What They Don't Tell You Before You Graduate

Hello! Long time no post! I've been feeling a little demotivated recently with my blog, partly because of what I wanted to talk about today. I graduated with a 2:1 in Psychology from Cardiff University last summer. Having spent four years at Uni, one of which I spent on an unpaid placement in London, I thought finding a job related to Psychology would be easy. How wrong I was! I want to talk to you about what I've learnt since graduating, how I've found searching for a job and post-Uni life in general. I'm currently working in retail which is fine and gets me by but of course it's not related to my degree. I've applied for jobs, had interviews, had rejections, and even never heard back from some applications. It's tough but I guarantee you're not alone!

1. Experience is KEY. Whilst at Uni, I can't stress enough how important and useful gaining any relevant experience can be. I volunteered through my Uni's SU volunteering facilities and I also worked for a relevant student charity during my studies. Everyone who graduates from University will have a degree. Not everyone will have additional work experience. It'll help you to stand out from other graduates and will give employers the impression you're a motivated person. 

2. Living back with your parents is okay! It's not something I particularly wanted to do having lived independently for four years but it's meant that I can save on rent/bill costs (I pay my parents rent but nowhere near as much as I would if I lived elsewhere) and focus on saving up to live comfortably once I move out.

3. Keep an open mind. Don't expect too much too quickly (like I did)! You might find that you'll need experience in less desirable positions before progressing onto what you really want to do. Again, in this case, work experience really is key! Despite having a degree under your belt, the phrase "you have to work your way up" still applies. 

4. Make the most of your Uni's career services. Most (if not all) Universities offer this service and it can be really useful. I used them when I was applying for placements and I honestly don't think I would have got the placement I wanted without them. They helped with my CV, cover letter and interview skills. I think the mock interview was the most valuable thing as it's what I struggle with the most. These kind of services are a lot harder to come by once you've graduated - and you'll struggle to get them for free too!

5. Take into consideration the physical and mental transition from Uni into work. This is something I discovered when I started my work placement. Whilst Uni (for me as a Psychology student) involved fewer hours in lectures and seminars, and more hours in the library doing independent studying which also involved later nights and later starts. Getting into a work routine was difficult for the first few weeks and it can be physically and mentally draining for a while. It's definitely something you get used to though. 

Do you have any thoughts about post-Uni life? I'd love to know what you think and if you've had any different (or similar) experiences to me!

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