Imagine the feeling - your final exam is three weeks away and then that’s it… you’re done… no more university and into the big wide world. That's how I feel right now.
I guess for many people the thought of finishing university and never going back is a daunting one. It’s a mixture of excitement and fear of the unknown. Some people are buzzing to get out of education and start working full time, however there are some people that loved the university experience and never want to leave. For me, currently being a little bit in both camps, I can safely say I do not know how I feel about leaving university as it has been part of my life for the last 5 years.
Getting a Job
Making career plans for after graduation is paramount if you want to get yourself into good job straight away, as the market is very competitive for graduates. A top tip for a less stressful final few months of university is to start planning where you want to be after graduation nice and early. Whether you'd like to join a graduate scheme or to travel before settling into a job, it's good to have a goal in mind and get started with achieving it. It’s wise to plan so that the last few months of university can be spent studying and not worrying about the future. You want to try and avoid that last minute scrambling around trying to find a job once university is over. Also, if you're wanting a graduate scheme, many start recruiting when you're right at the start of first year - even more motivation to get organised early. Graduate Schemes are a really good choice as they offer a wide range of roles in many different companies around the country. Salaries and training are usually very good, and this can lead onto a very successful career in your chosen field. Be warned though - they're very competitive. They're often looking for evidence of work experience alongside your studies, it's rarely enough to just have good grades. If you're reading this at the start of your university journey, I'd recommend getting work experience in now as you will thank yourself for it later.
From my personal view point… I have struggled with knowing what I want to do once my course is over. I previously listened to what other people said and what my friends thought, and it led me in the wrong direction. My plans after graduation were to move back to London (where I did a year-long work placement / sandwich year last year) and work within a media agency. This had been my plan for 5 months, however, after reviewing all my options I decided it would be more practical to stay up home in the north for a year or so and work at a Marketing agency in Leeds to find my feet. This way I could save a lot of money, enjoy myself and gain the same experience nearer to home.
Staying at home isn’t for everyone. Most students have spent the last 3/4 years away from home studying, and the thought of going back to live with parents and siblings is a nightmare. There are a lot of opportunities all over the country that may take your fancy and getting away and starting somewhere new may be the thing you need after a lot of studying in the same place for university.
A lot of my friends have already planned to go travelling after completing their studies to a number of exotic countries before starting a full-time position, as they will not get that chance again for a while. I've often read that successful CEO's and directors of companies regret not taking the chance to go travelling after university. They jumped straight into a full-time job and didn't look back until they were in their 50’s with three kids and it was too late. So, if you're wanting to travel and not head straight into a job, go for it. I've heard people worry that they will put themselves at a disadvantage job-wise, but I don't think that's true. There's definitely pros and cons to doing both.
My advice would be as much as you can plan your future… don’t over plan it because you never know what’s around the corner. If you want to travel, or not settle somewhere, jobs will always be there when you come back so go with what you think is right and do not listen to what people are telling you. If you don't want to travel, or don't have the means to, then don't worry about that either. You'll start working sooner - earning money and getting good experience.
Alternatively, if you're not planning on working or travelling and you're thinking about postgraduate study university, then go for it!! Leeds Beckett offers an array of postgrad courses that would be perfect for anyone looking to expand their knowledge and learning. If you’re not ready to leave university just yet, then postgraduate study is definitely worth considering. Don't worry that you're not earning money straight away - you're gaining expert knowledge and investing in yourself. This is really impressive for employers. Don’t rush into a job because you feel like you have no other choice.
Basically, whatever path you choose, i'm sure it will be the right thing for you. Don't compare yourself to others - you do what suits you, and I'm sure in the end it will lead you to a great job.