Is it okay not to go straight onto a graduate scheme?

graduation-1695185_1920I spent my final year stressing about my university work and having a crisis trying to figure out what I should do after university job wise. I am sure that most students have these thoughts. Should I spend time that I should be studying applying to graduate schemes? Are graduate schemes worth it? What do I even want to do?

In the end I decided to focus on my studies and figure out jobs when it got closer to the end of university. This meant that I inevitably missed the main graduate scheme deadlines between September and January. However, now that I look back it was definitely a blessing. I have decided now that I will apply for law graduate schemes/training contracts. If I didn’t go for a job aimed at graduates rather than a graduate scheme I might never have figured out what I wanted to do though. Here are a few reasons why I am glad I didn’t go down the graduate scheme route – at least not straight away.

Note: This is really just my own opinion on things! Everyone is completely different. 🙂

Gives you time to figure out what you want to do

For me the main reason I avoided applying to graduate schemes is because I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do. Did I want to go down the law route? I really wasn’t sure. There were so many graduate schemes available ranging from accounting to sales. The main paid employment that I had was retail. The work experience that I had in law firms and the like was just that. It didn’t give me a real feel for the job and what I enjoyed as in work experience you often only have limited responsibilities for a limited period of time.

Working in a job that was aimed at graduates instead of a set scheme for a period of time helped me to figure out what I wanted to do. In my law related job I have realised that I do really enjoy the practical side of law and that I do want to work in a challenging and fast paced role eventually. If I had rushed straight into a graduate scheme though I might not have realised that this is what I wanted. I might have ended up in a role that really did not suit me and then be trapped there for the period of the scheme.

It might take a while to figure out what you want but, in my opinion, it’s less stressful to take some time out and get as much experience as you can before committing yourself to a career you’re unsure about.

Focus on your studies

I knew that it was really important to get good grades in my final year. On some courses it might be that your experience is more important. However, I found on my course I wanted to focus on my studies and get the best grades as I possibly could. It would have been very difficult to fit in my studies, part-time job, socialising and applying for graduate schemes. In particular, graduate schemes tend to have lengthy processes. For instance, some applications that I saw involved a long application form, online tests, a telephone interview and an assessment centre. This really wasn’t something that I had the time for if I wanted to get decent grades.

Enjoy your last year as a student

Did I really want to be doing countless psychometric tests instead of enjoying my last year of the student lifestyle? Put simply, no.

I found myself stressing a lot over what I was going to do when I finished university. This was especially the case when everyone else was talking about graduate schemes and all the offers that they had. I really felt like I was doing something wrong. I found myself researching careers that I had no clue about in the hope that I would find my dream job and dream graduate scheme. This didn’t happen though.

I wish that I could tell myself this time last year not to stress about graduate schemes so much. There are sooooo many options following graduation with other perks!

Hope you enjoyed reading – would be great to hear other experiences.

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