Life After University: What To Do After Graduation

19 May 2017

Thinking about life after university can be daunting. There’s so much to process, then thinking about what to do after graduation – finding a job, finding a place to live, making new friends and fully embracing adulthood. Worrying and stressing are inevitable, but don’t just bury your head in the sand! You have to be proactive about sorting out your to-do list.

What to do after graduation

  1. Decide where you want to live.
  2. Develop your social life.
  3. Build your career.
  4. Volunteer in your community.
  5. Continue learning.
  6. Start saving.
  7. Build your career.
  8. Take care of yourself.

Read on for our suggestions on what to do after graduation to sort out your life after university. These tips are aimed at recent grads, but they’re helpful even if you graduated a few years ago.

1. Decide where you want to live:
Consider family, career, finances and quality of life. If you want to save on rent and your parents are okay with it, move home for a while. If you’re looking for a flat share, try rounding up a group of friends to live together. Wherever you decide to live, you can join the ACF. We have about 1,600 detachments throughout the UK, so there’s probably one near you.

2. Develop your social life:
One of the hardest things about life after university is the impact graduation has on your social network. Your university friends spread out, moving to different areas and becoming less a part of your daily life. You’ll need to make an effort to make new friends.

Reach out to old acquaintances in your area, join a book club, introduce yourself to your new neighbours and have lunch with colleagues at work. The ACF is a great place to make friends as well. You’re surrounded by likeminded, interesting people who work closely together.

3. Build your career:
Do you want to follow the career path of your degree? For some, like Law or Marketing, that might be relatively straightforward. For others, like English or Maths, you might have to be more creative in thinking about your career. Don’t stress too much about this – everyone your age goes through it!

You’ll probably spend a good chunk of your 20s switching companies and jobs. Volunteering with the ACF shows discipline, commitment and leadership – all skills that employers value. Many volunteers have used their ACF skills to change or progress in their careers.

4. Volunteer in your community:
After graduating, you’ve got a lot of skills and energy to offer your community. Consider volunteering as a way to give back. At the ACF, adult volunteers give their time to inspiring and helping cadets achieve. They also help cadets give back to the wider community, by visiting the elderly, cleaning up public parks and raising money for good causes.

Not only does volunteering improve your community; it also improves your CV by developing useful career skills. Joining the Army Cadet Force as an adult volunteer can be a great thing to do after graduating!

5. Continue learning:
You just spent the last few years focused on learning, but it’s not time to stop. Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and it’s especially important at the beginning of your career. New skills mean new job opportunities. You can take courses or gain qualifications directly related to your career, or you can learn skills related to your hobbies.

The ACF offers courses for adult volunteers in first aid, sports leadership, public relations, digital photography and more. We also subsidise certain vocational qualifications, such as The City and Guilds Membership in Strategic Youth Management, equivalent to a Master’s degree.

6. Start saving:
Retirement is a long way away, but every financial expert will tell you to start saving as soon as you're in regular employment. No matter how little you can afford to put aside, saving regularly builds good habits and lays the foundation for a comfortable retirement. A pension, an ISA, stocks and shares – there are lots of options, so make sure you get sound advice. Factor in short-term goals like buying a home or travelling for a while as well.

7. Take care of yourself:
As a recent grad, it’s easy to spend all your free time at the pub, the club or the office. You have to carve out time for healthy activities like being outdoors and exercising regularly. Find a physical activity you enjoy and commit to doing it often.

At the ACF, adult volunteers organise and take part in competitive shooting, fieldcraft exercises and adventurous training. They also organise a wide range of team sports like football and netball. You might be completing an obstacle course one week and climbing a rock face the next.


We’re one of the UK’s largest youth organisations, but we also have over 9,000 adult volunteers who help us mentor and manage our cadets. With the ACF, you can make new friends, go on outdoor adventures, build your employability skills and contribute to your community.

If you’ve recently graduated and are wondering what to do after university, consider volunteering with the ACF today.