How to Adjust to Working Life After University

Career Advice
04 February 2020 | Career Advice | Guest Author

You’ve spent the last four years (maybe longer) of your life working hard to obtain your degree. But that’s all over now, you’re a graduate, and it’s time to start ‘adulting’. But, how do you adjust to working life after university? What are the key differences, and how does that affect your life?

I’m Ashley Lennon, a lifestyle blogger over at hiyaitsashley and I’ve been a graduate not once, but twice, and I’m here to share some of what I’ve learned adjusting to full time working life after graduating.

Get into A Routine Early

University schedules can be erratic. This means an erratic sleeping pattern and schedule - and this is going to kill you when you start working full-time. Workplaces won’t close at random, and they won’t have sporadic working hours.

Once you leave university you will be thrown into a strict routine whether you like it or not, so one of the best pieces of advice I can offer you here is to get yourself into a routine that works for you and stick to it.

Go to bed and wake at the same time, start (and finish) work at the same time. Perhaps even set routines in your working day, like taking breakfast and lunch at the same time each day.

This helps immensely with energy and motivation and makes the transition into work a little easier to manage.

Learn to (Really) Manage Your Money

If you thought managing a student loan is difficult, then just wait until it’s your wages. Working (of course) brings you in more money a month than student loans, but, and I cannot stress this enough: take the time to learn real money management.

More money means more responsibility, and it’s really important that you manage your money properly when you’re working. You’ll need to feed yourself for 8 hours a day, five days a week. There will be travel costs, bills, work events etc. that you need to pay, and you can’t afford squander it like a student loan.

One thing that worked great for me was working out my budget, i.e., what bills I owed and when against when I was paid and how much.

Simple things can really help. For me, it was little changes like changing all of my bills due dates to a day or two after payday, so they were always covered, using the ‘save the change’ feature on my banking app, buying travel tickets in advance and taking breakfast/lunch to work instead of eating out.

Embrace Challenges and Be Open to Learning

Work-life is faster-paced and more stressful than university. Things happen quicker, and you have you be prepared to learn as you go and be able to deliver on that knowledge.

In my personal experience, I feel like I’ve learned more at my job than I did during both of my degrees. If you think the pace of learning is fast at university, or that it stops once you leave – you’re wrong.

In a workplace, you will be constantly learning and not only that; you’ll be expected to deliver on that knowledge in real-time, there are no essays or exams. You need to be prepared to work hard, learn fast and ask for help when you need it.

Work-life is challenging but in the best possible way. The challenges that you face in a career that you’re truly passionate about it can be some of the most eye-opening experiences and can do great things for you – you just need to be open to them.

Make Time for Your Colleagues

I know that people say you will meet your best friends in university, people who will be there for you no matter what – and that is 100% true. I made some of my best friends at university.

But your colleagues can, and likely will be, just as important in your life. Pop culture in general makes it seems like workplaces are dire and boring, and your colleagues are just people you pass this time of day with, but this is definitely not the case.

It wasn’t the case for me, and I know that isn’t the case for most people. You spend the majority of your time with your colleagues when you stop working, and if you are open to them, they can become some of the best friends you’ll have.

Personally, I’ve had some of the most fun I’ve ever had at work, and that’s down to my colleagues on a day to day basis.


These are just some of the ways that I’ve come to adjust to working life after university. I’m not going to lie to you; it is quite a big culture shock – especially if you’ve never worked before or are very fresh out of university. But if you work hard and nurture your work-life, it can be one of the most rewarding time of your life.


About the Author

Ashley Lennon runs the lifestyle blog hiyaitsashley and has recently graduated from MSc Marketing from Glasgow Caledonian and now works full time in Marketing.

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