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In honour of freshers’ week: My dear graduate self…

In honour of freshers’ week: My dear graduate self…

It seems a bit ridiculous, considering I just graduated over a year ago, to be passing on life advice to future and recent grads. That being said, a year is a long time and I personally think that in your twenties you are thrown an abundance of life experience – mostly because you’ve done something wrong! But at the ripe old age of 24, here are five pieces of guidance I want to pass on my fellow and future graduates.

  1. Relax
  2. Learn
  3. Challenge
  4. Listen
  5. Positivity

So to start with, RELAX. Okay so student life is stereotyped to be the laziest time of your life, but clearly whoever thinks that has not been up for three days straight being haunted by the terrifying dissertation and the imminent failure that you believe is coming. After graduation you feel you can shake it off and go on to your next hugely amazing life step – but that doesn’t always happen. If things haven’t gone the way you envisioned after graduation, it’s okay. Your dream job could actually be your nightmare, you could end up only making the tea throughout your internship – that’s fine. Take what you can from these experiences and move forward. Everything will eventually fall into place. After graduation I worked almost two years in retail, throughout which I attended various interviews and undertook several internships in a variety of fields, to finally land on my feet at Stripe.

Next, you need to learn. Yes, university might be over but the learning just keeps coming! When you’re out in the scary adult world there isn’t anyone to give you the answers, you need to keep asking questions in order to learn. If you didn’t get that job, ask why. If you did get that job, ask why. Focus on your positive attributes and learn from your negatives.

Always have your game face on. If you’re not ready for the challenge, who’s going to bother challenging you? Go into every opportunity with ambition and enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to challenge systems and present your own ideas.

Know when to listen. Being eager and inquisitive will get you so far, but remember that sometimes the answers are already there, you just need to take some time to sit back and absorb the information around you. Be observant of those around you, body language can sometimes give away more than words ever will.

Finally, stay positive. I am an eternal optimist. I do believe, at the end of the day, everything will fall into place and it will be fine. However, this is hard. Sometimes it can look like your life isn’t going anywhere or you’re being thrown problems you can’t deal with, but you can handle it. Life will only throw you what you can take, and if that means a taking a big breath and working that bit harder, then so be it. So graduates of the now and the future, give yourself a slap on the back – we’re doing alright.