mia hernandez asks :
I’m soon to be 21, and only have a few days left in my final year of university. I have a part-time job and a boyfriend who I’ve been with for 2 and a half years but I don’t have many friends.
I get along with people easily but I don’t have many close friends I see on a regular basis, and my boyfriend lives far from me and basically has his own life.
I spend most of my time at home, alone.. and with my 21st birthday arising, my exam and then a whole bunch of free time to look for a career, a real job, I feel overwhelmed with no one really to turn to.
I feel lonely and bored of life to be honest. It isn’t a real problem in comparison to other people’s problems but I feel less and less motivated every day to do anything, and I feel if something doesn’t change, then it will just get worse.
This sounds really sad especially that you feel that your problems are somehow less deserving of attention than other people’s.
If you lose your motivation to get a job, move on with your life, it could lead to depression. In fact, lack of motivation is already a possible red light for depression. It is a real problem. In terms of your career options, can you seek help from the University careers service?
I can’t tell exactly but it sounds as if your boyfriend isn’t studying with you and you’ve set yourself apart from potential friends because you’ve been involved with your relationship. It’s not uncommon unfortunately.
You haven’t got long left but if you could force yourself to go along to some of the end of term social events, by yourself, you might just meet some people. Do you have a mentor or tutor for your course? Someone who you could talk to about how you’re feeling?
It might affect your performance in your final exams and coursework, and should be recorded - even if you feel that you don’t have a ‘real’ problem.
In addition to your boyfriend issues and the issue of feeling lonely, it’s very common for final year students to lack motivation to get a ‘real’ career sorted out.
Why not approach it as a gap year - so look for opportunities to balance work experience in different industries with some paid work in the job you’ve held down so far? Have you been to any careers fairs?
It sounds as though if you could find the motivation to get a direction sorted out for how you’re going to approach finding a job, you might find that other issues are resolved. Have you looked at www.prospects.ac.uk.
Have a look at Laura M Smith’s blog on Wordpress 'The life of a final year student’ and you’ll
see you’re not alone. As a former University tutor I can also reassure you that there are many more final year students all wondering how they’re going to adapt to life beyond Uni.
Whether it’s relationships, friendships, money or career worries, it’s common. So, what you really need to do is get a grip of what you can control, and move things forward.
It’s up to you really - if you want to drift, waste time and find that a year passes and you’re left competing with yet another year’s worth of new graduates, then that’s what will happen if you spend time worrying.
What you need to do is think about what you want life to look like in a year’s time, what you can realistically achieve and make yourself an action plan. Don’t be flaky. If this boyfriend lives miles away and he’s already the reason for you not making friends at Uni, then expect history to repeat itself unless you make some changes there. Is there a reason why the plan is not to live closer to him?
If you’re not moving closer, then don’t waste time letting it fizzle out. Move on. It’s up to you what happens next, that’s the important thing to remember.