Thinking about life after uni… #MyNextSteps

For this week’s #MyNextSteps advice blog, Careers Consultant Danny Wilkey talks about something that a lot of students might feel anxious about… It’s life after university! Wherever you are on your career journey, it’s normal to feel a bit intimidated by all that lies ahead of you – but we understand that this feeling can be intensified due to Covid-19. 

Woman throwing her academic hat
Photo by JodyHongFilms on Unsplash

This time every year students’ attention starts to shift from end of year assessments to life after Uni. The classic ‘what next’ decisions of further study, gap years or taking up a graduate role are all set this year against an unprecedented context. By any measure this is an extraordinary time to be approaching the end of your studies at Kings.  A time when you have been bombarded by the implications of C-19 all around you. Reflecting on what you want from life after Uni in these circumstances may feel like quite a challenge. Undoubtably, you have been coping with more immediate concerns like exams and possibly experiencing an impact on your job applications and ideas. All of this, while living through separation from friends and family.

This is an invitation to press pause, to create some space for reflection. Give yourself permission to acknowledge you have been through a lot. An invitation to touch base with yourself and to begin to think about the next transition in your life. Here are 10 suggestions to guide you. Some you can make a start on now, others you can revisit in the coming weeks and months.



So, here are my tips for reflecting on your life after uni:

1. Approach this next phase in the spirit of curiosity and enquiry. Reflect on your experiences at Uni and listen to the lessons they offer you. The Japanese concept Ikigai which means “a reason for being” might be a useful starting point with some key diagnostic questions


  • What am I good at?
  • What do I love?
  • What does the world need?
  • What I can be paid for?


(its difficult not to be moved by the response of the KCL community to the current situation, occupational areas like Nursing are seeing a surge in interest nationally and in business new opportunities are emerging and particular skills are increasing in value.)


2. Take stock. All businesses take regular inventory. Review your ‘employability assets’. The KASE framework (Knowledge, Skills, Attributes and Skills) is a great way to bring some structure to that review.


3. Be an early adopter. We are in a new paradigm when it comes to how businesses operate and recruit. The fastest and most flexible movers are more likely to thrive whether that is individuals or businesses. Embrace work that looks different, be open to short term projects.


4. Don’t wait for the storm to pass. Engaging in this new world, experimenting with new ideas  maybe through virtual internships beyond your primary interest broadens your horizons and grows your network. Airbnb, Pinterest, Uber, and Whatsapp are all businesses that started in wake of the financial crisis in 2008.


Image of foot kicking the air5. Be agile and adaptable. We are already seeing students and businesses adapting to these new circumstances. The question above, what does the world need now can be applied both to roles and the adoption of a more flexible approach.


6. Build connections and offer value to your network. Look at every opportunity to engage with alumni (be a frequent user of the alumni tool) . Be quick to see where you can connect others to value or experiences. Consider starting a blog or vlog to showcase your ideas. Be a professional and generous sharer on platforms like LinkedIn. Be a lighthouse for others and it will illuminate your path too.


7. Focus on what is in your sphere of influence. Its not your fault if a job opportunity is withdrawn in the current climate but focus on what you can control. Updating your LinkedIn profile /building your personal brand, staying connected to KCL community or upskilling are all things that will pay dividends in the future.


8. Stay positive. Adopt a growth mindset . Ask yourself – how can I help? how can I adapt? Lead this next phase of your life with a positive edge, it will help you and countless others – it will also attract employers.


Read more about the Growth Mindset from one of our latest blogs!


9. Avoid making comparisons. Some of you will face significant challenges and barriers in the short term, others will enjoyer quicker success. It is important not to make comparisons. Someone wiser than me observed recently that we are “all in the same storm but not necessarily the same boat”. Whatever your situation is, it is important to be kind yourself and generous to others it will sustain you long after the current situation has passed.


10. Stay connected to Kings. Is there a meet up planned with your fellow students after graduation (virtually) – if not arrange one. Are you a member of the various KCL Linked groups? If not join. And remember that Kings Careers and Employability team are here to support you, virtually for now but we will see you soon. Good luck!



Growth Mindset