I’ve noticed a definite shift in people’s attitudes since I graduated from university.
Things are all exciting when you’re getting results and going to your ceremony, but once the cap and gown have been returned and the photos have been shared it’s back to reality, and it can be grim.
No, actually — scrap that. Other people sticking their noses in can be grim.
Some people are interested and supportive and sweet, and I love them for it. Others have strong opinions about what’s best for you, no matter how little they know you, and they aren’t afraid to share them. Those people can do one.
Well-meaning advice and suggestions are welcome; judgement is not.
A lot of the judgement seems to stem from the fact that my first role in the workplace post-uni is an internship, not a job. The concept of an internship baffles a lot of people, particularly those of an older generation, but I felt like it was the right thing for me.
Post-uni, I decided I wanted experience at a digital marketing agency so I could work on a variety of different projects. I wanted to work as some kind of content writer. I wanted to work in London. My internship gives me the opportunity to do all of those things and I’m learning a lot, without the commitment of a permanent role, which makes it less daunting. I’m discovering what I want and what I don’t want from my career.
In short: It’s valuable experience that I’m very grateful to be getting.
For some people, this is not enough. They think I should already have a substantial salary, a job role they’ve heard of, and that I should have moved out of my parents’ house (like I wouldn’t have if I could!). But these things aren’t easy to get, especially when you’re only just starting out. And the roots we choose to go down in life aren’t as set in stone as they used to be.
I have so many options and I need to think about what’s right for me.
Of course, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks — if they disapprove of the decisions I make then that’s their problem, not mine. You can never please everyone and I try to remember that when things start to get to me. But I really needed to vent about this, and maybe there are other graduates out there experiencing the same thing?
In an ideal world I’d cheerily be able to tell anyone who looks down their nose to fuck off and mind their own business, but I can’t (and won’t) because I’d rather be polite than confrontational. So how would you/did you deal with this type of situation? And can you relate to it? Let me know in the comments!
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about cruelty-free beauty, vegan & veggie food, and trying to lead a less wasteful life. I throw the odd think piece in there, too.