Graduation is a huge accomplishment and takes a great amount of devotion, time and effort. However graduation is not the end – it’s just the beginning of the next phase of your life. I remember walking across that stage to collect my piece of paper that said I was ready to go off into the ‘real world’ and thinking “I don’t know anything yet. How am I going to be able to do this?” No matter how much you learn at Uni, I’ve found there are still some life lessons that just can’t be taught in a classroom. It’s been 12 months now since I moved off College and into the ‘real world’ and let me tell you it hasn’t been anything like I anticipated.
I have laughed, smiled, screamed and cried, sometimes all at once (trust me its possible!).
You have these images in your mind about how your life will turn out after graduation: you will move into a fabulous apartment with your friends, its always going to be fun, you will have a fantastic job, get paid a fortune, fit right in with your team, be great at everything you do and people will be so impressed with you, you will be promoted in no time.
Call me naïve but I actually believed this would be how it worked so you can imagine my shock and dismay when my picture perfect future wasn’t so perfect after all.
In the last 12 months I have moved into an apartment with friends, had a massive falling out with a roomie and realised that living with friends isn’t always going to be all fun and games, changed roomies twice, started a job in one role, been transferred to another, loved my job then hated my job, felt like part of a team, felt completely isolated from my team, quit my job, moved back home to my parents in Bundaberg, moved back to Toowoomba and now I am working in a temp job that only lasts for another month, uncertain of what my next move will be – not quite the success story I had planned… and yet despite all of that I am probably the happiest I have been in the last 12 months. So based on my experience I thought I would share with you the three biggest lessons I have learnt that I wish I had know 12 months ago.
- Its all about hard work and dedication
Your ability to succeed will come down to how hard you are willing to work, how badly you want it and how long you are willing to persevere for. Talent will only get you so far and if you have a tendency to procrastinate I suggest you get over it or else it could be your downfall. In the corporate world, it’s very fast paced and it’s very cut throat. There are no handouts, no short cuts, no one to pick up the slack for you and no one to cover for you when you don’t hold up your end of the bargain. There are hundreds of other graduates out there who will gladly take your spot so if you think you can get by without pulling your weight think again. When I started my first job straight out of Uni, they sat me down and said “This is a sink or swim industry so you’d better hope you can swim. The last girl couldn’t, we got rid of her…”
I stuck it out for 12 months, determined to do my best, to prove my skills, determined not to be put off by office politics and a very prominent pecking order (graduate = personal slave. Think fetching lunches and collecting dry cleaning). Needless to say in the end it wasn’t the right ‘fit’ for me. This leads to point number two.
- Its ok to fail
When I quit my job after just 12 months, I felt like I had let myself, my parents and everyone who believed in me down. This wasn’t how things were meant to pan out for me. I was embarrassed to admit that I’d had enough of the grunt work and had quit my job without anything to go to. Then someone helped me see it in another light. They told me it was very brave to be able to say enough was enough and to know when to walk away. They told me that as a graduate, it’s only after you give something a try that you will know if it is the right industry for you.
Stay tuned for part two and my third biggest lesson coming to you next week!