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What Life After University Is REALLY Like

a person in a university graduation cap and gown, looking out to sea

Picture this (if you're not already going through it). You've just got to the end of your degree. You and the people around you who started university at the same time are coming to the end of your time of being in pretty much the exact same place as one another. You're all about to go your separate ways. All throughout your time at university (and possibly since long before then), you've dreamt about what your life will be like afterwards. You imagine that you will go straight into a job or might possibly do another degree or you might even go travelling for a few months or possibly even longer. And sure, I'm sure this may be the case for some people. But for me, my life after university hasn't exactly been how I imagined it would in the slightest.

So first off, here's a bit of background for those of you who may be discovering this blog for the first time or have no idea what my life at university was like (which I have actually done a number of blog posts about if you would like to check those out, by heading to the education tab on the homepage). I studied for an early childhood studies BA(Hons) degree from 2018 to 2021 and graduated with a first-class degree last year. However, throughout the last year of my degree, I realised that I wasn't all that interested in what I was studying and actually had more of an interest in TV and production, particularly in the form of my wanting to become a TV presenter. I decided that I would stick with my degree, just because I had already done two years of it and even though becoming a TV presenter has always been at the back of my mind, I didn't want to move away from my degree as I did find the content quite interesting and due to the pandemic, I didn't want to give up with it as people were still on furlough and losing their jobs and the job market didn't seem that great. Plus, at that point, I didn't have the full confidence to actually go for a presenting role.

Fast forward to 2022, I have been working freelance as a content writer since August and have been applying for presenting roles since November. During that time I have got a presenting role on a beauty and skincare app (which I get paid per hour show I do + commission); as well as a presenting/voiceover role for an independent media company on TikTok (which is unpaid). Even though neither of those things are in TV, I'm getting there slowly but surely and am more than aware it's all about gaining this experience in various formats before TV could realistically be an option. But I still remain hopeful and if you compare where I'm at now to where I was this time last year, I'm in a completely new place and it's all very exciting.

(I feel that it's also worth noting I have had a number of auditions for roles, mostly in the form of self-tapes and one in-person audition. I haven't really been successful on any of those fronts but it's all a good experience and the only really frustrating part is not hearing anything back from most of those people).

However, whilst you may think it seems that I have everything together, I really don't. I have been recently looking at getting a part-time content writing job, just because it's something I know I can do and I at least have my blog posts to show as examples and to use as a portfolio. So far I've only had three jobs offer me an interview. One I didn't take because in the email they sent they stated they expect me to produce 7500 words a day and after asking on Twitter, my assumptions of that being way too high a number to produce each day without getting burnout were confirmed. The second job I did take the interview, however, it was an online interview and for some reason, they never showed up to it and after I emailed them to ask what happened, they never replied which was really odd. So it's safe to say this hasn't got off to the best of starts and I have been really off my game with applying to these jobs over the last few weeks, but I'm hoping to get a bit better with it. And with hundreds of other people applying for these jobs, it doesn't make it any easier. But luckily, the third is a really good offer and I started this week!

The reason why I'm going for part-time jobs and also in particular ones that involve working from home is because I'm still really keen on giving the presenting stuff a really good go as that's where my passion lies and I am fully living in the faith that one-day things will work out in the way in which I have planned them to. I know it's going to sound really weird, but I can genuinely feel it in my soul that everything is going to work out as there are one or two things in particular that I have a deep feeling are going to work out and I don't care how long it takes for me to get there, but I'm going to get there, one way or another. In doing this content writing job that's part-time, flexible hours and can be done from home, this will allow me to continue with the presenting stuff and should I need to travel to an audition or anything, I still have the opportunity to do that.

I guess I am applying for these types of content writing roles because I feel it's quite difficult to go from living the university lifestyle to living a normal working lifestyle. Plus the fact I didn't get the full university experience due to covid and spent a lot of it stuck in my room, it feels quite hard in wanting to adjust to the way of life I quite possibly should be adjusting to. And I guess I'm really not suited to the 9-to-5 way of living. I actually remember seeing a TikTok video AGES ago on how due to the natural nature of all of our sleep-wake cycles, we're not all naturally programmed to wake up at 7 am and go to sleep at 10 pm. Added to the fact that I'm really bad at being told I have to stay in a certain place for a certain amount of time and that I'm not allowed to leave, due to feeling trapped, that way of living just isn't for me. I get that it's not that way for, probably, many who work a 9-to-5, in that they may have no other choice than to do this for a living, and I truly sympathise with those people. However, if I can avoid doing that for as long as possible and just go about doing my own thing, then that's what I'm going to do.

What no one really tells you when you leave university is how confusing everything is. I really felt I lost my sense of self for a while afterwards and still do in a way (although I'll admit, that's not all to do with leaving university and is also due to other aspects of my life affecting how I see myself). I guess if you do a degree that you 100% know that afterwards, you're going to go into that field, then that may make things a little easier, I don't know. However, if you're like me and realised towards the end of your degree that it's not what you want to spend your life doing, that can be tough because you've just spent three years of your life studying for something that you no longer want to do. And in all honesty, the only reason why I did my degree and went to university in the first place was that my school were pushing me to apply for university and in a moment of panic I picked an early childhood studies degree because I was studying child development in my health and social care class at the time and was somewhat interested in it; plus the fact I found out my course didn't involve exams which was an added bonus. And whilst I am in some ways glad I went to university and I truly believe I wouldn't be aiming towards what I am now if I hadn't gone down this route, there is still a part of me that wishes I had stuck to my guns a bit more and had gone travelling once my A-Levels were over or just actually spent a bit more time going through all my options and deciding what was truly right for me; as opposed to following everyone else.

There is also the issue of having so much pressure from everyone around you to get your life sorted. I currently have one person on one side telling me to do one thing and then someone else on the other side of me telling me to do the complete opposite. Who wins in the end? No one, that's who. I currently feel everyone is putting pressure on me from all points of my life to the point I feel I might genuinely explode. I have people telling me I just need to do anything to make money. I have other people telling me I need to get a job that doesn't involve working from home. I have some people telling me I need to get out of the house and socialise more. I have others telling me I shouldn't be focusing on a social life and should just focus on work for now. I have people telling me it's a bad idea to do the job I want because I won't have time for other things. Meanwhile, personally, I don't really understand why so many people have an opinion on how I want to live my life. It's my life and sure I'm going to make mistakes, but that doesn't mean other people can try and tell me I'm living my life wrong by their standards.

I guess my message here is that life isn't always as simple as it's made out to be once you leave university. This isn't to freak you out, I just want to be realistic. When I graduated it felt that everyone else around me had their life figured out (or, at least in the short-term they did). Some were going on to do post-graduate degrees. Others were going straight into work, either in a job related to their field of study or something completely different that they already knew was what they wanted to do. Whereas I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I was genuinely just glad my life in education was now over.

If you're graduating from university this year, I honestly wish you the best of luck with your future. I'm sure you're going to smash it, even if your dream career/life doesn't happen right away. But I'm a big believer that nothing worth having comes easy and that you really have to focus on your small wins. Currently, my small wins are getting the content writer job so I have a bit of security money-wise, being considered for presenter roles even if I don't actually end up getting them, and getting unpaid/little pay presenting and voiceover roles to help get me some experience and hopefully help me get into the TV industry in one way or another.

If you are a university graduate, please feel free to comment on your experience after graduating and any advice you have for new graduates.

As always, if there is anything you need help with or would like someone to talk to about, please feel free to email me or DM me on Twitter or Instagram. I know what it's like to feel alone and I would hate for any one of you to feel like you're in the same position.

What are your small wins? Please let me know in the comments.

Love Beth xx

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