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Irish Graduate - The Reality

Lorna Dollery, a recent Irish graduate shares her thoughts about post-college graduate experience in her blog (Best Blog Post of the Blog Awards Ireland 2013).

Recently, I received a message on LinkedIn from a staff member at my college enquiring about what I am working on currently. She wanted me to write to her about my current projects / jobs so that she could tell the final year students in order to try help motivate them for life after college. This got me thinking. In this situation, do you write something resembling a job application, gushing about all the wonderful work experience you’ve had since finishing college, or do you get real and be honest? Because, sometimes the harsh reality may not be the most motivating.

I like to think I’m a positive person. I don’t think I’ve ever truly been bored because for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been working on projects of my own. Life after college hasn’t been much different in that respect. I’ve not had a secure job in my field, but I’ve not had much time to twiddle my thumbs either. I’m always working on something, be it freelance video work or my crafts, or my part time retail job etc. I’ve worked on some cool film / TV projects in the last few months, but many have been unpaid and just a few days at a time. If I’m honest…

Life after college is hard. It’s easily depressing, if you allow it. And it’s a constant reminder that you have two choices; be positive and get yourself out there, or lie down to the doom and gloom that is eating our country up. I would say that I fluctuate between these two choices on a daily basis, but most of the time I try to be positive. Emmigrant friends. Hopeful interviews. Never ending job applications. Constantly having to answer the awkward question “and what are you doing now?” That’s what life is like after college. It’s scary. Every day I battle with the idea of emmigrating.

My heart genuinely breaks for families torn apart by emigration. Qualified, hopeful, ambitious graduates forced to leave the country they belong to, the family they love. On Christmas morning, my dad’s friend always calls to our house with ‘Happy Christmasses’ for all. This year, as I greeted him with Christmas wishes, he cried for the absense of his emigrant son. This is all too common now and it breaks my heart. The airport in early January is now one of the saddest places you could be. Too many of our friends and family members are gone.

So what do you tell final year students, about to embark on this scary post-college graduate existence? Be positive. Hold your head high. Hold your friends and family close and those that aren’t near, hold them even closer. Don’t lose touch. Pay attention to the news but try not to let it grind you down. If there are no jobs or projects to get involved in, create your own. Put yourself out there. Talk to people. Let them know who you are and what you can do. Take every opportunity that presents itself. Don’t feel inferior if friends get jobs before you. There are reasons for everything and what is meant for you won’t pass you by. If you have to work for free, do, but know your value and when it’s time to say no to no pay. Don’t spend time with negative people. Above all, be positive. Especially when it seems easier not to be. Life after college is easily depressing. But only if you allow it.