having money! I’m also lucky that I have job where I am continuous learning; I just don’t have the stress of exams and coursework, and the general frustrations that formal education involves.
I’m excited for the next year in my graduate life and seeing what challenges it brings.
P.S. I didn’t intend for this post to be so long! Sometimes I just get carried away!
P.P.S. I apologise for the weeds in my grass. Owning a garden is hard work!