After spending years of studying, adapting to life after university can be a difficult task but it doesn’t have to be. Now that you’ve graduated look at it as the world is your oyster, you’re now free from the stress of exams and deadlines and you can finally start earning a real wage! That must sound refreshing in comparison to the debt you’ve accumulated at university.
What should I do first?
Open a graduate bank account! We can’t stress this enough. You’re likely to currently be using a student bank account which offers a 0% overdraft charge. However, when you lose your student status some banks will automatically transfer to a graduate account but not all do which means you’ll get charged for whatever you’re overdrawn. As you can imagine this can involve a hefty amount being added on.
The big decision: to move back home or not?
Where do you want to live? Can you afford to rent a property? Whether you decide to move back to your hometown, move to a completely different scenery or stay in your university city make sure you consider all your options and the affordability.
What career options are out there for me?
Now you’re in the clear there, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to do with your career. This can be a daunting process. You might be feeling a little lost, worried or even excited. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal to be confused. To make the process that little bit easier here are a few options that you can do:
1. Graduate Jobs – This doesn’t mean any job done by a graduate is a graduate job. Graduate jobs normally require the employee to hold a degree. If you’re still a bit unsure about what you want to do with your career a graduate job might be a better option for you as opposed to a graduate programme where you’ll be tied down for a for a year or longer training in one particular discipline.
2. Graduate Programme – Graduate programmes have set application windows which normally run from September to February for you to begin in the following September. This means you should be applying in your last year of university if you’re looking to start straight away. This will include structured training and the opportunity to gain professional qualifications depending on your employer. Be aware you’re not also guaranteed a job at the end of the programme.
3. Postgraduate Courses – Are you considering a postgraduate course? If you’re not ready to move into the big wide world just yet and want to gain a deeper understanding in a subject you want to later forge a career in then a postgraduate course is something you should definitely look into. You might also be eligible for a loan to contribute towards your study and expenses. You can order a postgraduate prospectus from The Open University.
4. Gap Year – A gap year is about delving into new experiences, challenges, projects, and cultures. They can be paid or voluntary but don’t just take a gap year in anything though. Make sure it’s linked to a career you inevitably want to pursue as this will add value to your CV and set you apart from the crowd.
Now you’ve got the ball rolling and decided on what you’re going to do career-wise, it’s time to put the pennies away. We’re guessing if you’ve gone back to live with your parents after university you’re not going to want to live with them forever. Initially, you might enjoy being back in the family household but when they’re nagging at you to wash your plate up or make your bed it will make you miss your own space. You’ll be speeding towards that property ladder quicker than you can say Jack Robinson so why not start saving now with a Lifetime ISA and you could qualify for a 25% bonus from the government.
Stressed over your student loan debt?
Don’t be. There are millions in the exact same boat as you and there’s a bonus, you don’t have to pay it back until you’re earning over £21,000 and after 30 years any amount you’ve not repaid gets wiped off.
Now it’s time to focus on what’s really important, your career opportunities! Search and apply for graduate programmes to kick start your career.