Career woes, graduate blues and figuring out life – A guide to the ‘RealiTey’ of adulthood

Cap and gown at the ready, tassel carefully placed on the side and obligatory fake scroll in hand, you beam a smile of achievement at the camera –  it’s a moment you won’t forget. You have now graduated from the world of academia, congratulations! Summer is here and you’re probably enjoying the first break you have had in about 17 years (as you rightfully deserve) but now it’s time to face the world of adulthood.

Entering adulthood can be a daunting process – it’s a time filled with much excitement and anticipation, yet it can be a stressful and confusing time for a lot of young people. With the undisclosed reality of post graduation depression hidden behind everyone’s glowing highlight reel on social media, the reality of the emotions of leaving university are left to lay bare of online forums such as The Student Room and YouTube where people are posting their honest accounts of the graduate blues.

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One of those people is beauty and lifestyle vlogger Teniola ‘Tey’ Mena who has made a yearly series on her YouTube channel, LoveFromTey titled #ADoseOfRealiTey: Life After Uni. Since 2015, she’s documented her experiences out of university and trying to start a career in media after spending a lengthy time working in retail at NYX Cosmetics in London. Her video confessionals have amassed over 30,000 views on YouTube.

She graduated Magazine Publishing at Middlesex University in 2014 with the hopes of becoming a journalist. “Growing up, writing was my whole life. I enjoyed media in college where we got to edit videos and design magazine covers.  This led me to know media was my field. When I got into uni, I realised that everything I was learning I had already learnt in college so it made me feel maybe it wasn’t for me. As time went on, publications like WordUp and BlackUp that I enjoying reading growing up I had grown out of and weren’t the type of publications I wanted to write for anymore.”

Honestly I was so lost and I didn’t know where I was going to go. It’s hard when you like things but you’re not sure if that’s what you’re supposed to do as your job and that’s what you’re going to be doing forever.

“I still liked all those media related things but I wasn’t sure where I was going to head after university. I ended up working in retail 4 days a week. Honestly I was so lost and I didn’t know where I was going to go. It’s hard when you like things but you’re not sure if that’s what you’re supposed to do as your job and that’s what you’re going to be doing forever. Now I work in marketing and communications for an NHS organisation. [For where I want to go in my career,] I’m still in that place where I like so many things but I don’t want to limit myself. I’m sticking to what I enjoy and seeing where it leads me.”

Reflecting of the biggest untold truth she wished someone told her at university, she said “The importance of networking and talking to people. What I realised was that was that at university I stayed with the people that I knew and I didn’t go out of my way to connect with different people who could’ve helped me out.”

A common misconception that a lot of graduates believe is the myth that once you graduate you will find your dream job and then you’ll be settled. Tey says “Sometimes you finally get a job and start and it’s great. A month into it, you kind of realise it’s not as great as you thought it would be. Then you’re hopping and changing which isn’t a bad thing but you don’t want to get into the case where you apply for everything and anything because you need the money. One, it doesn’t look great on your CV to potential employers if you’re only at a place for a month and two, it’s just a waste of time.” she advises graduates to “take a step back and speak to God about  where you’re next step is and see where you are led to.”

You’ll find that a lot of the roles out there aren’t looking at grades but they’re looking at your skillset that apply to the role. The job I have now I gained from what I used to do in my spare time.

On what she would recommend to this year’s graduating class when applying for jobs, she says “You’ll find that a lot of the roles out there aren’t looking at grades but they’re looking at your skillset that apply to the role. The job I have now I gained from what I used to do in my spare time. Years ago, I used to create daily motivational newsletters and the job I have now needed someone who had experience using MailChimp and certain softwares to create internal and external newsletters. The fact I was making newsletters on my own accord made me stand out from the crowd and helped me get the job.”

On a final note of advice, she says “You need to make sure the place where you’re working, spending the majority of your life that you’re enjoying it because they can replace you at the drop of a dime.”

So, to the Class of 2018 (or anyone still feeling rather stuck post graduation), prioritise your happiness, make wise, strategic decisions about your introduction into the working world and raise a glass to making the rest of your life the best of your life.

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