Look Back, Look Forward: Part 4 – Life after graduation

You’ve been held in a cocoon for several years and now you’re left in limbo.  Nice, huh?

After the final exams (and parties), we shed a tear at leaving behind the place of so many great memories.  Then it’s over as quickly as it began.  You’ve got your mates, your plans, your life outside the student experience…but naturally moving on from university can be jarring.  So how do you make the transition feel seamless?

photo by las

photo by las

  • Use uni services as much as you can, while you can – It’s great that you’ve got access to a huge range of services, but it comes to an end.  Some resources are accessible to graduates, but you need to live nearby and your access will still be reduced compared to that of a student.  As for online services, don’t forget to use them while you still can.  If you’re uncertain how long you get to log on to university intranet, email and gateways, ask!
  • Don’t wait for graduation – Some institutions wait months before officially handing out your degree.  Don’t treat those months as empty ones.  A degree ceremony is a formality.  You don’t even have to wait to get your final results.  You have the opportunity to crack on RIGHT NOW.
  • Look at your life as a continuing story – You may be at the end of an era, but there’s no point in dwelling on it.  Perhaps you’re relieved to be finished and want a break.  If you chill out now, you’ll lose focus and lose chances everyone else starts grabbing up.
  • Use your network straight away and cover all ground, including academics and tutors who inspired you – You can never be too good at networking.  And it’s not just for mates and for finding jobs.  The wider you stretch out and find people with similar passions, plans, careers, ideas, and so on, the better.  If you want to improve your own game, you can’t do that on your own.  And the great thing about networking is that you can help others while you’re at it.
  • Contact your careers service – With masses of information and advice, you’d be crazy not to make as much use from your careers services while you can.  Many graduates stay local to their place of study, so your job shop may be able to help out in that way too.  Ask what your careers people have to offer.  They can probably help after you graduate too, so find out what ways you can use them to your advantage.
  • Keep your affairs up to date and organised – Now more than ever, you need to have your wits about you in order to make your moves quickly.  Don’t ignore the administrative side of life because it needs doing.  If you leave it, the work won’t go away and it’ll become more urgent the longer you let it slip.  Getting everything together and looking presentable is more difficult if you leave things until the last minute too.  Remember how it was with essay deadlines…
  • Keep moving – We’ve seen in previous posts how the end of your student experience can be an anti-climax.  Rather than feel dispirited, use the opportunity to find new ways of using the time to suit you.  Life usually trips from one series of events to another.  University may be three or more years of your life, but it’s still just another series of events that comes to an end.  Live it, love it, remember it fondly, and dive straight in to the future.

These are just a few random thoughts.  There are about a squillion ways of moving on from university positively.  The main point is this: the desire to move on and to do so positively can only come from you.  Nobody else can tell you to make that transition from one thing to another, but it’s in your best interests to do so.

University gives you the key to an open mind.  There’s no need to lock up again when you leave.


  1. That’s my beautiful daughter! Glad you liked the photo and gave me credit!

    1. Thanks for taking the photo and putting it out on Creative Commons. Hurrah!

      From your comments on Flickr, please tell your daughter that she has a lovely nose. And give her my congratulations for graduating. I wish her a fabulous future.

  2. Thanks! She is on her way to Temple University in Philly in a few weeks! Master’s program!

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