Careers Advice

Adjusting from education to work

Make sure you are prepared for the transition from university to full time employment.

You might be itching to get out into the big wide world of work after university, but for many, it can be a bit of a shock to the system.

After at least three years of university life (whichever course you did at university), working is a totally different lifestyle and it often takes a while to get into the swing of things.

Of course, you’ll be looking forward to earning some money and starting your career. But what do you need to be prepared for?

From University to a graduate job

Working 9-5

working 9 to 5Yes, you had to turn up for lectures and seminars. But most courses require less than 20 hours per week in terms of having to be somewhere, so getting into a 9-5 routine is a big change.

Expect less late nights, more early mornings, and a general overhaul of your day-to-day routines.

Even the most dedicated of party animals will struggle to balance wild weeknights out with regular employment!

Taking instructions from a boss

When you’re at uni, you’re pretty much your own boss. You might have deadlines, but you don’t have someone wanting to know what you’re doing all the time.

It can depend on which job you have but it will be most likely that you won’t be left to your own devices as much as you are at university (especially when you start your new job).

When you start working, expect to be much more accountable to someone else.

Forming new friendships groups

making new friendsDespite all those promises that you’ll call each other once a week, it’s inevitable that some of the friendships you made at university will wane once you’re living in different cities and have totally different lives.

You’ll meet new friends at work, and your social life is likely to change massively.

Obviously, it’s best to be yourself but be careful as the change between university socialising and socialising with your professional workmates (many who will be older than yourself) can be very different.

More free time

Don’t worry, working isn’t all doom and gloom! Expect to have a lot more time free on evenings and weekends. Without essays to do and lecture notes to read, there’ll be less feeling guilty about what you choose to do in your own time.

Obviously there will be jobs that require you to do work at home but the majority don’t. Some even allow for the opportunity to completely switch off at evenings and weekends as opposed to the constant pressure at university to always be on the ball.

Less holiday time off

It’s a harsh reality but you will no longer get summer off and lengthy holidays like you do get in between university terms (unless you have chosen to become a teacher).

If you work 5 days a week then the minimum days of paid holidays you are allowed are 28 which is just over 4 weeks.

More spare cash

earn lots of moneyEven if you’re starting on the most modest of wages, the likelihood is that you’ll be much better off financially than you were at university.

Enjoy having extra money in your pocket, but don’t forget that you’ll have a whole new set of expenses to think about. These include student loan repayments, getting to work, socialising with work mates and ensuring that you look the part.

More freedom to get on with your life

University is supposed to be one of the best times of your life, but there are probably certain things that have been frustrating you. Not being able to buy a car, throwing money down the drain on renting because you can’t get on the property ladder, and having to forgo foreign holidays are just a few of the things that might have been getting on your nerves.

Once you’re earning your own money and you’re away from uni, you’ll have so much more freedom to do all these things that you’ve been looking forward to.


There’s no denying that making the shift from education to work is a big one. It has it good points and its bad points, but it’s definitely an exciting time. Be prepared for the changes, and don’t forget that it’s just the start of a whole new chapter in your life.

How have you found the process of adjusting to the world of work? Do you miss your university days already, or are you loving your new way of life?

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