The Final Year Panic, And Why It's Normal
“So what are you doing after your degree?”
There is nothing so frustrating as someone who asks you about your life goals. The whole where-do-you-see-yourself-in-five-years conversation is something I actively avoid.
When you get to your final year of uni, you start to realise the imminent approach of ~adulthood~. Yes, your 18th birthday meant you could buy alcohol, but finishing uni means you have to sort your life out, and that’s terrifying. Up until now you were probably lapping up the sleep-ins, cheap on-campus food and rent that included the utility cost. It’s alright to have a little bit of an inner-crisis when this happens. And it’s understandable. Up until this point, no one had taught us how to prepare for anything. Our entire lives up until our university degrees was in a lead up to getting accepted into a uni. The final-year freak out makes total sense.
If you’ve been living on campus up to this point, which a lot of you are, here are a few ways to prep for the full-time working world – and how it’s different from what you’re used to.
The job market is competitive, flooded and a moving target. You need to be in the right place at the right time, and you have to be better than the cohort of people who apply. If you live in a city like Sydney or Melbourne, it almost comes down to chance. You need a whole lot of things to come together to put you in the most favourable position to land a full-time job. It’s a hard thing to break into, especially if you’ve never worked full-time before – you need to convince someone you’re capable. So don’t take no for an answer. Tell them why you’re the best.
Don’t over-think it
If things aren’t happening fast enough for you, just relax a bit. When I was looking for full-time work, I was desperate to break into the industry I wanted, and when it took more than two months I started to get frustrated. By the time I landed the perfect job it had been 10 months since I started looking. If you start freaking out early you’ll wear yourself out. Just brush the rejection off and get back in the race.
No one really knows what they’re doing
Not really anyway. The older we get, the more we realise how unsure adults are in their own life decisions. Our parents might have seemed like the most organised and put-together people we knew when we were young, but we’d be wrong if we thought that now. Don’t assume that you’re the only one in your circle who is flailing about looking for a way into the industry – everyone goes through the same thing, and it’s called life experience.
Take care of yourself
You’ll very quickly realise why adults always told you to eat your veggies and go to bed early. I’m 23-years-old and I love the thought of getting an 8-hour sleep. The first thought you will have after finishing a big day at work is “oh god, I need to cook dinner.” If you’re getting into a fast-paced industry, plan your week. You’ll thank yourself when you come home and find pre-prepared meals during the week. It sounds boring as hell, but you’ll get to bed faster, and nothing could be better than that.
Things don’t happen overnight
When I was about to finish my degree it felt like I was about to go over the edge of a cliff. The experience is much less of a plunge. Things move slowly. Everything you do to set yourself up in the real world happens in stages, and you’ll have time to prepare. You might have an expectation of where you think you should be, but don’t let that define how you approach the path – allowing things to happen gradually will get you to where you need to be. Relax