My Graduation Fears and Lessons Learnt

I’ve always been the person who likes planning things and since I was a kid I’ve been one to dream big. This has led to me believe that if I did everything that I could, I’d land a full-time job upon graduating.

As I move closer to my graduation date, having completed four internships and received countless rejections from potential job opportunities, my hope of landing a full-time gig post-graduation feels slimmer and slimmer.

After all the tears and days feeling off, I was told that I need to be more open-minded when looking for jobs, “cause you never know what opportunity might lead to your dream gig.”

For me this means taking on a role that isn’t my ideal role, making the most out of my current internship, finding more opportunities to network and being more assertive about what I want.

Reflecting on this has been a bit of a hard truth to swallow, but something I needed to hear.

The fear of the unknown is scary. With no more study plans for after I graduate, leaving the comfort of my 16 years of study behind and stepping into the ‘real world’ is daunting.

All of this has made me look inwards and reflect on what I’ve done, learnt and how I can make the most of my last few months as a student.

In saying that here are some lessons I’ve learnt along the way:

1 // Never stop learning.
Beyond your degree, there is the whole bank of knowledge waiting to be absorbed. Don’t stop at your degree, seek out opportunities to learn new skills and ways to implement your knowledge.

2 // Have confidence in your skills.
This is something I wish I had a lot earlier in my degree. I was always afraid that “I wasn’t good enough”, or “there was someone else more worthy.” Because of this I missed out on potential scholarships, competitions and this even prevented me from asking for opportunities – like a job from an internship. Remember you are worthy and if you are feeling uncertain, the worse that can happen is they say no or you don’t get the opportunity.

3 // Step outside your comfort zone every once in a while.
I don’t particularly enjoy doing this but I can tell you that every time I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone, I’ve learnt more about myself than I do when sticking in my comfort bubble. If I could go back in a time machine, I would challenge myself and go on an exchange program for a semester.

4 // Be proactive.
Look for opportunities! Don’t wait till they come to you. Say yes when you can and take on opportunities to show off your skills and knowledge.

5 // Go above and beyond.
No matter what you do, you should work hard at it and give it your all. This is something that my family harps on and on about, and as much as I despise it, they are right. When your work hard, the hard work will pay off.

6 // Ask for advice and listen.
Whenever you are unsure of your performance or get the chance to get to be in the same room as someone a little wiser, take a chance to get some advice and listen. My Mum never went to university or worked a skilled job, but one tip she gave me in every single job and internship I worked, was to build good relationships with the people around me. This has been something that has stuck with me and has proven to be a valuable life tip!

7 // Don’t take rejection personally.
A lot of the times when you get rejected, it’s just because someone else has that one extra thing that sets them apart. Chin up and keep going! You are awesome and there will be another awesome opportunity out there waiting for you.

8 // Be humble.
It can be exciting when you get your first internship or job, but not everyone has an easy process getting to where you are now. Don’t let success get to your head, help others along the way and you never know when they might just return the favour.

These tips are just a handful of things that I’ve learnt throughout my time at university. I hope these tips will help those of you who are also feeling a little low and lost, and need that extra confidence boost in your career journey.

I love this quote: “you can’t change others, only yourself so change yourself for the better.”

This article was written by Rebecca, one of the genYOU content creation team members.