Dear Liza: Life After Graduation

Dear Liza,

I have no idea what to do once I graduate next year. I'm reluctant to move home and surrender this newfound independence, scared that it will be like taking a step back, but at the same time am unsure about what to do in terms of jobs, accommodation, and life in general.

You and me both, friend! 

Life after graduation is SCARY. I'm less than three weeks away from putting on that cap and gown so trust me when I saw that I feel you on a very deep level. But, like you, I'm facing my fears head on so let's explore what life could look like for you.

You say that moving back home will be to surrender independence, and I don't know what that looks like for you. I'm lucky in as much as I have quite a lot of independence at home, and I'm wondering if there are ways you can find that in your home life. Your parents might be super strict with no wiggle room, but I'm wondering if it would be possible to have a conversation with them about expectations and how you can best adapt to being back. We all change when we experience different life situations and I'm sure it will be as weird for them as it will for you when you're home. Open communication and goodwill on both sides can often go a long way in making situations better. What aspects of independence do you want, and is there a way you can incorporate that into being home? Maybe it's finding a short term job to put money in your pocket, or shopping and cooking for yourself. I'm sure there are some solutions. That's if you stay home, of course. 

As for being unsure about jobs and the rest, the only way forward is by diving in (after some thorough research). Do you have any idea what you want to do? Hit our good friend Google and see what's out there. Your first job doesn't have to be your dream job, but starting in a field may help you see what it is your enjoy and what you absolutely hate. Do you have any work experience that you could further base these thoughts on? Maybe you worked in marketing, and hated the sales but loved the organisation? Even seemingly unrelated work might have shown you talents or passion you have. Weirdly enough for me it was getting into work on peer support that showed me how much I loved to make videos. True story.

You have more control than you think here. The internet holds a whole host of information, and you'll only move forward if you start looking. Don't worry if it seems overwhelming, find a friend or career advisor and talk out your different options. Work through the possibilities and in there there's bound to be an exciting solution for you.

And remember going home doesn't mean that will be for the rest of your life. Maybe you need a few months as a stepping stone to give you time to research jobs and recharge and figure out where you're headed in life. It was taking a year off before university that allowed me the space to work out where I was heading. I went through sobbing fit after sobbing fit with the endless question of "what am I doing?" but ultimately it worked out well for me. I'm doing the same again this summer and now I'm excited for that breathing room. Other people may have their shit figured out and I don't, but that's okay because I've been there before and my dreams still came true. Going home isn't always a sign of moving backwards, and it might show to you who you've become, which could help on the whole "next step" front.

I wish you the very best as you enter this new phase of your life. It's scary as hell but I'm sure you'll turn round in five years and wonder what all the fuss was about. You can't predict your future, but you can live it.