Leaving the Student Bubble

For the more fortunate students coming towards the end of their first or second years, the only thing more exciting than the upcoming summer break is the prospect of another year in which to do it all again. The promise of at least one more year of self-indulgent, devil-may-care living in the student bubble: safe, warm and cosy. It really is there to be enjoyed, because once you’ve left university, attempting to recapture the magic of undergraduate life is often a futile exercise. And for final year students who are already hurting from the throes of dissertations, exams and endless assignments, the realities of graduate life are fast-approaching. Let’s be honest: the days of 50p Sambuca shots are long gone, and a night out crammed against giddy freshers probably isn’t your idea of fun anymore, but there can be no doubt that post-student life will come as a shock to the system for even the most prepared individual. We’re creatures of habit, and the vast majority of us loathe the concept of change, and will avoid it at all costs. Though the optimist would argue that graduation merely represents the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. As it happens, us UniHomes lot are quite a positive, glass-half-full bunch; and speaking from experience, graduate life really isn’t as bad as it sounds!

Home comforts: there are more pros than cons when it comes to moving back in with your parents.

Unless your family is made up of actual saints with the ability to turn water into wine, there will be squabbles, rows, and plenty of bickering with parents and younger siblings once you move home. It’s territorial, and just can’t be helped sometimes. However, moving home can only be as good as you make it. It won’t be forever, so it’s better to focus on some of the positives to make that transition as smooth as possible. The guarantee of a hot meal in a clean house (you certainly won’t miss the hygiene horrors of halls) every evening shouldn’t be scorned. It’s also worth noting that you are liable to pay council tax and every utility bill the very second you step foot into your own property. Even if your parents expect you to pay towards board, it’ll very likely be an absolute snip of what you’d pay living on your own. And of course, returning home into a familiar setting provides the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, and those who might not have left to go to university. With a little patience and understanding on both sides, moving home can definitely be a positive experience!

Not getting the grade you wanted: a 2:2 or third-class degree doesn’t define you as a person, nor does a 2:1 guarantee you your dream job.

Employers would much rather employ a ‘2:1 person’ than merely a person with a 2:1. While it is true that a 2:1 honours degree is a requirement for some of the more prestigious graduate schemes, there is no substitute for application and charisma. The fallacy that graduates without a 2:1 will struggle to realise their goals is precisely that. Excellent interview technique, relevant experience and quality of character will bag you that dream internship or well-paid job, not numbers on a certificate.

Dogged resilience and character building: expect and embrace knock-backs from employers.

Regardless of your degree classification, the reality is that for every fifty jobs you apply for, you will probably receive responses from a half-dozen. It isn’t personal, and you won’t be doing much wrong at all. It’s just that the job market can be that competitive; and with the amount of individuals applying for one role, applications have been known to become buried. Resilience is key when trying to land your first career job, because working your way onto that ladder - through apprenticeships, internships or other voluntary positions - is one of the hardest things you’ll face as a graduate. Embracing the difficulties head-on with a smile is the quickest way to reach your preferred destination.

Finance: the horror stories you’ve heard about enforced loan repayments are all untrue.

Think of it like this: if loans were dinosaurs, payday loans are the savage, bloodthirsty Tyrannosaurus rex, while the government-funded student loans are the friendly, herbivorous Brachiosaurus. Student loan repayments are entirely proportionate to your income. If you earn a little, you will pay very little, and if you earn a lot, you will pay a little more. A quick search on the government website tells us that those earning £21,000 or more per year will pay a very reasonable 9% of that income towards their repayments. Needless to say, if you find yourself without work having left university, you won’t pay a penny - no bailiffs in sight! And if you are in need of some monetary respite once university ends, many high street banks tend to offer increased overdraft limits on graduate current accounts.

Further study: postgraduate loan schemes are available for the first time - return to the student bubble!

Obviously, you should only opt for further study for the right reasons. But for the first time, student loans - up to £10,000 - for postgraduate study are available for the upcoming 2016/17 academic year. Announced by the government at the end of 2014, the move is seen as quite a victory for students, as those with Bachelor degrees have often found it impossible to self-fund a Master’s degree. So if you genuinely believe that additional study will refine your knowledge in a particular area, and improve your employment prospects, returning to university might be for you. Head to www.findamasters.com/funding/guides/new-uk-postgraduate-loans-scheme.aspx to read the fine print. Evade real-life for another year!

Above all else, stay true to yourself, your vision and remember that post-university life isn’t as dark and daunting as you think. Whatever your path, UniHomes wishes you nothing but the best; and if you do decide to take up the option of further study, hopefully we’ll see you again sometime soon! 

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