1 year on: What I’ve been up to since graduation.

Graduation day

It’s been just over a year since I finished my degree and graduated from Lincoln university (I can’t quite believe where the time has gone)! The past year has absolutely flown by; it’s been both a tough and incredibly exciting year for me. I wanted to write this post mostly as a personal reflection so that I can really see what I achieved over the past year, but also if anyone is curious as to what I’ve been up to, then read on!

Rewinding back to September 2018 – I had just graduated and I decided to take up a ‘temporary’ job at Costa Coffee back in my home town in South Yorkshire. My plan was to save up enough money over the next nine months or so ready for summer 2019, when I would be embarking on a month’s solo trip to Cornwall (something which had been at the top of my bucket list literally for years).

However, I did have a bit of a hard time adjusting to work life and the ‘real’ world. I feel sure many graduates can relate, after spending your whole life in the academic world and for this to suddenly change, you begin to feel extremely lost. I particularly disliked the fact that all ‘structure’ to my life had ceased. Some people may find this hard to believe, but I actually enjoyed going to lectures, seminars, volunteering at a local bookshop, going to my student newspaper meetings and (to some extent) even researching/ writing my essays – I felt like I had a purpose, I knew what I was doing and exactly what was expected of me. To suddenly loose all of that and begin working shifts at Costa, where I couldn’t even eat my lunch at the same time everyday, was difficult to say the least. As well as these feelings, I also felt extremely frustrated at the fact that I’d just worked SO hard over the past three years to finally earn my degree to then be serving coffee – a job that couldn’t be any further away from my ideal career path.

On top of feeling lost and frustrated though, I also had a tough time battling through my own anxieties that my job at Costa brought to the surface. I don’t really want to go into the details here, but I will say that I had several counselling sessions and then further down the line ended up on medication. That wasn’t the easiest decision in itself, but I accepted how I was feeling and remembered it is okay not to be okay. Looking back, that was one of the best decisions I made because I’m in a much healthier place now.

Even though it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride this year and I have struggled with adjusting to post- grad life, I have also achieved so much! Although my job at Costa isn’t ideally where I’d like to be career wise, it has helped me grow in confidence unbelievable amounts, I’ve met some great people and not forgetting the money I’ve earned (after being a poor student for so long, it’s such a relief not having to worry about my finances anymore)! Most importantly though, my job at Costa has allowed me some time to continue to build on my writing career, which has truly been my only release from work life. I’ve developed my blogs further, I’ve become involved with Metabolic Support UK (I’m heading to their conference in Birmingham next month to work as their reporter) and I have become a columnist for NSPKU’s magazine News & Views.

Finally, one of my greatest achievements since graduation, has to be my month solo trip to Cornwall. If you’re yet to read about my adventure you can do so here. I dreamed about taking that trip for so long and I’m just so proud that I made it happen. I also managed to tick London off my bucket list earlier this year in April. Plus I’ve got some exciting trips planned in the upcoming future, including Paris in February 2020 (watch this space for a post)! All of this, of course, wouldn’t have been made possible without my job at Costa, so it’s not been all that bad.

Overall, it’s been a great year. I’ve overcome personal barriers and achieved some goals that I set. I might not have achieved everything that I had planned out for myself, but I’ll keep powering through. I can’t wait to see what the next part of my life holds.