Whether you’re still at university or have recently graduated, sometimes it can feel like others your age are racing ahead, pocketing success everywhere they go. That may be a shiny graduate scheme they got accepted onto, embarking on a year of uninterrupted travelling, moving into a nice new flat, or generally having no dramas and tackling adult life with ease. When it seems like your peers are ticking off life stage goals before you are, it’s not surprising we can end up comparing ourselves to others.
At best, it can get distracting if you’re too busy thinking about what your peers are achieving. At worst, it can be detrimental to you and your own determination to succeed. We’ve put together some advice to follow when you’re standing a little uncertainly on the cusp of post-university adulthood…
Remember your own achievements
Your achievements say a lot about you as a person – but seeing them as a tick-box exercise takes away the efforts you put into reaching these goals. The experiences you’ve had and the grades you secured reflect your own successes and hardships in a unique way, so try your best not to compare your past achievements - or your future ones - with your peers. You’re all working towards different things, so you can’t directly compare anyway.
Set your own goals
Setting goals can be intimidating if you’re not sure what you want out of post-university life. But you don’t have to establish a five-year plan, or even a one-year plan right now. Your twenties are the best time to try multiple things, to question, and ultimately put yourself first!
Ignore whatever it is your friends are doing – you can celebrate their success, but focusing on yourself is your priority. Ask yourself, what is it you want? What do you enjoy? Don’t agonise over long-term timelines; keep it short-term and begin planning the practical ways you can start working towards the bigger picture.
It’s no use living in dreamland; you must take action and put yourself out there. This doesn’t mean you have to do everything by the book – take a chance and see where it takes you. It’s also important to keep yourself busy. Your mind and body should be active, otherwise you’ll use all your time to think about what everyone else is doing and you won’t be productive.
Seek advice from others – maybe a parent, older sibling, or friend. It always helps to get some outside perspective; they may offer alternative ways for you to reach your goals that you haven’t considered before.
Take a break
It’s equally important that you stay rested to keep your stress levels down. When you need a break, let yourself have one to keep pressure at bay. When it comes to job hunting in particular, some people land themselves a role straight out of university; for others, it can take months. It depends entirely on the sector, the competition, your work experience and company fit, amongst lots of other factors.
Finally - stay positive
Remember everyone is on their own timeline – there’s not one right way to be happy and successful in a career, or in life generally. So be patient, determined and focused and enjoy post-university life whether you have a plan or not!
- By Ellie Green