After spending eternity counting down until that final assignment submission, to feel the weight off your shoulders, finally, you’re free. Thoughts of what to do after university begin to surface as you look to conquer ‘the real world’.

But I’m sorry to break it to you; the weight of the real world is just as heavy.

You’ll have barely returned your cap and gown and you’ll already be facing a barrage of questions from friends and family about your future. “What now then?”, “Time to get a real job then is it?”, “Out into the big wide world are we?”. You return all with a polite chuckle, mainly because that’s the easiest way to say “not a bloody clue mate”.

It can be tough.

By the way, everyone who graduates is, and forever will be, in the same boat.

You might get a small percentage of people who know exactly what they want to do and land it immediately, but on the whole, that’s not how life works. This time when you finish university is a bit of “buffer” time. Your entire life will not depend on one wrong (or right) turn here. Enjoy your freedom and allow yourself the time to think of which direction you’d like to set off.

If you’re still thinking “yes, but where?”, then we’ve compiled six of several routes that you could go down if you’re asking what to do after university.

 

Travel/Tour

Two friends travelling and taking a picture at the grand canyon.
Photo by Westwind Air Service on Unsplash

“Off on a gap year to find yourself are you?”

Ignore your daft uncle who hasn’t left his hometown in the last 45 years since a trip to Cornwall in the 70s. You’ve worked hard (ish) and if you want that downtime to see new places for a bit, then you’ve earned that right.

Travel is a huge source of self-development, so you’ll come back recharged, revived and reinvigorated, ready for your next challenge.

 

Work and travel

A beach in Sydney, Australia.
Photo by Adrian Rem on Unsplash

Whether you have a chosen industry or not, working abroad is a huge addition to not only your CV but your life.

Push the boundaries, try something new, and create memories that’ll last for a lifetime. All whilst earning a solid wage across the course of a year.

The deeper immersion into a local culture is something that’ll stay with you for life.

 

Get a graduate job

A university graduate throwing her cap into the air.
Photo by Jonathan Daniels on Unsplash

If you know what direction you want to follow, then, by all means, secure a graduate job if you can.

These competitive application processes give you a valuable leg up in the industry, in a business that has “been there done it”. A solid structure and training mean you’ll be sure you’re heading in the right direction.

Many will believe this is the answer to what to do after university, but be sure to take your time before you commit.

 

Go self-employed

A university student who has gone self employed looking at his taxes.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

If you fancy yourself as the next Elon Musk, entrepreneurship could be the answer to what to do after university.

Now is the time to see if your business concept has legs, and this buffer time after university is perfect for it.

You’ll be taking a dive into the unknown, but if you can make it work, the freedom is undeniable.

 

Postgraduate study

A group of friends with their laptops studying.
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

If you love your local library and can’t bear to leave it, or, more likely, you simply love what you do, then furthering your learning is another option.

Backing up your undergraduate with a postgraduate masters takes your education a step further, allowing you a bit of extra power in any future job applications.

 

Whatever you bloody want to

A man jumping on top of a mountain.
Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash

The flow of your life is defined by no-one aside from yourself.

You may have spent three years at university to learn you don’t like the topic you studied. You may have found a hobby that you’d love to pursue. Or, you want to take a bit of pressure off, try something new and work in a bar on the other side of the world. Whatever you decide to do, it’s the correct decision.

Don’t allow society expectations to cloud your path, whatever way it may take you.

 

It can seem like a scary time, where you’re questioning yourself nearly as much as what friends and family are questioning you about what to do after university.

But relax, take your time and discover a route naturally. If you’re asking what to do after university, then the answer is you’ve got the time to be your own person. The restrictive shackles of educational routine are loose and it’s your decision whether you put the shackles of expectations on.

There’s no need to, so embrace your freedom by doing exactly what you want to do.

 

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