Growing up, the idea of stepping into adulthood had always felt like uncharted realms. Something that I always knew was impending but had comfortably tucked away at the back of my mind. But recently, I’ve noticed an increasing number of friends seeking me out for potential career advice. Such queries never fail to spark a whole lot of cognitive dissonance. Me?! How would I know?! And then it hit me — I left my official teenage years behind the moment I graduated a year ago and took on a full-time job.
Graduating and stepping into the working world is typically used as a fundamental indication that one has begun one’s first few steps into adulthood. And because graduation season is officially here, I decided to speak to six fresh university graduates, each individual pursuing careers in fields as diverse as engineering, teaching and marketing over Zoom to find out how exactly they are feeling about their new-found adulthood.
An Exciting But Scary Kind Of Freedom
Jamie, 23, Psychology Graduate at NUS
Jamie saw her graduation as ‘the start of the rest of her [my] life’. She went on to elaborate that being in the education system for a considerable amount of time constantly provided her with a fixed structure. Like most of us, from one education milestone to the next, there had always been a specific next phase carved out for her. But being at this final stage of her education life, this comfortable structure that she had been habitually following had been replaced with a new sense of freedom. Something she described as ‘exciting but also scary’. With a new job as an educator for children with special needs, Jamie is excited for what lies ahead.
Grown-Up Goal: Landing A Top Graduate Job
Grown-Up Reality: Still Figuring Out Your Passion
Post-university life isn’t always a bed of roses. Yes, you can finally stop staying up late to cram for that final paper or constantly worry about how you are going to do for your next examination. However, watching your friends move on to greener pastures while still being in the midst of figuring out your passion in life after graduation can get demoralising at times. But I’ve also realised that this is a level of pressure that we shouldn’t have to feel. It’s ok to take time out because you don’t quite feel ready yet.
Amari, 20, Marketing Graduate at NTU
For Amari, adulthood came a little sooner for her. Having graduated at the age of 20, she has had less time than her peers to truly consider what she wants to do in the future. Instead of diving head-first into a full-time job, Amari has decided to take on an internship related to advisory and consultancy. Despite not being exactly sure on how to navigate adulthood just yet, Amari has decided to go with the flow and take things one step at a time.
Amelia, 23, Marketing Graduate at NTU
Amelia recalled her initial journey of getting into the school of her dreams and eventually making a wonderful group of friends that tided her through the 3 years of education. But even though she has graduated, Amelia also doesn’t see the need to rush into a full-time job just yet.
“I really want to land myself in a job that I see purpose, growth and fulfilment in. Having a purpose in life is very important to me right now.”
The Marketing graduate has been spending her time at home reading, exercising and taking up online courses on Effective Communications and Business Writing. Amelia wants to take up a job related to Marketing but also recognises that Marketing in itself is very broad. As a result, she is still exploring what she really wants to do.
Natasha, 25, Communications and Public Relations Graduate at Murdoch University
While many graduates are stepping into the workforce, Natasha has been spending her time volunteering with Youth Corps Singapore, where she holds activities and games with children online. When I asked about what sparked her decision to volunteer by herself, Natasha told me this:
‘If you are constantly waiting for someone to do it with you, you’ll never get it done.’
With that, she plucked up her courage and decided to volunteer on her own and has no regrets. Apart from that, Natasha has been taking up extra online courses such as learning the fundamentals of Python and is intending to look for an internship before working full-time.
Are You Worried For The Future?
I posed this question to all 6 girls and to no surprise, I was faced with a resounding ‘yes’. We expect post-university life to be the true start of our lives. But all of a sudden, we become adults. We start to come face to face with countless changes that our degree probably didn’t prepare us for.
Desiree, 23, Child Psychology Graduate at SUSS
Desiree is on the right
For Desiree, she wants to become a pre-school teacher but is worried about her future. “Finding a pre-school whose values and culture resonate with me is something that I hold a lot of importance to.” Because of that, Desiree is still taking time to read up and talk to friends in her industry before fully committing to a full-time job.
Yuqi, 23, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Graduate at NTU
Yuqi is the second girl from the right
Even for the graduates who have are already employed, the worries do not stop there. Yuqi had actually accepted her full-time job at a tech company when the offer came up to her in February. However, as we live in a period of such socio-economic turmoil, Yuqi told us that despite confirming the job, she doesn’t want to feel ‘too happy or complacent’, in the event her offer gets retracted.
Jamie, 23, Psychology Graduate at NUS
As Jamie begins her first ever job as an educator for children with special needs, she also recognised that as passionate as she is about children with special needs, she has not had enough experience to be certain that this industry is going to be suited for her. She expressed her worries about the possibility of realising that this isn’t her calling. “If so, what next?” she asked herself.
Ultimately, You’re Doing Just Fine
Employed or not, you’re just doing fine. It’s ok to realise that maybe you want a career that has nothing to do with your degree or t0 have doubts about your current first job. Because we all don’t share the same goals, priorities and backgrounds, it’s perfectly fine to lead a different life path from your peers and navigate through adulthood differently.
Above all, I’ve come to realise (I’m sure you will too) that adulthood is in many ways, an oddly liberating experience — and no two are the same. So to all fresh graduates out there: you made it, congratulations!
New chapter, new ride — it’s all yours, so enjoy it.
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