Graduation can be exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measure. If you feel like your achievement will be overshadowed by post-uni anxiety, then you’ve come to the right place.
Finishing anything can be just as difficult as getting started. Endings often signify a breakaway from what you’ve come to know as normal and predictable, and completing a course is no different.
Congratulations aside (many, many congratulations), you may be struggling with a few graduation myths now your course has come to a close and any next steps come loaded with expectation… although, most of those may be your own. We’re here to remove the mystery from the myth and impart a little self-care wisdom with our guide on what to do after uni.
Myths about graduating from uni
Let's debunk some common graduation myths that might be stopping you from revelling in your achievement.
Myth: You have to get a job in your field straight away
Your university education is a long-term investment in your future career. In Australia, those with a tertiary education are half as likely to be unemployed as those without post-school qualifications. It’s OK to take time to recuperate, explore non-work opportunities, and tick a few things off your bucket list before you dive into the professional world. Your degree isn’t going anywhere.
Myth: Internships are for undergrads
If your degree already included an internship, you might think doing a second internship is a waste of time. Not so! As long as you can find an employer who follows the government’s internship rules taking on an extra internship can boost your work experience, broaden your skill set, pad out your resume, and grow your professional network.
Myth: You’ll only get a job in your field of study
These days, employers are looking for transferable skills and graduates are looking for jobs beyond their field of study. In fact, the average Australian is on track to have five distinct careers over their lifetime. So don’t limit your search. If you’ve graduated in journalism, your communication skills can be useful in marketing roles. Or, if you’ve studied maths, you can find opportunities in finance, insurance, or IT.
What to do after graduation
Coming up with a plan for transitioning into the workforce can help you enjoy the time you take off. But don’t worry, your plan doesn’t have to involve a large colour-coded binder detailing your projected career progression for the next five decades. Even a little organisation can lead to some real gains.
Prepare your paperwork
Having your resume and cover letter up to date is essential, but getting the extra paperwork right can make you a lot more employable. Does the job you want require a Blue Card or Working With Children Check? Attach it to your resume. Recruiter wants a portfolio? Have a link ready to go. Manager wants to know your availability? Include it in your attachments. Make the employer’s job easier.
Network, network, network
Networking is a great way to scout out opportunities in your field, and it doesn’t have to involve awkward professional functions. Networking can be as simple as endorsing former colleagues’ skills on LinkedIn, volunteering at a charity event, attending a workshop or enrolling in a short course that’s relevant to your field (which is also great for your resume, win-win!).
Read up on graduate outcomes
Check out the Graduate Outcomes Survey for information on how graduates in your industry have fared. This survey shows average graduate salary expectations, employment rates, and engagement in further study—all of which can help you prepare for and prioritise job opportunities.
Things to do after graduation: 3 self-care tips
The period after you graduate is one of those blissful times in your life when you can finally relax, because you know you’ve earned it. These tried and tested self-care tips will set you in good stead for starting your career feeling replenished, fulfilled and ready to go.
Fulfil those travel dreams
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of money to explore the world while you’re unattached. Want to travel and save money? Sign up for seasonal work somewhere else. Want to dive into another culture? Teach English as a second language in your dream country. Just want to relax anywhere that isn’t at home? Look for house sitting opportunities. Make the most of these opportunities while borders are open.
Do fun things for your health
When you explore new ways to look after yourself, you might just find a health-positive activity you enjoy for the rest of your life! Treat yourself to a massage, try something you usually wouldn’t at a vegan restaurant, or take a snowboarding trip. Oh, and wear sunscreen. If we could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
Lean into your friendships
Nourish the friendships and relationships you’ve forged at uni. You’ll cherish their insights when you join the workforce (especially if you’ve done the same course), help each other out with networking opportunities, and most importantly, you’ll support each other when it comes to just doing life.
What happens after graduation is up to you
The best thing about graduating uni is that your future is now in your hands. Whether you decide to work, travel, or check out postgraduate study, always remember: Good decisions and hard work got you where you are today. Be proud of yourself, your future is bright!