This is probably the only ‘things to do before you graduate’ list you should bother reading

Yeah, we wrote it so we would say that — but to be honest we’re sick of being told that the most important things for you to do before graduation are ‘have a karaoke night’ and ‘read a book’ and ‘swim in a fountain.’

By all means, do those things. Or, a million times better, make your own list — which you haven’t got written down, but have instead actually experienced.

There are some pretty important things that you actually should do before you’re unleashed on the outside world, for everyone else’s sake as well as your own.

It’s tough out there in the post-graduation hinterland, but the only thing you can do is help yourself.

Here are 25 suggestions on how to do just that.

1. Plan a post-uni trip. India, Iceland or the Isle of Wight — you’re going to need to relax, and in all likelihood you’ll have little to do that’s more pressing than taking a month/few days of reflection time.

2. Get rid of your stupid Hotmail address that you’ve had since you were 15 (prettybabes101x@hotmail.com is not a person who is going to get employed any time soon) and make a new one, using as little wording as possible that isn’t your actual name.

3. Stop whining about there being no jobs and start making yourself employable.

4. Do some revision. Because, let’s be brutally honest, you don’t want to be that person who has to tell everyone you got a 2.2.

5. …and then go on a spontaneous weekend-long adventure when you need a break from it all. Train to Edinburgh on a whim? There’s not very much stopping you, in all honesty.

6. Get interested in something. Fly-fishing, parkour, crochet, cross-stitch, Israeli politics, the history of anti-Semitism. Anything.

7. Watch as many classic films as you can, whilst you still have time.

8. Apply for some sensible jobs.

9. …but also think about things you could do abroad — au pair, bar person, beach volleyball co-ordinator? Get out there. It’s the best chance for an adventure that you’ll have in the next couple of years.

10. Take a language class — you can get them at a good discount as a student, but as soon as you graduate learning Spanish/Mandarin/Arabic will start costing you hundreds of pounds. And we all know how much having even basic language skills under your belt can help you.

11. Try to save a bit of cash. Fiver a week? Come on, it’s literally not that hard.

12. For the love of god get off Facebook. And stop using ‘procrastination’ as a justification for your inability to drag yourself away from today’s favourite cat video. In the real world, it isn’t an excuse.

13. Realise that whilst you’re at uni, actually, you’re not that busy. In seven months when you have a nine hour day, a half hour lunch and an hour’s commute either side — then you’ll be busy. Use your remaining time wisely.

14. Do an internship in your chosen career field. In fact, scrap that — do several. Sacrifice your Easter holiday for internships. You gotta.

15. Stop being cynical about stupid theme nights and get dressed up as a Pink Lady/Moulin Rouge dancer/football hooligan — it’s silly and wonderful, and there aren’t many other opportunities in life where you’re going to be able to get away with it.

16. Stop being afraid of the struggle that you’re constantly being told is coming, and start brainstorming ways you can beat it. We know you’ve developed your problem solving skills over three/four years, so utilise them.

17. Realise that having a degree will benefit you hugely — but maybe not so much in the 18 months after graduation. Getting a sustainable professional career is, in general, a long game.

18. Make a list of all the contacts you have in professional jobs (think friends of parents, distant uncles, lecturers you get on well with) and talk to them about opportunities — be speculative and polite, rather than aggressive.

19. Accept the fact that it’s unlikely you’ll throw off your graduation gown and walk straight off the podium and into your dream job — it’s going to take time. Work hard, be patient, persevere.

20. Spend hours actively bothering your university’s careers department. Helping you is their sole purpose. They have no other.

21. Stop worrying about what you might have done last night during that five hour gap you were too hammered to remember. You probably did some fairly stupid things, but then probably so did everyone else. Cringing won’t change one single thing. And for those that can remember — hilarious.

22. Go to a random lecture/take a random module. It might change your entire outlook on your degree. Hello, modernist architecture!

23. Stop worrying about whether you’ve done enough stuff (because you’ve never done enough stuff)… and spend the time saved actually doing things.

24. If you have an inspired business idea, make it happen whilst you can — you have business societies and probably grants available to make that idea you had in the pub an actual reality. Once you graduate, these support networks will vanish.

25. Realise that your degree is awesome, that being able to spend years doing nothing but soaking up knowledge is a massive privilege, and that you’ll miss it when it’s over.

Originally published at https://www.thenationalstudent.com.

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