What to do after university

So you’ve graduated… now what? Yes, you understand the general gist is to ‘become a responsible adult’, but how are you supposed to achieve that in a broken modern world where you’re expected to move back into your parents’ and work for free? We talk you through your options after uni.

scared graduates

"What are you doing now?" "No idea. You?"

Where do you live after university?

You’ve spent three years basking in glorious freedom – building a Jenga pile of rubbish on top of the bin rather than taking it out, crashing home at 2am to wake up your housemates so they can sing Baywatch with you, and bringing back randoms from the pub. And now… does all this truly have to end?

What are my options?

  • Move back in with your parents. Enjoy the cheap/no rent, but mourn the freedom and possibly destroy all family relationships forever. Our advice article on living with your parents has some useful survival tips.
  • Try and find somewhere to rent. But in the middle of this pesky housing crisis it’s a landlord’s world, and they can be right buggers. Check out our before you rent checklist, and make sure you know your rights as a tenant before you sign a contract.

What sort of job can I get after graduating?

Unless you have some kind of magic beans you can plant, most grads have to really slog, slog and slog some more to get a career – any career. There are graduate training schemes out there, but you tend to need a Double first-class honours degree, from both Oxford and Cambridge, a year’s stint volunteering on the moon, and a vial of unicorn blood in order to get onto one.

What are my options?

  • Do an internship. If you’re keen to get into a super-competitive industry, paying your dues with an internship or work experience is an unfortunate necessity. Unpaid internships are actually illegal, so read our article here to find out your rights.
  • Work your way up. Start with a first-rung-on-the-ladder job – you’ll feel like it’s beneath you, but it’s worth it to get into a company/industry you love.
  • Get a shit job, worry later. You know what? Loads of graduates do it. If you know it’s only temporary, and you’re using your free time to get to where you want to be, it’s fine. However, there’s always the danger you’ll still be there in 10 years’ time, as manager, crying in the bogs every day, wondering how you got here.
  • Start your own business. Why not just create your own job, where you’re immediately called Boss? Not for the timid, and the odds of your business surviving definitely aren’t in your favour – but if you really believe in your idea, it’s worth a shot. See our advice on starting your own business here.

Can’t I just delay reality, please?

We don’t blame you for wanting to avoid the adult world a bit longer – there’s council tax. And damp on the wall of your overpriced flat. And boring meetings. And not getting home in time for Pointless. Why not just run away?

What are my options?

  • A Masters degree. A lovely, smart, shiny Masters degree, so you can carry on your student existence, and put cool initials after your name. Hell, you’re only just getting started. How long do PHDs take? You can delay reality for years. Our article on Masters can help you weigh up if you’re doing one for the right reasons.
  • Take a gap year. Jump on a plane and put serious air miles between you and the real world. Go hug an orphan and cry, and wear baggy pants, and try mad drugs and get a tattoo of Ganesha across your stomach. We’ve got answers to all your questions so you can have the trip of a lifetime.
  • Dig a hole in the garden and hide in it forever. If this appeals – despite the fact you’ll get trench foot and have no life – it means you’re probably still feeling a bit lost about what to do next. Find relief here.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.




Updated on 29-Sep-2015

Photo by Abd Allah Fotelh