Graduating University, 5 things I have learnt

melissa carne graduation falmouth university cornwall

Graduating university, 5 things I have learnt

This post is all about 5 things I’ve learnt since graduating university. Oh my god it’s been a year since I officially handed in my last ever project and I have a lot to reflect on.

Last week I actually visited the Falmouth grad show and remembered feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed like the now recent graduates. Geez I can’t call myself that now! I’m going to share with you the top 5 things that I have learnt since graduating university. Don’t worry it’s not all doom and gloom, here we go.

1. Hard work

Now I know you’re thinking, how can it get any harder than graduating university? That’s not possible, I worked my butt off! Well it does. Now it’s time to work harder. Now is when it really counts. When you need to earn money to live and fight your way to a career you truly deeply want. 

This is a hard realisation, you think if you work hard at uni and get good grades then people will be lining up at your door to hire you. (Ech Urghh buzzer noise which I don’t know how to spell onomatopoeically). Now is the time you really need to work hard and pull you finger out your arse. There’s no more lecturers telling you what to do or helping you out or pushing you on. It is now all in your hands. I mean obviously this can be different for everyone depending on what you do. But, I’m speaking from my experience as a graphic design graduate.

freelance graphic designer melissa carne dog ice cream poster at d&ad new blood festival
dog ice cream poster and packaging by freelance graphic designer melissa carne


When you graduate from uni, unless you’ve managed to line up a job for a soon as you finish. (Which I don’t actually recommend doing and you can read about that in a post here). You’re most probably going to have to move back home with your parents for the short if, not foreseeable future. Now this can feel like a massive step in the wrong direction. You’ve just gained your independence and then it all reverts back to before you even left for uni and it was like it never even happened… 

You may also have to go back to a part time job you were doing before you went to uni in order to fund your next adventures. It can all feel as if uni was just a dream. But remember sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to leap forwards, 

‘an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards’.


All your uni friends have now moved back home or have gone their separate ways in order to achieve their goals and dreams and, so have you. If you kept in contact with your original friends from home then that’s great as you won’t be so lonely. But, it can be hard to meet up and spend time with anyone of your friends the older you get. Everyone has their own lives to lead. It’s not as easy to all meet up at the local pub when you live all over the country or possibly the world! 

But this doesn’t mean you will never see them. If you’re lucky and all have a similar career path then you may find yourself bumping into them during work events. If not make sure you put time aside to go and visit one another; book a concert, a festival, a mini break away. Something that is booked in the calendar once or twice a year so there’s no getting out of it. This means that the time that you do spend together becomes really valuable and something to look forward too.


There will be a lot of points after graduation where you will have to make decisions. Some of them being very important and life changing. This could be moving away or taking a job. It can feel like every decision you’re going to make is going to be the wrong one but, it isn’t. Making some sort of decision is better than being stuck in limbo for forever. 

falmouth university
falmouth university gylly beach

I thought I was going to have some sort of lightbulb moment where everything was going to become clear and I knew exactly what I wanted. But, this never happened and to be honest I don’t think it ever will. Progressing in a direction in any form is better than none. Remind yourself, and I have to do this too, that nothing is stuck forever. If you don’t like your new job or your new city or house or partner or whatever it is then that’s okay! You have the power to change it but, you will never know if you never try.


You learn a lot about yourself at uni, don’t get me wrong. But, I feel that this past year since graduating university, I have learnt even more about myself than ever. I have pushed myself to do things that quite frankly have scared the sh*t out of me. But, you don’t grow unless you push yourself out of your comfort zone. 

Change for some people can seem terrifying. I am the first to admit this but, you can’t live your life by being safe. After graduating university you learn how to be completely independent in your chosen career. You’re the one having to sort out your own internships or job interviews and choosing a path that is right for you. All of these new experiences is what makes you grow as a person and although at the time it can feel damn right scary, it turns out to be really valuable and what shapes you as a person.

Other posts

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about graduating university, 5 things I have learnt. I hope you took from it what resonated with you. Other posts you may find helpful are: Graphic design interview adviceWhat it is like being a graphic design internAbsolute graphic design internship experienceD&AD New Blood festival and Top tips for graduation.

Lots of love, Melissa x