Life After Graduation

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people graduating

Matthew and friends at graduation this summer

Former Manchester Metropolitan University student Matthew Smart has some advice from the other side of graduation.

Anyone who foolishly believes they will immediately attain a job in the field that they have strived three years in, needs to tune back to the reality of graduate life. As a recent graduate, and new to the world of full time work, I have realised the stress and trepidation that comes with complete independence, income worries, council tax, utility bills, house hunting and house sharing. And I hasten to include the most difficult of all of these, growing up to be+ a respectable adult.

Over are the days of late nights and partying until the early hours, drinking and then stumbling into lectures with that terrible hangover still hovering on the periphery of your vision. Then checking your bank account constantly for that loan, grant or bursary to go in. Or spending forty-eight hours straight in the library for that essay you left till the last minute (not going to lie, I will not miss that one).

Instead, you will be working the nine to five every day, and it hits you just how exhausting it actually is. As a twenty-one-year-old, who has lucked out for the last five years by budgeting his EMA and student loan to avoid working while studying. I now understand why, after working eight hour shifts, five days a week, why my own Dad fell asleep on the settee all those times when he came back from work. It is especially draining for the first few weeks; unless you have worked part time most of your life.

In the end, concentrating fully on an academic career, and not working during your study will inevitably hinder your professional career. Some people I met through university have managerial/supervisory experience, and they are in their twenties. And I don’t have to remind you of the expectation of such credentials from prospective employers. A degree alone is just a certificate after all. Therefore forcing oneself to do all the extra curricula activities, promotions, volunteering, campaigns will not only get you noticed by future companies, it will boost your CV exponentially.

Once you leave you will have the arduous task of finding a job. Any job will do for the time being, right? But have you really stopped to think about the job market today, no one can just find a job, and our generation is more knowledgeable than ever about this challenge we face.

Some may be incredibly lucky like me, finding a job in the heart of a bustling metropolitan like Manchester. These are opportunities that are seldom thrust every graduate, so take what you can get a first, till you can establish yourself. By then you will be ready to job hunt, for something more befitting your academic aptitude.

As most graduates tend to go home until they have established enough capital and experience to findMoney worries their own place, some will venture in to the corridor of complete independent living. As frightening a concept as this might appear, most of the time you will have no problem with it. If you have friends you want to live with then you can rely on one another to search for housing close to your work that befits your current living habits; hopefully an upgrade from the “squalor” of student digs. After all, you are young professionals now. If, in other cases you are going alone, just take your time, look at lots of houses, find the one and the housemates that you feel comfortable with, and of course do lots of research on the house and area. Once you have done that, then the hard part is over.

Graduating is the easy part. It is the stuff afterwards that may cause some unexpected distress. If you can live comfortably with a temporary job on your own, take it. Go where the jobs and opportunities are available to you; don’t necessarily follow what everyone else is doing. Convenience is your best friend: for travel, utilities and shopping. Remember, you have to pay council tax now, no more exemptions. With that in mind, remember your utility bills too. Research the area, house history, landlord/company, and be sure this is the right house for you. Be cautious of late nights; you have work in the morning. However, try to keep active, have fun and broaden your horizons; you are getting older and need more stimulation till your career takes off.

The most important thing though is to insist on pushing yourself. That means interview after interview and application after application. You may fail a hundred times, but it will mean you will become a hundred times wiser because of it. I am sure most would concur that they want their degree to unlock doors to the future, so I say, use it and express your potential.

This article originally appeared on Matthew’s personal blog,



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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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