No dough to #YoPro: How to transition from student to full time employee
This summer, I left university for good. Whilst this marked the end of late night library stints, finical footnoting and an empty bank account, it also indicated the beginning of hellish commutes, freedom restrictions and the start of adulthood, or as my parents would put it 'taking responsibility'.
Some may call me crazy but I only gave myself two weeks between leaving university and starting my new job. No six month gallivant across South East Asia or living out of a rucksack in the Amazon. I felt I had spent long enough in the in-between and, as my friends know, I'm not exactly the type of person who likes roughing it or being away from home for too long. Additionally, I felt like my decision to study for a Master's degree meant that I did not want to spend any more time avoiding what fully-fledged adults like to call 'the real world'.
So alas, on the first week of July, I became a #YoPro. Although I was incredibly excited to start carving a path for myself, I felt everything from nostalgia and sadness to worry and loneliness. Five months later, I've never been happier. Although I still miss my university days, there's no way I'd turn back the clock!
Here are five things you can do to make the transition a little easier:
1) Think about what you didn't have at university
At the beginning, I kept thinking about what I would lose when I entered full time employment (freedom, fun and most importantly, friendships). Turns out that university life is restricting in its own way. As a #YoPro, I now have *a small* amount of money to spend how I wish (be it holidays, clothes or that new iPhone). Starting work also means that you can really focus on what you want to do with your life, as well as making a tangible impact on real businesses. Most importantly for me, however, was the fact that in the workplace, hard work pays off. At university, I could spend weeks and weeks on an essay that one marker could dislike and give me a terrible mark. At work, if you work hard, you will reap the rewards.
2) Talk to your friends; they're going through the same thing
I have an amazing 'Strong Independent Women' whatsapp group between my nearest and dearest, as well as many close friends who entered full time employment for the first time this year. When I felt anxious or lonely in this new chapter of my life, my friends were the first people to admit they felt the same way. A problem shared really is a problem solved. Regularly meeting with your friends is also so important. Not only will it remind you that all your friendships are still there, but also provide a highly entertaining opportunity to swap work stories!
3) Beat your commute
In all honesty, one of the hardest things about working life is the commute. I know some of you will be inner-London-dwelling habitants with your £3.50 20 minute commute. I'm a Zone 8-er (yes, Zone 8 is a thing) and I'm split between two offices in central London and South London. Some days, it can take me over two and a half hours to get into work, which means a nasty, cold - sometimes even violent - 6am start. How do I beat my commute? A good book is a magical way to escape the realities of your chugging train and the stench of unwashed armpits. On less busy mornings, I also find doing my makeup a good way to pass the time.
4) Set goals for yourself
One of the best things about starting a full time job, as I've already mentioned, is being in full control of your career trajectory. You are no longer bound by dodgy module choices, the "three more years until I can get outta here" mentality or compulsory exams/assignments. I get really excited when I think about my future career and am constantly planning my next step. Be open with your bosses about your personal development. I've had so many opportunities from dropping a simple 'I'm really interested in x and would love the opportunity to develop this further'.
5) Enjoy your guilt free evenings & weekends!
Evenings and weekends are guilt free. GUILT FREE. At university I was a workaholic. This meant that any time I wasn't in the library, I felt guilty. Now when the clock strikes 5pm, I am overcome with a liberating sense of freedom. Whole evenings and weekends to do whatever I want with! For the past five months, this has meant having the time to set up this blog (something I've never had time for before), as well as lots of travelling, weekend trips and of course, shopping!