Sunday, 11 October 2015

Graduate Life | How to Cope With The First Few Months of Uni as a Graduate

Freshers' week has been and gone for most of the universities around the country but as you know all too well, the end of freshers' week is by no means the end of the fun. 

For them anyway.

For us graduates freshers' week passed us by and we didn't even get to take a hold of it, unless you were lucky enough to travel back in time (not literally) and visit any friends or siblings at university of course.

But I know many of us didn't get that chance. Many of us feel torn between moving on from student life and reliving it all. We want all or nothing of each lifestyle and can no longer stand the in-between. When all over social media I saw people I knew tweeting about returning to uni and my university sharing photos of move in day and all the over-enthusiastic welcome events, I got pretty nostalgic for it all. 

It's that whole 'break up' effect that graduating from university has on you. An emotional rollercoster of some sorts where you only see the good in the person (or in this case the thing) that you're leaving behind. The vomit-filled saucepans, the lack of hygiene, the 11p noodles & the horrible hangovers are completely shrouded by the wonderful photos you have of strangers who became friends, the memories of quiet nights in that turned into wild nights out. Because graduate life often sees you fall into a rut that half the world seem to be stuck in; you pine for the amazing moments from your past experiences and neglect to consider that actually, sometimes it wasn't all that. 

But how are you supposed to recover from this? It's like a hangover after a heavy night that is still with you come 10am the next day and you just can't understand why. 

We need to put an end to this graduate rut and cope through the months to come, so here's how:

Alcohol
Go back to your student roots and turn to alcohol in times of trouble. I always wondered why my boyfriend's mum had a glass of wine almost every night after work. But when I got past the point of my usual long hours of summer work and realised it was now a full-time job I started to see the appeal. I haven't cracked to that point quite yet though, but I can see how it relaxes people in small quainties. And in large quantities too of course but coping during a 1 hour long lecture was hard enough at uni, imagine a whole day of work?! Alcohol in small quantities a few nights a week has been a good way to ease myself into the transition of student to graduate - my boyfriend and I meet up with friends and we have just one pint or two maybe once or twice a week and suddenly, not being at university doesn't seem so bad.

It's when I have a few more that I get nostalgic. Because, well, most of my memories from university were formed or, quite often, forgotten because of those 'few more' drinks. My advice? Have a tipple or two and create new memories.

Print out your photos
This doesn't sound much like letting go but the moment I printed off my photos from first year, I stopped taking the time to flick through them on Facebook. I know I have them to look at physically, if I so wish to. This stops me from falling into an all night session of Facebook stalking my past, and don't be coy, we've all been there.

Rely on timehop to remind you of the cringe-worthy moments
Time hop makes me feel two things: Sadness and shame. When cute photos of me and my friends living it up at uni come up, I get all sad and think how cute and happy we all look. But then I keep scrolling and I find first year status' or drunken tweets that remind me of how disastrous it could all be when, for example, I had a 9am lecture and had to attend it still slightly intoxicated with a hell of a hangover on the horizon. Then I dig deeper and we start going back to like 2008 here people and damn I'm glad I grew up. 

Facebook stalk your university
This may sound a little weird but if you went to a university anything like Keele, or did actually go to Keele, all of the events and freshers' week itself is hosted at the Student's Union on campus meaning you can have a gander through all the recent photo uploads. And boy does it make you cringe a little. Whilst everyone does look so young, so free from the stresses of work, they also look like they're likely to do something embarrassing that night, just as you yourself did. That is, if the photographer hasn't already snapshotted something embarrassing enough already. If I could relive uni I'd do a lot of things different, and I'm sure a lot of people come out of the other side feeling like that too. Whilst everyone looks all wild and free now, it'll hit them hard when they realise life isn't all £1 drinks and constant parties. You're one of those smug adults now with all that wealth of wisdom that you can use to lecture 'the youth'. 

Admit you're jealous
I'll go ahead and admit it now, I was very jealous, initially. When everyone started going back to uni I felt really jealous. I sunk into my desk chair at work and poured my heart out to a coworker about the point of life past uni. I'd hit rock bottom (not remotely over-dramatising things here). Fortunately, she felt the same. But my boyfriend didn't and one night he turned to me to give me a bit of advice, because for yet another night I was moaning about the point of it all and how my life was running away without me and how university was the life I wanted. Whilst he only gently said to me 'you've got to move on at some point' it felt like he'd shaken me and said 'wake up, this is reality'. 

Throughout a lot of stages in my life I've always been pining for the past or willing for the future to come sooner, and in turn I've left living in my current reality out of the picture. Perhaps if I'd taken the time to do so I wouldn't be constantly looking back at the past now.

The best way to cope through the first few months of being a graduate, through the first few months of working and through the first few months of the next fresh batch of students taking your place is to not let yourself get hung up on it all. How many people do you know who hate their job? Who come home and slump on the sofa complaining about how they have no time to do anything? The older generations who preach to you about what life was like 'when they were young' - are they enjoying what their life is like now? Parts of uni I enjoyed immensely but that isn't the reason I wanted to go back and do it again. Really I'd only go back to amend all the mistakes I made. I never achieved as much as I wanted to at uni, and that's why it appeals to me so much. I didn't take the time to appreciate the freedom and the opportunities. Truthfully, because I now have the knowledge of how much I could have achieved at uni, it appeals to me more than facing the reality of work and getting my head stuck in, because just like when I started university, I don't know what the future holds, none of us do, so none of us know what we can potentially achieve. 

It's deep, yeah, but everyone paints graduate life as all 'woe is me' and I've fallen into the same trap. No it doesn't have the highs of student life, but that's only because some of those moments were the highest you've had (literally for some people) and in order to make graduate life better than your student life, you've got to do better, achieve more, and have a better attitude towards it all. Everyone's so miserable about being an adult, how about we be the one's that change? 
MissIsGoode

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