Where do I even start? These last 2 months have been an absolute whirlwind of extremely high points and some quite low points, I think that's what you get when you are going through a transition point in your life and even though everything can be going great, sometimes there are can be a random moment when you realise how big the step you have taken is, and it can be a hell of a reality check.
After speaking to a couple of my friends who have been and are still going through the same experience, I thought I would share my experience of finishing university, graduating and entering the big bad world.
After this, I was floating about in a limbo period where I didn't know where I was going to be living, although I had my heart set on moving to Manchester to work in the field I had studied, Marketing and Public Relations. but even when I got a job, with a couple of months to wait before I started and my savings rapidly depleting, I felt like I couldn't enjoy the moment and wanted to just get started with the rest of my life.
I was so shocked and proud of myself when I received my results and found out that I had achieved a first class degree classification. I still feel like every all nighter, every time I refused to be sociable because I had deadlines and every time I turned down a shift at work to do my dissertation was worth it now, because at the end of the day money and nights out come and go all the time - and an achievement like this can stay with me forever.
Working full time
At the end of May, I had secured my dream job located in the trendy Northern Quarter in the heart of Manchester, at an award winning PR Agency. The location and the office are perfect, and I get to work with great clients including a huge beauty brand. I work with a small group of experienced and ambitious women and that's a great way to kickstart any career. On a side note, the office walls are pink and that totally sold me!
Fast forward to nearly two months at work and I still love it, every weekend I think how lucky I am to have a job in the field that I studied in. However I've realised that it's important to remember that you don't get jobs through luck, I did work hard to get the right work experience for a job like this. I spent money I didn't have to travel from Birmingham to Manchester for interviews for roles that I didn't get, and took more than the recommended time out of studying to go to assessment centres and prepare my answers for interviews and researching companies. This meant I was stressed and tired and didn't have much time for myself, my relationship or to work.
There is a huge jump from the relaxed schedule at university to working full time. Luckily I had already worked full time for a year in a placement role as part of my degree, so some habits I picked up quite easily. One thing I would recommend is focusing on one thing at a time. I focused on settling in first. I turned down invites to go back home because I knew I needed to make this feel like home sooner rather than later.
If your job is 9-5 don't turn up on your first day at 9am, thats just not how it works in a professional environment and expect to stay after 5pm to get what you need to do done, if thats how your office operates. At the end of the day, you're no longer in your part time job where you can literally clock out and run (sprint in my case) out as soon as your shift ends, you're forging a name for yourself in your industry.
Just because you might be starting a job at entry level doesn't mean that you aren't important. for all you know you might have beaten hundreds to get that role, and being in a skilled profession is a great accomplishment, so don't doubt yourself!
Moving to a new city
Even though I haven't moved particularly far, it's about 80 miles and a 1.5 hr drive between Derby and Manchester, it is still a big adjustment as it's not like you can just pop round to your grandma's for a cup of tea and cake anymore, everything takes planning and giving people notice, which is one of the hardest adjustments I've had to make. Although I didn't live at home for university, Birmingham never felt like home as I was just there to study, but now I'm in Manchester for the foreseeable future and have to start making roots.
It's very expensive to move, no matter whether you are staying in the same city or moving. You need a deposit which is often the same amount as your first month's rent, plus first month's rent upfront.
You may also need to pay an application fee if you are moving through an estate agent which for me was around £60, but it can be much more if you are moving somewhere like London.
If you are coming straight out of education its very difficult to make this type of money fast, so consider whether you want to delay applying for jobs elsewhere until you can afford to move!
I lived with my boyfriend for a month, basically the first month until I got paid, as there was just no way I could afford to move before I had my first pay.
I will probably do another blog post on moving and finding a place to live as it is quite a lengthy subject!
Another thing I wanted to talk about was making friends in a new city. This isn't student days where you can be friends for life with someone just because you sat next to each other on the first day.
It is really hard to meet people in your twenties and this is what I am currently trying to do. I am 23 in two weeks and it feels like I am starting all over again! People already have their friendship groups and routines and working full time, you generally don't want to go out EVERY night. I have bills to pay now babes!
At the moment I'm looking for sport groups to join, social groups and just the old fashioned connecting with old friends that also live in Manchester. You will be surprised to know that a lot of people are in the same boat as you and I have just come to face up to the fact that it's not something to be embarrassed about! If you don't ask you don't get so from now on I am just going to put myself out there. Try apps like Meetup and Citysocialiser to find people with similar interests to yours and pay attention to free taster sessions for events and groups.
Overall, finishing university and starting a new chapter is something not to take lightly, even though thousands of people do it every year. Everyone takes a different path.