8 Things I Have Learned in the 18 Months Since Graduating

It has been a long time since I have written anything other than for work, mainly because I have been working; and learning a lot about the real world.

So what have I learned….

1. I am back to being a small fish, but this time in a very VERY big pond

Remember that jump from Primary 7 to 1st Year at High School? No longer the ones who ruled the roost, but the ones who were ruled over? It is like that. But there is no structured system to take you back up that ladder again.

The feeling that I could rule the world instantly disappeared after graduation  – and despite what you can learn in 18 months, I still have a long way to go.

Being young and new makes it very hard to get listened too, and therefore very hard to gain those small wins. You have to have to earn respect to move up the pecking order – which definitely takes time.

2. The “just graduated” sticker takes a long time to come off

No matter how much experience or studying you have done, or how good your grades are, or how successful that project was  – you will always have “just graduated”.

You research careers at school, find out the pathway to get there and then start your journey. However, it turns out that they failed to tell you about the huge gap between your First Class Honours Multimedia Journalism Degree and becoming the next Prime Minister.

This huge part is a whole new adventure, because you have absolutely no idea how to make those leaps forward and what opportunities you should grab.

But I do know what I am doing – I do have opinions and ideas that matter and I did learn something at university. In fact, my knowledge is more up to date.

Does experience trump knowledge? Probably. But it doesn’t mean I don’t know what I am doing. It takes a lot of interview skill to persuade an employer that you can take on a challenge when you don’t have that experience behind you.

My advice to you though? Apply for it anyway, jump in the deep end, do as much as you can, and regret absolutely nothing. It is way more exciting than knowing what you are doing.

Which links in nicely to…

3. I still have no idea what I want to do in life

I always thought I knew what I wanted, but now I have had a taste of what work is really like, being in the same role with the same responsibilities day after day – I now have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life.

The problem being that when you get a taste of it, you want to do everything, I enjoy so many aspects of my job and have so opportunities and avenues that I want to try!

This is a very first world problem…and I am not complaining, not really.

4. Doing the things I love is incredibly important.

This lesson has been harder than it may seem; it has meant arguments, being deemed a ‘workaholic’ and becoming petty over who travels to visit who. It has also meant a very static website with no time to write.

Having a social life outside of work is vital – and this is much harder when you are working more than 9 am to 5 pm. You have to plan when you will be spontaneous – this means ‘date nights’ and ‘novelty midweek days out’ written into the calendar (and then very often scrubbed out when your first night off in ages turns into an early bed as opposed to a riot on the town!)

So the second part of the lesson learned there was, “Get a job you enjoy” (or have fun colleagues to share it with.) I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have gotten through these 18 months if it wasn’t for the the people around me.

They teach you, support you and most importantly tell you to wisen up when you need it most. They go through all the same stuff as you and therefore can’t judge you when you have a meltdown, because nine times out of ten, one of them had a meltdown the day before.

Plus, you also have no time to see any of your other friends, so if you weren’t friends with your colleagues – who would you have for more than 50% of your week?!

5. Creativity has to be scheduled

This moves onto my next point (which is slightly exaggerated.) You can’t just procrastinate from your day job to write a blog post like you did when you were studying. Deadlines at university were real, but in a full time job they are REAL. Much like “planning spontaneity” you also have to be able to think on the spot and be creative on demand – “it’ll come to me” doesn’t quite cut it anymore….

6. Mortgages are way cooler than renting

A much more simple and looking back, logical, lesson to have learned.

The idea of having your own house used to be sickening – now I can’t imagine ever going back to renting. The word mortgage no longer means commitment, and labels you old. It means no more hassling landlords, surprise inspections, paying money that you will never see again. It also means you can have a pet and decorate how you please!

7. Friday nights are not just for partying

They are also for late night meetings, printing and stapling, watching bike racing and most importantly sitting in bed with a cup of tea watching Eastenders with your better half.

(I really want to complain about this, but, call me boring, I love this part of my new life.)

8. I am not a proper grown-up.

I am not a proper grown-up, yet. I still can’t bake, or cook, or even use the right washing powder. Those things you were able to gloss over by living the student life come back and hit you in the face.

But, on the flip side, no matter how old you are – you are still your parents child and therefore until I have children of my own – I’m pretty sure I can get away with the inability to cook properly…I think.

What am I still learning?

  • Your job does not define you as a person.
  • People are still mean in the adult world.
  • You can guarantee your own win, but you can’t guarantee winning over someone else.

Until next time…

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