How To Not fall Into The Postgraduate Void | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

How To Not fall Into The Postgraduate Void

Life&Style editor Tara Kergon shares some advice on how to avoid a post-graduation slump

Graduation is one of those airy-fairy, abstract, believe-it-when-you-see-it kind of concepts: until you’ve finally handed in the dissertation and strolled out of your last exam with what feels like the weight of the world lifting from your shoulders it can be hard to believe you will actually get through undergraduate life and come out the other side. And it’s an amazing achievement! But I can’t be the only one who feels like the prospect of entering “real life” is terrifying, from the loss of purpose that the endless slew of essays provided to the idea of getting a real job and trying to work out what to do with your life it can be easy to feel at a loss for what to do next and where to go. So here are a few ways to avoid turning a one-week break after the hustle of exams into six months of inactivity and anxiety.

Set Personal Goals

If you’re anything like me, all hobbies and personal goals were put aside while final year swallowed up every hour in the day. So instead of falling into binge-watching Netflix, the post-exam period can be a great time to regain the balance in your life, put some time into yourself, and either do some of the things you love but didn’t have time for, or try out some new ones. If you miss reading for pleasure, make a book list; if you wanted to work on your fitness then scout out a gym, start running or take up yoga; if there’s a hobby you’ve always wanted to try – be it journaling, baking, falconry, whatever – then now’s the time.

Take Time To Relax

Of course, it goes without saying that after all the stress of final year a good few days (or weeks) of R&R is needed: take a holiday, make time for a long bath and some good skincare, and even enjoy the freedom to not set an alarm for a few days. Personally, I’m looking forward to the chance to actually sleep! It’s important to re-set your brain with some down-time, but make sure you don’t hide away alone – go celebrate surviving university with your friends! And don’t let a few days doing nothing (or very little) stretch into months or you will fall into the void.

Work On Your Future

I’m definitely not saying you need to have a five-year-plan, but if you’ve already got a clear idea of what you want to do after undergraduate life, then make sure you work towards it! If you want to chase internships, then prioritise your portfolio and send out applications. If you’ve got a masters degree coming up, either finish the application or (if you’re already in) start preparing to study again. If you’re heading to a graduate scheme or a job in a new city, then get to know your new home – find somewhere to live, look up things to do, and maybe take a trip to IKEA for some new décor. Making little steps towards your future goals will keep you progressing instead of stagnating. And if you’re not sure what career you’re heading for, or which direction you want to go in, then you’re finally free to focus on looking into career options without academia breathing down your neck.

Keep To A Routine

One of the easiest ways to fall into lethargy and inactivity is to stop sticking to daily routines like getting up before midday, eating regular meals at ‘normal’ times, or doing productive things. While it’s so important to allow for a week or two of lie-ins, relaxation, and doing what you want when you want, it’s also important to make sure that after that you stick to some normality in your daily routine. Sticking to a good sleep schedule is vital for your health, while having some regular ‘productive’ hours will keep you well-prepared for further study or for work. Whether you get a job to earn some much-needed money as we bid a tearful farewell to student finance, or fill time with hobbies and seeing friends, it’s important to keep getting up and doing things each day.

Be Proud of Yourself – but Don’t Settle!

Finally, remember how amazingly well you’ve done to survive the trials and tribulations of university, and let that success spur you on to achieving even more – in whatever area you channel yourself into. Whether its personal goals, your career, or your cat’s instagram page, keep putting your skills to good use and you’ll still feel like you’ve got a purpose in life. Now go out and take on the world, degree in hand!


18th April 2018 at 9:00 am

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