So today marks the official 12 month mark of leaving my university bubble in Coventry behind and returning to life back in Leicester, the real life. I've decided to gather some perspective and look back on those past 12 months and everything that's happened to me as a recent graduate (I no longer fit in this category now, boo). It's also one of the main reasons I decided to blog more often so what a nice way to gain perspective and write about the past 12 months of my life, plus I do not have time to finish it by sitting in front of a camera talking right now like I have done previously with this stuff (links to those are below if you'd like to check them out)
Here are the 10 things I have particularly learnt in the past 12 months, that I feel are the most important to point out and I am sure we can call relate to as graduates.

1. University really are the best 3 years of your life.
I wish I enjoyed university a lot more whilst I was there, I allowed myself to be submerged into coming home every weekend for work and not engaging in enough societies/clubs. I look back on my university chapter as something I would happily experience over and over again if I could, probably with less alcohol consumption. I would also love if I had a little scrapbook of my time there (this is something I would love to produce over the year!)

2. You'll miss the company of seeing friends everyday.
My university experience was complete by the individuals I met in those 3 years. Whether they were flatmates, coursemates or friends or friends you knew your experience wouldn't be the same without them. It was a huge adaptation when university finished to not living with people or not being able to just pop out whenever you felt like it as somebody was only 10 minutes away.

3. Make time to have little get togethers with uni friends.

I think when we become so wrapped up into the real life and getting our career, we forget to spend time with our loved ones. I think there's a real connection with those you spent your university years with too so definitely do spend time with them! I always find our time together so precious and enjoyable now we're not at university in each other's company so often.

4. There's no time to procrastinate.
Who didn't spend most of their university experience spending hours watching Netflix, putting behind work to go out or to see friends or just sit around talking about your entire life story to individuals? Now we're adults so we have responsibilities and bills to pay. There's no real time to sit around and even when we do have a spare hour or two, it's very precious and cannot be wasted.

5. You'll apply for so many jobs, applications will come out of your ears.
I hated cramming in the time to sit and do a thorough job search and research into specific roles, especially if it's something you want. I wrote about it more here but yeah writing applications and job searching sucks when your trying to search for a lasting career, not something temporary and part-time.

6. Volunteering is really helpful for your CV.
I did all sorts of volunteering once my time at Coventry was completed, it really enhanced my skills on my CV and got me thinking about new ideas, creatively and professionally. It was the best thing I ever did in the first 12 months and I still contribute to volunteering now, it's so helpful and so many employers have been really interested in what I have done. I wrote a whole blog post about why Volunteering is awesome here with some useful links if your interested.

7. Not EVERY experience is positive.
I have been in roles which I had perceived at first glance to be great for my professional development and the right step in the direction. Sadly you can come out of some of these experiences feeling rather deflated and low on confidence. Not every experience you'll have in your entire working life will be experience but it definitely allows you to learn and grow as an individual. I have had to pick myself up and learn new things about myself so quickly.

8. You'll learn so much about yourself.
I have learnt sooooo much about myself in these 12 months. I am more determined and hardworking than I have ever known, but I also allow myself to feel deflated by a negative experience for far too long! I think these 12 months have taught me to react differently and find a positive outlook for this. I've also remained to be optimistic about my career and where it's heading, it's never easy.

9. There isn't a night out like a student night out.
The cheap drinks, the spontaneous night outs, the dancing until your feet KILL and so you have no other option than to walk home barefooted (we've all done it). I really don't enjoy nights out as much as I used to anymore, I would rather go out once a month with a group of friends/family or have a nice dinner out instead. I'm becoming boring!

10. It's not easy.
Even if you have volunteered a lot during your studies and have lots of networks within the sector you'd like to work in doesn't mean you'll just come home expecting a dream career that everyone would die for. It takes time, patience and commitment to get somewhere. It felt like I went straight to stage 1 all over again but actually this was really important for me to experience.

I hope if you went to university it was a memorable and positive experience!
Is there anything you specifically learnt in your first 12 months?

p.s Graduating also feels pretty damn awesome too!

thanks for reading,