By Judi Luxmoore
I’ve completed my degree! Hooray! Now I just have to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life… No one can prepare you for what life is like after university. If you are anything like me, when you were younger you were in denial about life existing after you finished your degree. Being in education my whole life, I always knew what the next logical step would be – school, then A-levels, then taking a gap year, and finally going to university to study psychology. Now, however, I find myself desperately trying to design the next step of my future, unable to rely on society and people I know to tell me what I am meant to do next.
Ever since I can remember I have wanted to work in mental health, romanticising that the perfect job in this area would knock on my door and present itself to me. Little did I know life is not that easy. Psychology is a very complex field, with endless options and employers all demanding the most passionate, hard-working and determined individuals, with a lot more on their CV than just a degree. Becoming one of these top 1% of people seems an impossible task. Yet here I go, trying to be one of them, and making difficult decisions between staying in education, getting a job, getting some relevant work experience (unpaid of course, because the most important work for society ironically gives the least money), moving back home, or curling up into a ball and hoping that adulthood would leave me alone.
After exhausting the free advice from the careers and employability centre and my academic advisor, as well as having endless conversations with anybody who will listen, I have decided to do a post-graduate course that will qualify me for a mental health practitioner job. Whether this is the right decision or not, at least I made a decision, and I look forward to seeing whether it was the right one. Because you will never know whether the career path you decide on is the right one until you give it a go, the only thing you can do is take that leap and see what happens. After all, you will probably have to do many jobs before you find the perfect one.
But for now, remember to give yourself a pat on the back for completing your degree, take a breath and relax, because nobody expects you to conquer the world on day one!