Every year 2.2 million students across the country sit their final exams, write their last essays and hand in their final pieces of work. In normal circumstances, you stay at university for a little bit, party like it’s your last and enjoy your accommodation because you’ve paid until the end of the month.

For those who moved away for uni there will be a lucky few who have scored jobs in their new city and will stay there, but for the majority the big move home looms over their head. And beyond the hassle of moving your whole world home, the deeper question of “omds what am I going to do with my life” often troubles many.

So when you finally pluck the courage to leave your bedroom, everyone asks what is the next step. If you have an African circle around you like me regardless of your response

your answer will be met with, “Don’t worry you’ll find something,” even if you say you have a job, it’s just standard procedure.

I’m someone who likes to have the answers in my hands. Failing that I like to know an answer is at least or around the corner. But this stage of life is so up in the air my mind feels like a hot air balloon with thoughts and worries fuelling my elevation off the ground of certainty that I once had.

So I decided to do what we all do in a time of confusion. Get advice someone who has been through it. I spoke to four graduates who have all had different ‘post-uni’ stories in the hope of gain some kind of peace.

The first person I spoke to was a 22 year old girl from Essex who graduted in 2015 and is currently working as a receptionist.

What did you when you graduated?

I came home from uni straight away when I finished my course. I literally went back up for my graduation and that was it

It felt so weird because I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing work like my dissertation and stuff and then I was like omg I don’t even need to be doing anything. Even watching TV made me feel guilty and then I realised there was no work to be done.

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How did you feel?

I felt very relieved at the end of it, it kinda came at the perfect time. I was happy to be back home to be honest, I wasn’t dreading being back home.

It wasn’t difficult for me to be honest. I know a lot of people struggled with being back home, the independence and not being able to do their own thing.

I literally had no trouble at all. I didn’t really feel like there was any difference going back home, if anything it was better because I know home and I know everyone at home, all my friends were at home.

The only thing I miss was like going out and stuff, mid-week just being spontaneous, I missed living with my friends as well. Everything else was perfect, I got cooked for again all my closed got cooked for me.

How did you find your first job?

I found it through an agency but finding a job for me is proving  really impossible so I’m still working on it. A job in what I want a career in I haven’t found yet.

What advice would you give to students who have just graduated?

Don’t feel to stressed don’t put too much pressure on yourself when you first go home.

You kindah come out thinking sh*t this is it right now I’m in the real world I need to get my sh*t together and find a job work out what I’m gonna do.

You have time there’s no rush unless you’re really already like on the path just take it as it comes and enjoy that time because you will never have free time like that again, literally ever in your life. Just enjoy it I know I did, probably still am to be honest.

The  second ex-student I spoke to is a 24 year old Radio and Television presenter who left university but never came home. Instead he moved to a new city and was left to fend for himself.

What did you do when you first left university?

In my first week, I began machine-gunning out emails to anyone and everyone who had a dot com associated with their name. I became the invader of inboxes and assassin of the ‘sent’. Of course, no one replied, but now I have the fastest fingers in London!

How did you feel, was it really difficult?

Very. It was a slow realisation that not living with the parents meant no safety net. Landlords don’t forget bills, whilst mum may perhaps be swayed by an ‘Omar’s Greatest Hits’ vinyl. It became a survival game – but one that I was willing to face if it meant becoming an adult.

How did you find your first job?

I found my first job by winning a vlogging competition with a music channel. I pursued it until it became a job, one where I’d get up at 5am and commute to London everyday and back!

What advice would you give to people who have moved home from uni?

Make like a box office hit about a black man in a racist village and get out! Why? Because sometimes you need to realise that comfort breeds complacency and the leap of faith is a terrifying one but an irreversible step in the direction of you becoming a standalone success.

Next I spoke to someone who graduated with a Biomedical Science Bsc from Portsmouth University back in 2012 and is currently studying Medicine in Bulgaria.

What was moving home like for you?

When I first moved home it was ok, I had missed my family from the stressful events of final year so it was nice to see them. But after a while it was very hard to adapt back to family life and family responsibilities and chores when I was used to being so independent and doing things the way I wanted.

My biggest task was trying to move my uni stuff into my childhood bedroom that I shared with my fifteen year old sister :/ Let’s just say that wasn’t easy.

How did you find your first job?

I had a few part time jobs at the time, so I was doing care work and tutoring and volunteering. My first full time graduate job, I found on Milkround. When I first applied I got an automatic rejection. I emailed the company on how I could have improved. They then said I could work as a tutor to get more experience.

I started tutoring for the company, my manager at the time fast tracked me to head office interview, but I didn’t get the job because I messed up one section. They said if I worked a bit more and got more experience that I could reapply. I reapplied in 6 months and was successful.

Moral of the story, if you find something that is for you, no matter the number of setbacks and you don’t give up you’ll get it.

What advice you’ll give to people who have recently moved home from uni?

If you don’t find a job straight away keep yourself busy. Volunteer, join a sports club, join a societal club, start a project NO matter how frustrating it may be to be at home remember your family LOVE YOU. Don’t give up. Work hard and play hard. Create a social life. Set clear goals with multiple back up plans.

My final interviewee graduated from a communications degree at Leeds university in 2015 and is currently working as a Marketing Assistant for an Educational start up company.

How did you find your first job?

Networking. I was applying for different roles at the time. I met someone and we were having a pretty casual chat about my interests and they offered to put me in contact with someone. They did and then I met them, had an interview and started working.

What advice would give to people who have recently moved home from uni?

Be patient and trust the process. Leaving university can be quite a daunting feeling because up until this point, life has been very structured. Attending school, then college and then uni. We’re used to following a routine but it’s not like that once you leave.

You have a lot of spare time and you may know what you want to do. My advice would be to ‘stay in your lane,’ don’t compare yourself to others, work on yourself, understand that it’s all a journey and success will take time and ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM – go travelling, do all the things you want to do. There is actually no rush.


If you would like to ask any of the graduates featured in this post feel free to get in touch and we can connect you! If you have a story to share that may help others send as a note!