graduationIt’s difficult to believe three years have passed already. Or two. Or four. Or six. However long your course was. But you’re facing your last semester or so of university now and, frankly, it has crept up on you. It felt like you had a lot longer to plan this next bit.

But you thought wrong.

You’ve got to be a grown-up soon.

And, let’s be honest, you’ve been trying to avoid doing that your entire education.

But it’s not actually that bad. There are some awkward choices ahead of you, but you’ve got a bit of time to work through them.

FIRSTLY – GO BACK TO YOUR PARENTS? OR GO SOMEWHERE ELSE?

Well, you’ll probably be in a better financial position if you go back to your parents – rent, bills and food will likely be a lot cheaper. But there is a chance that you’ll stop feeling like you are your own adult and go back to feeling like someone else’s child. If you can secure a stable day job to pay the bills and some reliable people to share a house with, your independence should be safe. But without the monetary safety of a student loan, it’ll be the bigger step you’ve made yet.

THEN – WHAT’S YOUR NEXT STEP CAREER-WISE?

Want to stay in academia? Go on to do a Masters? A PhD? Further? Or would you rather jump right into a job? See what’s out there for a fresh graduate bright with ambition and relative naïveté? Or perhaps an internship or apprenticeship? It wouldn’t quite be an immediate career, but it’s not a bad start towards one. Or maybe you want a year or so out, just to see if you still want what you wanted? Maybe spend some time in a bar job saving money, or go travelling, or both, while you collect yourself intellectually and give yourself time to give this decision proper consideration.

Because this is a crucial life decision you’re making.

And a lot of people don’t realise that until they’re regretting it ten years later.

So, as you take it on, keep these things in mind.

WHY YOU DID YOUR DEGREE

Where did you want it to take you? What else do you need to do to get there? Go do that.

YOU DON’T NEED TO DECIDE RIGHT NOW

Once you graduate, you’ve got your degree forever. You are officially qualified. It you need to take some time out to be sure of your next step, do it. Err on the side of caution – don’t rush into the first job you get offered if you suspect you might hate it. Every offer is an opportunity you should consider seriously, but don’t feel obliged to accept something you don’t want just because of that.

GOING HOME IS NOT FAILING…

In this economic climate, really, no one will blame you. The world is not friendly to students.

…BUT IT COULD BE DIFFICULT TO LEAVE

It’s easy to fall into the habit of depending on your parents again, especially if they’re lenient with the rent and bills. If you get stuck there, though, it’s harder to leave a second time.

WHAT YOU WANT

Ultimately, what – realistically – would it make you happy to be doing now?

Got something? Think some more. Be certain.

Great. Do that.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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