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Graduate Struggles

You’ve been burning the candle at both ends for longer than you care to remember. But in spite of the world ending hangovers, the all-night library marathons, and the landslides of nightmarish assignments, graduation season is upon us, and you have made it to the end of university unscathed. Okay, your overdraft has seen better days, but you? You’re golden, triumphant, and ready for the rest of your life. Though as you might’ve heard, becoming a graduate will be tough at first; and for many, the transition from student to working adult will be anything but a painless, straightforward one. Career plan or not, not all graduates are fortunate enough to have an exciting internship or fulfilling job secured; and once that warm, cosy student bubble bursts, there is no longer anything to protect you from the dog-eat-dog realities of adult life. So for heaven’s sake, apply to do a Master’s degree somewhere! Here are some of the struggles you might face as a new graduate…

Thursday: undergraduate

Friday: graduate

Monday: unemployed

A lot can change in a few days, eh? Make no mistake, your graduation ceremony - and the day as a whole - will be a memorable occasion, and a fitting end to justify three years of undergraduate study. Proud parents can also take comfort when their ‘what the hell have you been doing for these last three years?’ questions are finally answered. But once the celebrations, the parties, and, indeed, the hangovers, subside, the period in which you can milk your shiny, new ‘graduate’ status is ludicrously short. And before long (usually by the middle of the following Monday), you’ll be firmly aboard the unemployed vessel with thousands of other ex-students - a fact that family members will feel obliged to remind you of every other hour of the day. The struggle is real…

 

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The crushing realisation that landing your ideal job is going to be a slog

‘Go to uni’, they said. ‘It’ll be fun’, they said. ‘You’ll walk right into a job’, they said. Having decided which career route you’d like to take, it won’t take too long to discover that simply having a degree doesn’t necessarily make you the outstanding candidate for any given job. Nope. This realisation is merely the next chronological step of the graduate journey. And while you’re switched on enough to realise that there will be more graduates vying for jobs than there are vacancies, what you don’t expect is preposterous, infuriating job applications. You know the ones we’re talking about: ‘Candidates without relevant employment experience need not apply’. Buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

 

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That question

‘So, what are you going to do with your degree?’ Ugh. Innocent, friendly icebreaker to some, but to graduates it’s a wicked, bewildering reminder that you have absolutely no idea what it is you intend to do now that you’ve left university. Beware of distant relatives and casual acquaintances, they’re the most likely to take an interest in your future, and leave you questioning your very place in humanity. How dare they?!

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The financial implications

Well, you knew going in how much university was going to cost. Just like you were also aware that, thankfully, you don’t have to pay anything back until you’re earning a certain amount of money. But still, debt isn’t exactly nice, and even when you do begin to chip away at those short-lived maintenance loans, you’ll spend years purely paying off the interest; meaning your student debt could quite possibly stay with you until you’re middle aged. Just try not to have a heart attack when the Student Loans Company send you a letter detailing your outstanding balance shortly after you complete your degree. Things can only go up from there, right?

 

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Finding it difficult to leave the days of debauchery behind

Once you remove the robes and mortar board, things will never be the same. You might be used to partying like it’s 1999 on any given Monday, while consistently keeping the body clock of a vampire, so attempting to settle back into what you’d call a ‘normal’ routine, or a 9-5 job, will come as a hideous wake-up call. Gone are the days of Wednesday morning lie-ins and Sunday night drinkathons - maturity and responsibility are somewhat expected to follow once you achieve graduate status. Yay…

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