I graduated from an BSc economics degree in July and since then whether I am talking to friends, family, acquaintances or even my doctor the question ‘So, what’s next?’ always seems to come up. Now this in itself is not a bad question, but when you are not too sure or have absolutely no idea what it is you want to do then this kind of question can send shivers down your spine, especially when there are some expectations attached. (Luckily, I am now doing a Masters so I have been able to avoid these questions for the time being).
Common expectations after graduating:
- Secure a Job – The main reason anyone decides to go to university is to improve their chances of securing their dream job. Therefore, it’s logical for someone to have the expectation of being employed once university is over. To get my dream job working at the United Nations I needed a masters, hence why I am back at university studying MSc Development Economics.
- Start a Masters – If we haven’t managed to secure a job then we MUST be going on to further study. I have seen a few students who at the beginning of undergrad weren’t that keen on going on to do a masters but ended up doing it anyway due to a lack of what they see as any other option or because that’s the expectation within their family.
- Get Married – Now that university is over the next big milestone in my parents and family member’s eyes is marriage. So that’s the next thing to become a topic of discussion. For some of us this can lead on to a sort of match-making service and suddenly your aunt wants to introduce you to her best friend’s nephew. My dads current marriage advice to me is to go for a 4o years old millionaire…I’m still trying to work out if he’s being serious about me getting into this gold digging lifestyle or not.
- MOVE OUT – At university most of us get our first glimpse of living alone and at first it can be daunting, however you eventually get used to it and enjoy being able to formulate a routine and organise your life how you want it. Now moving back home you are again under your parents’ roof and have to comply to their rules and deal with a very limited level of privacy. For me questions like ‘where are you going? who with? When will you be back?’ have become a lot more annoying to hear. And for others (not me thankfully) we now have to pay bills towards the up keep of the house. The idea of buying our own house or flat has never looked so attractive.
- Go Travelling – Now that we are free from all responsibilities and have spent most of final year and the summer saving up we can now book a life changing trip to a foreign country that we never would have thought of travelling to before. This is becoming more and more common as agency such as STA Travel entice us with irresistible deals. I’m definitely guilty of this, although not travelling too far from home or for too long, I spent 5 days in Morocco as a graduation holiday.
Post graduation can be a vulnerable time for lots of people as this is one of the first times that there is no set next step in place for us to take. Since we were 3 and in nursery we have followed a path through school, to college to university and now at 21/22 we have to decide and really think about where we want to take our lives next. Considering all that, I think that this time is crucial but also very exciting, for the first time ever we have the opportunity to do whatever it is we want to do. If you don’t know what that is then don’t panic, take some time to follow your interests and think about your options, there is no point rushing into a new job, degree or relationship when you know deep down that you aren’t really passionate about it. For me, I’ve found an outlet in blogging, have always enjoyed being behind a lens and have recently discovered that I am pretty interested in videography and editing. Where these interests take me I don’t know, but for now I will continue to enjoy them.
Also, don’t compare yourself to your peers, your friend may be starting a new job, gone travelling or blowing up on YouTube but that’s their path, you have your own race to run. So don’t let the expectations of others put pressure on you, if you need the time to stop and think then take it, as long as you are making some steps each day to improve some aspect of your life then you are on the right track.