That time of year has come around again when our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are full of happy students, graduating in their gleaming gowns and mortar board.
The past three or four years have been building up to this day. Every submission deadline handed in one minute before the cut-off, all those hours spent working (or sleeping) in the library now come to be recognised and celebrated. A happy occasion indeed.
But what now? What next for these students who are used to being in the safe bubble of the student-loan, care-free university world? This is a question that, no doubt, these smiling graduates have been asked a dozen times. The response? More than likely something along the lines of, "I'm not sure yet."
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There seems to be this huge amount of pressure put on newly graduates to go into the big bad world the day after graduation. Throughout university, you are bombarded with emails advertising work experience here, an internship there, articles titled "five steps to land your dream job".
Now, not to belittle this type of work or the work of career departments. They help and give great advice and support to prepare for post-student life. They are, of course, correct to suggest work experience and internships whilst studying. There is no denying they do give you a slight 'leg-up' when it comes to writing up the CV.
However, what these services fail to offer is reassurance. Nobody tells you it is ok if you don't know what you want to do in life. That it isn't the end of the world if you haven't got work experience placements lined up one after another. That you are by no means a failure if you need to move home for a while post-graduation.
Those who ask questions don't mean to scare you. Only a few generations back was it obvious that if you went to university, you knew where you would end up in the job world, whether that was to become a teacher, a doctor, nurse or accountant.
Nowadays, the variety and diversity of degree courses and opportunities that are available to students and new graduates is vast. It is unsurprising many finish their degree unclear with which path to take. But this is ok.
The next time someone asks you that question "So...what next?" Instead of turning a bright red and muttering, "I don't know", say it loud and proud. Be proud of your degree and all that you have achieved. Be excited for the future as no one knows what it will bring.