Beware: this text should be read… by university students!!!
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been receiving emails from Greek students who have been living and studying in London, asking for my advice in terms of their job hunting and their potential professional development… It goes without saying that the majority of them have studied extensively for a few years, while working either voluntarily or not in various important positions. Their common worry is… “what happens next?”
1) Firstly and most importantly is the idea that whatever you do, there is always something valuable to learn from! I’m confident that each individual has already learnt a lot from his own experiences, his acquired education, etc. It is difficult to appreciate things when you feel caught up in the middle, but six months down the line, every major and minor event, experience, circumstance in your life, will have definitely contributed to how far you have managed to reach.
2) You don’t have to go through this on your own! You should ask the help of friends, flatmates, your university tutors, go online and reach out to people who happen to have the same professional background! By doing so, you will be able to make a list of many potential solutions, you will no longer feel alone and realise that this is just a temporary stage that all students go through… By discussing your difficulties, you will have created space to appreciate things from a different perspective.
3) If on the other hand, you have already been working voluntarily, it is sometimes very useful to continue doing so, because the chances are that you will be first on the list of people when a new position comes along; as it is often the case that the employers will have already acknowledged your skills, your determination and passion for work.
4) If you feel stressed and overwhelmed by the idea that you have to find a job asap, I would encourage you to do so, by finding something that will fulfil your needs. By doing so, you will have enabled yourself to devote the rest of your free time making plans ahead for your actual dream job. (Beware – try to keep in mind that this job is only temporary, but the aim is for you to continue chasing after your dreams and aspirations; unless you end up realising that the temporary job is something that you really would like to invest in!…)
5) Make time every day and engage in doing something completely different, such as finding a hobby, etc. By doing so, you will have enabled yourselves to have fun, to “re-charge” yourselves and you will have stopped worrying for a while. Imagine yourselves 6 months later, a year later, where would you like to be?
6) If you feel overwhelmed, very anxious about the current situation and you feel like your mood has changed, your sleep pattern as well as your eating habits, then I would encourage you to seek professional help.
I can truly empathise with you, as I have been there a few years ago… however I would like to highlight to you the idea that this is just a temporary stage, you should acknowledge that it is a stressful and time-consuming period in your life, but there is always a solution to every problem; and remember to acknowledge your skills, your abilities and have faith in yourselves that you will eventually succeed!!!
Eva Lychrou is a psychotherapist based in London and in Athens, helping people deal with family issues, relationship difficulties and self development in general.
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