After 20 years of education, an undergrad degree, masters degree and lived abroad for year later, and suddenly you have to make the transition from student to adult. You have to get your first job, you are suddenly working 9-5, or 8 -6 for the first time in your life, and your weekends are no longer filled with writing essays or researching for your dissertation. You have you degree result, and suddenly you are no longer just a student, but a twenty something that now has to enter the ‘real’ world for this first time.
Let’s face it, the transition between university and work sucks. You don’t realise how much freedom and time you once had, and suddenly (even in a covid-19 era), you have to wake up and be ready and dressed by 8, have a one hour lunch break, and work through to 5 or 6. If you work from home your commute might just be from an office / bedroom etc, to a lounge or kitchen to make tea. If you commute by public transport or by your own means, suddenly you are leaving your house at 7am, after your alarm wakes you up at 6. Yes, you have to commute to uni, but if you suddenly don’t fancy a 9am lecture the consequence is that you missed the lecture, you can’t simply turn around to your employer and say nah can’t be bothered today.
Yes it sounds crazy, but after 20 years of full time education, it takes more than a week for your body to adjust to that early morning alarm, getting ready and out of the house, and spending 7/8 hours a day working, before your little chance to relax in the evening and then you repeat till Friday. It’s hard, and it’s a struggle no one talks about.
Yes over time you get used to it, but three months in and my body is still annoyed at my 6am alarm, and rushing of porridge at just before 7, and jumping on the commuter train where I tend to nap if I don’t read. It’s a culture shock, which no one really talks about.
I know I am the lucky one, I secured an internship before I handed in my dissertation, which has now turned into a full time job. It isn’t in the field I want to be in, because of course I want to be in the sport marketing / sponsorship sector, but for now I am happening learning and gaining experience in the marketing industry at an agency. I work with some great people and I’m learning everyday, but my body is mentally tired from the new routine.
Everyone talks about the key struggles after university, moving back home, trying to find a grad job etc, but it’s when you get a job and your daily life almost changes until the day your retire and that’s pretty scary.
2020 has been a weird and strange year, with not one but two lockdowns, furlough schemes, university going online, exams online, and people working from home. it’s hard enough getting a grad job, the stress of interviews, the application stage, tailoring your CV and competing against 100’s in a time when people are being made redundant and 100’s of grad schemes are no longer running. When you do secure your first proper job after uni, it’s still a struggle and a complete culture shock, even if you are working from home.
Thinking back to the beginning of the year when I was commuting to London for my masters, my whole life has changed. I was once writing essays on the train, or falling asleep listening to music on the very rare commuter train in the morning. Okay I am still falling asleep if I listen to music, but I no longer take my laptop and instead read a book as that is my time to relax. I work Monday to Friday, whereas I was in uni a max of 4 days a week and after my lectures had finished I would either stay or get the train home. I worked in retail, and spent most of my time at work complaining about customers, or the store being too cold to work in. Now I’m busy, and although I can be cold, I am not restricted to what time I can eat or having to nip somewhere else to have a quick sip of water. Then lockdown came and the whole world has basically changed, but the commute and office has but some normality back into my life, but its a new normal as someone who has only just received her masters results.
No one talks about the struggle and culture shock from education to work, but it is real, it sucks, but it’s also the beginning of a new chapter.