Whether you are wondering where the last three years went or you are edging closer to your final year, the prospect of being thrown out into the “real” world probably scares the life out of you.
Suddenly, you are no longer the wide-eyed first year fresh out of school ready to take on university life, but now the older (maybe a little bit wiser) person clinging on to that last bit of adolescence.
Are you really ready for life after college?
Some of the lucky ones know what direction they want to take career-wise and have already been building up their CVs in preparation, but there are a good number of students who are still clueless about their future once they leave their safety net of education.
Raise your hand if you thought you would it all figured out by the time you got to the end of your degree? Chances are, you probably did.
So for those who have settled into their last year that sense of dread must be kicking in right about now, right? Especially since recent studies have shown that Ireland has the highest number of people emigrating in Europe.
This has been coined the ‘brain drain’ as the majority of people leaving are those with third-level education or full-time jobs.
Although it may seem like a comfy alternative, hiding in the wardrobe and ignoring your worries won’t do much to help.
You are going to graduate sooner rather than later and although no one actually has sure fire advice how to handle the dreaded last year, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the ‘fear’ doesn’t completely take over in your final semester.
1. Go out
Go on nights out as much as possible. Yes it’s final year and everyone needs to get their heads down and work, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying yourself.
Once college has ended you won’t get the same chance to go on nights out during the weekdays. Take advantage of those cheap student nights while you can.
Intern in companies and organisations you think you might like to work in. If you have a day off during the week or during the Christmas break, volunteer anywhere that will have you.
Do all the small stuff like make tea and photocopying, but soak up the atmosphere as well and get a feel for how your chosen organisation works.
Make connections with workers there – networking is vital for career success in today’s society.
3. Join a club
If you haven’t been involved in extra-curricular activities in the past, now is the perfect time to throw yourself into a new club or society.
Partaking in something completely separate from your degree may give you a clearer idea of what you might or might not be suited to career-wise.
4. Get serious!
Start thinking seriously about different options once you graduate.
Many students go on to do further study, but realistically the cost of continuing on for a post-graduate degree is too high for a lot of students (unless they want to be repaying loans for the next few years).
There are, however, cheaper diploma and part-time courses you can take up if you want to continue with education.
Travelling is another option for graduates. Although many fear that if they take off for a year or two, they will have even more competition for jobs from people just out college who may have more up to date skills. But the life experience gained from seeing the world is probably worth the risk.
It’s normal to be worried, even a bit petrified of world beyond university, but if you were to speak with anyone in their late 20s they would tell you that the bluffed their way through things once they left education.
You are in good company.
With thanks to www.campus.ie