Graduating from #University can be one of the best experiences of your life. There is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you finally get that degree handed to you, and you have physical proof in your hands that it was all worthwhile. Unfortunately, that is when the next obstacle presents itself - when the graduation gown comes off and then your parents have the degree framed. The same thought that has probably been creeping in the back of those same graduates' minds during their final year - the thought of what comes next.

For a lot of students, it can come over them suddenly like a wave of ice, cold water and realise they may be facing an uncertain future.

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You end up looking back at all the stress, late meltdowns and moments screaming 'no!' when you look at the clock and find yourself an hour closer to the deadline. But understand that despite the annual breakdowns there is something comforting about having the structure of a university course.

Once you know you want to stick out those next three to four years because you understand that you are there to achieve a certain goal and how you are going to go about achieving that goal, it becomes easy to get caught up in the comforting routine of it all and not realise that at some point you should start to look ahead.

It is also the case that a large number of university students choose a course based on something they have either studied before and enjoyed; alternatively, some may choose to do a degree based on an area of expertise that they have always had an interest in but never had the chance to previously study.

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In my opinion, this is a good reason to choose a course because while it is a risk to go into a course without a clear idea of what you want to do in the future, having a genuine passion and interest is the perfect motivator for when you start to feel overwhelmed.

Yes, you may find yourself a few years down the line still having no clue what you want to do as a career but there is time to put a plan into place and if you take the same approach that you did towards your degree, with that same drive to do something that matters to you. This way you will keep you striving towards that next step closer to your future.

Suggestions to set you on the right path

You may talk yourself out of going for a job you want because you feel your degree has not prepared you enough for this role. Certain skills you learn from a degree can be transferred to different positions, such as how an English Literature degree could lead someone to go into marketing because employers will take that to mean they have excellent written and verbal communication skills.

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This is why you should take the time to consider all your options. I understand that once you have finished your degree you will feel tempted to latch onto the first decent paying job that is remotely related to your area of study. The reason could be that you have at this point been met with a lot of rejection, or perhaps you feel the need to make money to prove to yourself and others that your degree was a good use of your time.

Nevertheless taking a job without considering everything you could do may lead you to regret it down the line. Before you know it, you are too far into this job that you do not really care for, with no more time to consider what else may have been your career. This can lead you to resent your job and make you become less productive as time goes on. if you take a moment take a step back, consider everything you could do with your degree and figure out what motivates you, then despite the rejection and setbacks that inevitably come with looking for work, at least when all is said and done you can have a career that gives you fulfillment.

I have met a lot of graduate students who, to earn money, have taken job they no they can do because of previous experience, yet has nothing to do with what they had to study at university. This is always a good plan because once you graduate you are no longer going to be able to rely on student finance to pay rent and if you do not want to move back home, the sooner you get a job that pays anything the better.

No job is a lifetime commitment

The downfall is similar to the one in taking the first job remotely related to your degree because you start to become resentful and starting to wonder why you took this job in the first place. Looking back on the time you spent studying at university to end up cleaning and stacking shelves.it seems like you wasted your time. Remember no job is a lifetime commitment. The best thing to do is find a job that is part-time with flexible hours. You may not earn a lot of money straight away but if you manage your shifts and your time off you can earn enough to get by, while still having time to make that transition from job to career. If you feel the job you are currently in is getting in the way of you finding a career then you may have to leave, which is a frightening concept but in the long run will be more beneficial.

What will make you figure out your future career is utilizing all the resources that are available to you during university and after you graduate. Universities often provide #Career Guidance teams that can help you find the right resources and advice on what careers would be suitable for someone with your degree. They can also help set you up with a graduate job, which means you will be working on something that gives you experience in an area related to your degree.

Even a simple sit down meeting with one of the team members can be helpful because they may suggest jobs to you that you never even heard of or were aware you could do with your degree. If you are nearing the end of your final year go to as many meetings and as many careers events as possible. Capitalise on all resources your university has to offer.

Even after you leave some universities still offer career advice to alumni for up to three years. However if for whatever reason you can not continue to use their service do not think you are out on your own without any support once you are no longer a student. If you apply for universal credit then your local job centre can continue to help you find a fitting job. I do know there is a lot of stigma with applying for benefits, especially as someone who has just spent the last few years working towards a better career.

You worry about being compared to people who are simply looking for work without actually working and yes the process of applying is tedious. Initially, you feel like you have ended up exactly where you have tried to avoid being by studying. But remember while you are looking for work you are going to need money and as long as you are actively seeking work you will get a certain amount to help you out while in-between university and work.

More importantly, they also have career guidance staff who help you find work and once you get past that first stage, you will begin to understand how you can use this to your advantage. Armed with your degree they can put you in touch with companies that are hiring, graduate events in your local town or city, as well as offer further courses that can give you more of an edge when applying.

Remember a degree is no guarantee of a job and the ideal career is not immediately going to fall into your lap. What your university really prepares you for is being able to work independently. You spend time analysing how you are going to go about finishing your essays and revise for your exams. You find out how you should start, you find out what resources to you use and what studying techniques work best to suit your needs. This all happens within setting a time frame to balance your heavy workload in order to meet your deadlines. Apply this to your pursuit in your later endeavours by setting a plan for yourself and find out who can help you find the right resources, such as Linkedin. Research what careers are available to you and most importantly know it is something you want to do long-term.

You have put so much time and energy into a subject that you may as well ensure that you are satisfied with the results of all that work. Do not be afraid to take risks and do not let yourself be put off by mistakes. You may not realise it right away but, with the independent skills you have learnt you know have the ability to build your future the way you see fit.