Taking the next steps after graduation: what to do if it all seems unclear
BPS Graduate Member Lloyd Emeka offers some advice on making sense of the future when it all feels a bit uncertain.
27 May 2021
Although the journey from starting an undergraduate degree to graduation typically lasts for 3 – 4 years, it can feel that time passes by in the blink of an eye.
The demands of studying and other life commitments can be unrelenting which is exacerbated when making important decisions about your future after graduation.
Finding the time to give careful thought and consideration to different career pathways whilst focusing on completing your degree is a difficult task.
If you are unsure about the career path that is most appropriate for you after graduating, try not to perceive this as a negative situation.
Psychology is a broad discipline with many subject areas that are taught during a degree. After graduating, you could reflect on the subject/s that created a sense of excitement and intrigue.
What did you particularly enjoy about this subject and what were the key skills that you learnt from it?
Undertaking this process can assist with identifying specific careers that could be suitable for you.
It is also worth considering the type of support that you can obtain during and after your degree. The Careers & Employability Service at university can provide support to students and graduates in numerous areas including careers advice.
Developing a relationship with a mentor can also be a valuable learning experience that helps you identify solutions and discover new opportunities.
If you don’t have a mentor already, you could consider the people you particularly admire and approach them to determine whether they would be able to provide mentorship.
Your skills are also transferable to a range of sectors that recruit Psychology graduates (i.e., market research, advertising, financial services, technology).
Applying your psychology knowledge and developing skills in a business environment can be a valuable experience that creates different perspectives and opportunities.
It is important to note that working in a non-psychology career does not necessarily result in not becoming a psychologist in future.
There are an increasing number of individuals who undertake multiple careers during their working life and might pursue a second or third career as a psychologist.
Careers are rarely linear, and all experiences have the potential to be learning opportunities. Embrace the concept of life-long learning and pursue the career path that you are passionate about.
If you're looking for a bit more support once you graduate, you can remain a part of the BPS community as a graduate member.
You can also stay up to date with psychology news and events through The Psychologist magazine, regular email updates and networking with other psychology graduates on our new online community, Member Connect.
Lloyd Emeka graduated with a master’s degree in marketing, and worked in various marketing communications roles prior to embarking on a career change.
He returned to academia after a 13-year break and completed a postgraduate conversion degree in psychology at Birkbeck.
Lloyd subsequently proceeded to undertake further study and is currently completing a master’s degree in Applied Sport Psychology at St Mary's University.
Lloyd is also actively involved in the BPS and is currently Chair-Elect, London and Home Counties Branch, and a member of the Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology EDI working group.