If you’re used to leisurely waking up at 11am to wander your way to your afternoon lecture on one of the three days you’re required in at University, for the third year in a row, you may not be fully prepared for what work life has in store for you in the coming months.
That’s not to say university is easy, far from it. Few things are more stressful than an approaching assignment deadline, and that’s especially true with dissertations.
University is fantastic for preparing you with the knowledge and know-how of the creative industries. It also gives you the opportunity to earn a qualification that can propel you to a solid first step on the career ladder. However, the way of living couldn’t be much further removed from what life will be like when you start working.
Perhaps the most noticeable shift from student life is your day to day structure. As a student, it can be erratic with lectures dotted throughout your week, changing from assignment to assignment, term to term. Once you enter full time employment, your week structure will likely be consistent almost every time, starting at x time, finishing at y. It’s often unfavourably referred to as the 9 to 5 grind, however the routine does allow you to create plans for outside work activities and hobbies, and importantly the money to fund them.
If you were only required in a few times a week at university, the weekend wasn’t a great deal different from the week days leading up to it. In fact, it’s probably where you found time for a part time job. As a working adult, you will soon learn the wonders of Saturday and Sunday. Regardless of how much you love your job, when Friday comes around, you’ll likely be counting down the hours until the weekend begins. It becomes your precious time!
Ah, the joys of summer. For most of your life up until the end of your university studies, you’ll have had the summer holidays to look forward to. Perhaps you’d spend it going abroad, or with family and friends from home, maybe with a part time job to keep you ticking over until September. Working while employed full time however is a very different experience! Hot offices and window staring are certainly a part of it, but it’s also a good excuse to socialise with your work colleagues and book some much needed holidays in the sun.
Starting to not sound like a fair trade? The primary reason to work helps to compensate: money. No more relying on student finance, or calling parents up to help tide you over, or living off beans on toast for the final weeks of a term. You’ll likely be earning more money than you’ve ever received before on a regular basis, and what you do with it is entirely up to you. Save for that car you always wanted, a deposit for your own house or an exotic holiday – money opens so many doors and your free time can become more exciting for it.
The other big benefit to work life: the freedom it gives you. Yes, you won’t have the free time that comes with the summer holidays and term breaks, but you can take ownership of the time you are working more than ever. Up until you graduate, barring a school or university transfer, you are stuck with x amount of years in school followed by 3 or 4 years earning your qualifications. Other than initially choosing your subject and university, there isn’t a great deal of wiggle room to easily move on to something new. As a working adult however, you have that freedom. If you’re unhappy in your job or the projects you’re working on, you can freely search out a new one. You have the ability to make immediate and big changes in your career and your life as a whole.
Graduating can be a daunting prospect. It will likely take some time to adjust to working life. However, we recommend embracing the upsides, enjoying your new freedoms and making the most of this exciting time in your life.