Hello Sweet Peas!
Welcome to day 5 of Blog a Day in May!
This time last year I finished studying at university and moved back to my hometown. Transitioning from being a student into a functioning member of society was harder than I thought it was going to be. But after a year I’ve definitely learned a lot. If you’re just heading to Uni in September or if you’re getting to the end of your final year here are my tips for what to expect and how to make it easier.
Tip one: Moving Home. – Moving back in with your parents really isn’t easy. I thought it would be fine, just like going back for the holidays. But I found that after being away for three years my family had filled my absence and learnt to live without me. I know that sounds incredibly self-absorbed but when I came back my place within the house seemed to be missing. My sister had claimed my room, my brother had my seat on the sofa, even my coat hook now holds my sister’s boyfriends coat!
My advice for dealing with this is to try not to mind too much. After being away for so long it is only natural for this to happen. Now you just need to find your flow within the household again. This might be accepting your bathroom slot in the morning is at 7 rather than 6:30 or that you now have the single room rather than the double. At the end of the day, chances are you are not planning on staying where you are forever, so dealing with these small inconveniences isn’t the end of the world. But if something is really bothering you try talking it over with your parents or other family members.
Tip 2: Get A Job! – Seems pretty obvious, that’s why you went to university in the first place right? But I know so many people who graduated, couldn’t find a job in the field they studied and so gave up! I don’t care how willing your parents are to ‘keep you’, you owe it to yourself to have the independence a job gives you. If you can’t immediately get a graduate job look for something temporary. Just because you have a job in retail doesn’t mean you stop looking for a job in forensic science! But in the meantime, you are earning your own money and more importantly, there won’t be any gaps in your employment history. So when you do go for a forensic science job you won’t have to explain why you have been unemployed for X amount of time. Employers don’t like gaps!
Tip 3: Make Friends! – I found coming home goes one of two ways. Either you come home and the friends you’ve grown up with are still around and all is grand. Or, like me, you come home and everyone has moved away. If this is the case it is so important to socialise and find a new group of friends, whether that be through work or by joining clubs or groups. I was lucky, my team at work is fab and we get on really well and socialise outside of work. But I also joined a choir for a while and a few other groups to meet new people. I even tried a dating app…that didn’t go well. Having a friendship group is really important in helping to avoid the post-uni blues (which is a very real issue).
Tip 4: Rest and Routine! – This was a hard one for me to get my head around. From the age of 17 all I knew was working really hard to get into uni, then I was working hard to get myself through university. Pushing myself to the limit and working constantly had become second nature. But after 6 years I was burnt out, both mentally and physically. I was suffering from insomnia, anxiety and my back was screwed. I had to teach myself to function at a different pace, which took time and practise. When I first started working full time I was still in my uni mindset. I was working a full day, coming home and working on my writing until the early hours of the morning, getting a few hours sleep then getting up and doing it all over again. Needless to say after a couple of months (and a decision to attempt Blogmas -check out my posts here!) I broke and knew something needed to change.
University is a weird world and the habits we form to survive just don’t work in the real world. My advice is to break out of the ‘work hard play hard’ mindset and focus on some self-care. Create a routine that allows you some time to actually rest! You deserve it!
Tip 5: Don’t Stop Learning! – Just because you’re not a student anymore doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Sites like Udemy have hundreds of courses on pretty much any topic. Learning something for the sheer pleasure of it is a great change of pace from school and the education system. Plus it’s all skills to add to your skill set! I’m currently taking an art class on Udemy. Why? Because I enjoy it. Simple!
Tip 6: Stay Independent! – One thing I noticed about myself was how independent I became over my time at Uni. I moved as far away from home as I could afford so I would have to learn very quickly how to really look after myself and handle my own life. When I moved back home it was very tempting to fall back into old habits and let my mum take care of me. And my mother, bless her heart of gold, would have let me. But I knew I couldn’t let her. I’ve suffered from crippling anxiety since my early teens, this has improved so much because of my need to be independent. I didn’t want to lose it! It took some trial and error, my mum really wanted to look after me and to some degree I let her. But when it comes to cooking, driving and my finances I have tried to maintain my independence.
Keeping some of these habits will make it a lot easier and painless when it comes to moving out on your own again.
Tip 7: You’ve Changed. Accept it! – Chances are good the person you were when you left is not the same person as who you are now. Living through the stress and accomplishing something as challenging as a degree practically forces you to change and grow as a person. When you return you might find there are things, people and ideas that you have outgrown. The most obvious for me was my views on society had become vastly different from my parents. I realised their views on everything from LGBT to Facebook were very old-fashioned. This is frustrating but it proves to me that I have become my own person and I am really glad about that. So I’ve learnt what topics to avoid. If you’ve got this problem to, remember just because you’re ideas are different doesn’t mean they are wrong and vice versa.
If you’re finding a lot of things frustrating, chances are it is because you have outgrown them. You need to accept that you have changed and decide what you can afford to move on from, be it things or people. The more you try to fit back into your old life the more you are going to frustrate yourself. Learn to let go of the things that no longer benefit you or make you happy!
These are my main learning curves and tips from a year post-university! Have you been to uni? What did you find the hardest about leaving? Let me know in the comments!
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Come back tomorrow for day 6 of Blog a Day in May!
Love Ay x