When your uni degree is (finally) coming to an end, it can be quite daunting to figure out the next chapter of your life. I thought my uni degree was stressful – but now I need to know what to do with myself! And you’re probably the same. Do you want to travel, take a year off, intern somewhere, or go straight into full-time work? There’s no definite path. If you’re a soon-to-be uni graduate, fear not! We’ve spoken to five students who took off on their own unique journeys after completing their degrees. Here are some solid options for post-degree life:
Take a breather
Whether you know what you want to do or not, you might want some time to chill out, so take a gap year! Recent uni graduates, Matt and Monique, are doing exactly that. Matt graduated this year with a Bachelor of Arts and Commerce. He says he felt relieved, more than anything else, about finally finishing his four year degree:
“I was just glad I got through it without failing or having to chop and change degrees. And I knew I had travel planned so it was something to look forward to.”
Matt’s trip to Europe was the perfect way to celebrate his hard working years at Macquarie University. Over the next few years, Matt strives to work his way up the corporate ladder in marketing and sales.
Monique, on the other hand, only finished her studies in PR and advertising a few short months ago at the University of New South Wales:
“It felt weird at first, as my friends were still complaining about assignments and I was free to do as I liked with nothing due. No stress! My plan is to take a year off as I didn’t take one before uni. I want to travel and have a break before finding full time work. I’m in no rush.”
Monique has a hard-working, career-driven attitude, yet has decided to take it easy before entering the workforce, maintaining a solid work/play balance in her life. She believes taking a year off will allow her to realise where she might want to work and weigh up her career options:
“All I aim for is to be happy, healthy and enjoy what I do.”
Test the water
If you’re unsure of what you’d like to do out there, but you know you want to take a dip, it’s a good idea to test the water and try out an internship. Uni graduate, Mansour, completed his Bachelor of Communication, majoring in Public Communication, in 2017. When the last few days of uni were approaching, Mansour says there was a sense of uncertainty in his future employment prospects:
“Nevertheless, there was a sense of pride in my accomplishments.”
Oh, the daily grind (source: Giphy)
His plan after uni was to look for an internship that could potentially land him full time work:
“My goal has always been to move to Melbourne and progress my ambitions as a PR Consultant in a different city, that simply put, wasn’t Sydney. However, since acquiring full time employment before official graduation, my five year plan has drastically changed.”
“Internships are a gateway into an organisation. They are an opportunity to network and grow” as well as a way of attaining real-life experience before taking on permanent positions.
Dive right in
If you’re sick of waiting around – because you’re career hungry AF – and can’t wait to do what you love, then maybe full time is just what the doctor ordered. Louisa graduated this year from the University of Technology and felt relieved! She claims that she wanted to go straight into work and just be done with assessments – forever! Hah, we all know how you feel. Louisa didn’t have an exact plan when she left uni:
“I just knew I wanted to work straight away, wherever I could.”
Louisa, being the fabulous girl she is, now works at one of Australia’s leading companies as the marketing coordinator. Louisa says that in the next few years she would like to find time to travel, but also be successful at work and love what she does.
Madison, who actually completed the same degree as Monique (!), was so ready to get on with real life:
“Uni definitely wasn’t for me! I didn’t feel like much of my course had real world application and I was way too eager to get started.”
Madison completed various internships during her studies, one of which actually turned into a part time job in her final year, and then a full time career once she had graduated. This goes back to how seriously vital internships are these days to get your foot in the door:
“Before getting into full time work, I was lucky that I had experience and could at least pretend I knew what I was talking about.”
When Madison was asked where she sees herself in five years, she said “hopefully running the whole damn show!” But truthfully, she already is.
There are many more pathways than taking an internship or a gap year or a job. There’s volunteering, pursuing postgraduate study or even becoming self-employed. Even if you’re someone who is still (slowly) getting through their degree, but wants to keep things interesting and mix it up, you don’t have to wait! Seek work experience outside of uni or travel between semesters. There are no rules, there is no set pathway. Do whatever the hell you want! Just pass your subjects… 😉