Money is harder to manage when you have more of it. Now I earn a full time wage with consistent monthly payments, unlike a student loan which comes in batches of threes and you have to make that last. It is harder to manage. You know there will be more if it, and if you have a credit card you can just wait till the next payday. This sounds odd, but trust me, it can be a bit of a weird feeling having more, more often.
Going from the easy student life of two days of lectures and sitting in bed pretending to write essays, to a full-time job is a bit of a shocker. No one tells you how much changes and since everyone works, it’s just expected of us. But there are a few things that are worth remembering when you graduate and become a working member of society!
Credit cards can be a blessing and a curse. Make sure that if you want one (because you now have consistent payments) that you only spend, what you know you can pay back. NEVER get yourself in interest payments, this is where it is a curse as you have to owe more back. You also then become dependent on it. Credit cards are great for building a credit rating (which if you’re a student, you probably didn’t have before) but make sure you pay everything back every month and only spend within your means. Credit cards are also a fantastic way to earn cash back and discounts. American Express offer 5% cash back for the first three months then around 1.5/1% on the rest of your purchases, so put every purchase on it for the first three months, pay it back the same day if you would have used your debit card otherwise and you can soon add up the freebies! Sometimes 1p for every £1 isn’t much but it’s more than you’ll get on a debit card and there are often extra cashback deals on cards now too for stores that you’d shop in normally.
The first six months are a whirlwind on your emotions. I’ve been at my job for only a year but it’s gone so fast already. The first few months I was ill, had migraines, developed a vertigo illness and needed more time off that I realised. It can hit you, be brave and admit when you need time off. A good boss will put your mental wellbeing first and my boss was very kind in telling me to put myself first. Keep your health, and mental well-being first and keep on top of how you’re feeling! It’s definitely ok to feel like you need a big holiday and a years sleep at the beginning!
A job title isn’t everything. A lot of universities want you to aim high and tell you to go for those big jobs (in my case, The BBC, Sky, Newspapers) but do you know how hard it can be getting in those names, live in London and have a decent wage? I applaud anyone who has got to that point BUT you don’t have to live in London or work at the big names to get a good wage/job. I work in Northampton, earn more than the ‘average’ journo grad in London and am very happy with my job. I don’t feel at any disadvantage to my old student peers. So don’t feel like because universities don’t support jobs outside of your course path, that you’re doing wrong. I know that my university think me working as a marketing girl in a insurance based industry isn’t a alumni worthy of mentioning but I’d rather be happy in my job, do well and earn a nice amount than feel pressured to succeed where I have no money. My main advice would be to look where you least expect it! Locally or even if it is in a big city, look for the smaller and more niche names!
Time flies. Your time at your job, a days work, bank holidays and even the evenings when you get home from work, it all goes far too quickly! You’ll quickly realise how much you miss all those free periods you had at uni and realise that a 3 hour lecture that went on till 5pm (shocker) wasn’t actually that bad compared to a 7/8 hour day!
What would your main tips be to anyone that is about to graduate?