Out of the bird’s nest: soaring in your full-time career after university


Have you ever seen a fish flapping helplessly out of water? Or a newly-hatched chick struggling to fly? That’s exactly how it feels when you’re suddenly pushed out of university life. For years, we follow a set path laid out for us pre-school, primary, secondary education, and finally, university. But then, it’s time to take the leap into the real world and figure out what to do with our future. Some may choose to pursue another degree or follow their passions, but for most of us, it’s time to start a full-time career. The transition from attending lectures, studying for exams, and socializing and partying with friends to the professional work environment can be intimidating. The excitement of starting a new career is often overshadowed by the pressure of adapting to new responsibilities, routines, and expectations and handling this leap is stressful. Thus, it is important to know what to expect.

As finals draw to a close, it is necessary to recognize that this will be a challenging period in your life, and quite transformative. While you may think you have all the transferable skills and knowledge from your academics and co-op, you will certainly encounter new and unique experiences at work. For students without co-op, you will experience a whole new world altogether. For instance, you may be working with colleagues with different leadership styles, that are much older and more experienced than you or find it difficult to network. Additionally, you may have to adapt to new skills or a different schedule and may be drowning in responsibilities. Thus, it is important to approach this transition with an open mind, motivation to learn and grow, and a positive attitude. These tips can help you prepare for the transition and put your mind at ease.

Embrace the hustle

As you transition from being an intern to a full-time employee, your perception of hard work becomes entirely your own. You have the freedom to set your own definitions and craft your own story. Embracing the hustle culture can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, as well as opportunities for career growth and financial stability. This doesn’t always mean working long hours but can include the opportunities you seek, initiatives you volunteer for, and how you add value to the team by bringing in your unique perspectives. However, it can also perpetuate the idea that one’s worth is determined by their productivity and success, leading to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, and may foster a competitive, rather than collaborative, environment. The right way to go is to strike a balance between hard work and self-care. 

Set clear boundaries

To achieve your goals and maintain your well-being, it is important to establish your own boundaries. This can include creating a schedule for your day-to-day tasks or blocking off portions of your calendar, saying no to requests that will burden you, setting limits on your availability outside work hours, taking breaks when needed, and being realistic about how much work you can handle to avoid burnout. Be clear and concise about your expectations and limitations with your team and try to come up with solutions that work for everyone. This way, you’ll be able to focus on your work and take time to recharge and engage in other activities that are important to you. It can ultimately help you be more productive, engaged, and satisfied with your work.


Getting a job does not automatically mean that promotions will be granted each year. Instead, it requires consistent effort, growth, and confidence. Various factors, such as maintaining a good rapport with your supervisor, actively participating in leadership programs, and delivering a quality performance contribute to the possibility of promotion. Success in achieving a promotion is not a guarantee but rather the result of continuous hard work and dedication to self-improvement.


While it’s natural to feel like you’re not experienced enough, it’s still crucial to take ownership of your responsibilities and mistakes. This means being proactive in seeking feedback, admitting when you’re wrong, and working to improve your skills. Taking accountability can help you build trust with your team and set you up for success in your career. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you take responsibility for them and use them as learning opportunities.


In times of economic uncertainty, companies may need to make difficult decisions to cut costs, which can result in layoffs. While it’s important to work hard and prove your value to the company, it’s also important to be prepared for the possibility of job loss. This can involve creating a financial safety net, networking to increase your job prospects, and continuously developing your skills to make yourself a more valuable asset in the job market. It’s important to stay vigilant and proactive in taking measures to secure your career during these times.

So, now that you are ready to fly high, know that it is normal to feel uncertain, nervous, or overwhelmed. Know that this is an opportunity for growth and development, and, with the right mindset, you can thrive in your new professional environment. By embracing this transition, you can prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and skill-wise to face it head-on. It is totally okay to fail, make mistakes, and experience setbacks. You have worked hard to reach this point and you are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to. 

Best of luck on your journey ahead!