Thursday 10 August 2023

From the university bubble into the real world

Madeleine describes what life can be like after university and how she coped with moving to a new city for work.

- Madeleine Chamberlain

The transitional period of heading home after completing university can be a tricky one. When I graduated, I felt a little like I was regressing by being back in my parents' house. The growth and independence I had gained at university seemed a world away. This, along with the difficulty of the job hunt was not a nice concoction. It felt a little like limbo: I was no longer in the bubble of uni but nor was I fully in the real world. 

No longer being a walk away from various friends’ houses really hit me and I craved the connectivity of university. This feeling remained with me even after I landed my first graduate job. Moving to a new city can be hard when you’re not all pushed together and introduced like in freshers.   

However, I learnt that the important thing is to get yourself out there and focus on things you enjoy. Something as simple as a Bumble BFF meet-up led me to be a part of a whole new friendship group. I almost didn't go, feeling tired after a long day, but I’m so glad I did. The feeling of loneliness that I first felt when I moved slowly ebbed away and I started feeling like a part of something. I had also gotten lucky and had great work friends, but I think it’s important to branch out and meet people in different settings.   

It can feel strange to leave the bubble of university to enter the real world, start your first graduate job and make decisions for yourself. I, like many people, followed the route a lot of people take out of school and went to university. It was hard to realise that there is no paved road to take after this. I had to really think about what I wanted to do and what would make me happy. 

I by no means always made the best decisions and I’m sure I’ll make mistakes in the future. But I think the important thing is staying true to myself and making the best decision with the information I have at the time. 

So if you’ve just finished uni, don't be too hard on yourself if you’re struggling to decide what to do next. There’s time and there’s always a different route you can take.

Whether you are looking for support for your own mental health at university or supporting a friend, help is available.

I'm Madeleine, a graduate from the University of York. Having dealt with mental health problems, I am passionate about sharing my story to help others who may be able to relate.

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