Sunday, 26 February 2017

A Letter To My 21 Year Old Post Graduate Self

Ah, hindsight.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could go back in time so you could tell yourself that thing that you were really worrying about actually turns out to be okay? There are so many occasions I find myself wishing this. Mostly because I worry about everything and anything all the time. Like constantly. #Stresshead 

The moment that stands out the most to me is graduating and having to become a fully fledged adult. So many fears, so many worries, so many 'what if's' and quite frankly a hell of a lot of 'I have no idea what i am doing' moments (Like all the time). Like most graduates, at the youthful age of 21, finding myself at the end of my degree and facing the momentous moment of graduating into unemployment, I have generally never felt more uncertain of life then I have in that moment. I mean going from full time student where going on a night out and making it home in one piece and not throwing up is classed as a success classy to being forced into 'adulting' where you have to take full responsibility for the rest of your life and act like a member of society is like woah, hold on a minute - it was only last week that I was falling over in clubs and considering take out pizza as part of one of the vital food groups. They should really teach a course in 'How to adult' at uni!!!

Anyways, 3 years, 2 jobs, a lot of  'I can't believe I just did that' moments and one long term relationship later, there is so much I'd love to go back and tell my 21 year unemployed self. So I thought I'd put it in a blog and hope it saves some poor 21 year old graduate who is going through the same motions. 

1. You wont be unemployed forever
When people graduate uni they either take on a post grad course, land a graduate scheme or go travelling. I fitted into none of those categories. 3 years of uni was enough to put me off writing essays for life, I had no money for travelling and I couldn't land a graduate scheme because of those ridiculous tests. - plus the majority were in London and that was the last place I wanted to move. So I left uni, moved home and took a part time summer job working at my local kennels. Yep, I had got myself in thousands of pounds of student loan debt to land a job shoveling dog poo. Winning right? Endless job applications, endless rejections and I really felt I was going to be unemployed forever. Well maybe not unemployed, but trapped shoveling dog poo for the rest of my life. It was a case of the same old 'You need experience to get the job but you need  job to get the experience'. A never ending cycle. I fast began to believe I was going to be unemployed forever. However after a summer of freelancing and blogging I eventually landed a junior digital marketing role in Manchester. I cried on the phone when I found out because I was so desperate for employment. Tragic I know.

The moral of that long winded story is no you aren't going to be working that crappy part time job post uni forever. Yes it's a nightmare finding a job and yes it can take a really long time (I had friends that it took a year after graduation to find a job) but I promise you, you wont be unemployed forever. I mean I even landed job interviews and they were horrendous (the companies and the people I was interviewing for, not me!) and that really made me think Id never find happiness in employment. So trust me, whatever happens, you're gonna be okay!

2. Life is all about balance
Leaving uni is so hard. Shard. Finding a job, finding somewhere to live or if if you were like me, moving home to live with your parents again, starting a new job and suddenly having to act like an adult and not a student, trying to keep up with old friends, uni friends and new friends, keeping yourself alive, fit and healthy and just generally trying to keep yourself alive, all rolled into one is quite frankly, exhausting. I remember finding the first 6 months of my job total chaos. Trying to balance seeing friends after work, going to the gym, keeping up with my parents, keeping in touch with uni friends,  adjusting to a new lifestyle where I had a 9-5 routine with a 2 hour commute on top a absolute drain. 

It's really key to find balance. Push back on friends, the ones who understand will be okay and the ones that don't, well are they really your friend? Make time for you, don't exhaust yourself and make sure whatever you're doing you're happy. My friends and myself now have an understanding that if I don't reply to their texts for a month, it's okay, I'm not dead, I'm just running around like a headless chicken and I'll call soon.

3. Surround yourself with positivity

When you're going through your 20's , you're going through a lot. New jobs, new relationships, new ventures. It's the time to make mistakes, make great decisions, do stupid things and pursue what you love with no strings attached. Make sure that whatever is going on, you're surrounded by friends and family who are lifting you up, encouraging you and are just generally there on the other end of the phone when you've done that really stupid embarrassing thing in front of your new work colleagues.

The last thing you need is to be picking up the phone after a bad day or wanting to share a new exciting venture and receiving negativity back. Those people aren't your friends and it's okay to step away from the negative sources. I had 'friends' making me feel bad for sharing my successes and I felt so guilty for so long. I now realise they were the ones in the wrong and it's okay to take a step back. Happiness is key remember? 

4. Friends come and go

This is the weirdest transition after uni. You've gone from living in this big social bubble of spending 24/7 with your friends, spending all day at uni with your friends and just nipping 2 doors down to your other uni friends. Then you leave uni, scatter all over the country, if not world, and suddenly your a million miles apart, both in location and in life. Everyone is different and in different transitions. Some land on their feet straight away, others pursue new routes and others take a while to find their way. It's impossible to stay in touch and to keep up with all of this as well as balancing your new life. Sadly you will lose uni friends as you drift in new directions and at the same time, you will meet new friends in new situations.

The weird thing in life is some friends are there forever and some can only be there for a passing season. Either way it's perfectly normal so don't beat yourself up or worry about it. Life has its quirks.

5. A job isn't a job for life

So you've landed your first job after uni and it's all great and life is amazing. Everything is awesome *queue Lego theme song*.However 12 months down the line, you've began to outgrow where you are and you've become unhappy. That's okay. There is no way that your first job out of uni is your job for life. No job is for life. You gain new skills, learn who you are, learn what your passionate about and through life's weird and wonderful ways, get lead down new paths totally by accident. So if 12 months you feel you've outgrown your place and are ready for the next challenge, that is just fine. 

There are so many more points I could write and I will definitely be doing a part 2. I'm not cruel enough to make it you read forever. You have a life right? Okay so moral of this whole blog story is, it's okay to not have your shit together, things are probably gonna be really mental and no one really knows what they're doing. It's all gonna be okay!

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your post graduate self?



  1. I feel like you at the beginning of this post so I LOVED reading this, sometimes I feel like I'll never get a job (that I actually like) and it's just like ugh, being a 20-something year old is bloody exhausting sometimes! You nailed it all perfectly in this post.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    1. Trust me, you'll get there!! I used to feel exactly the same!

      Good luck girl!


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