Changing lives: student to employee

Graduation1The transition from being a full-time student to full-time employee is something that, for me, was looked upon with two very different minds. Whilst I was hugely excited about the prospect of starting out in my career, I couldn’t shake the feeling of worry; would I survive the demands of having a ‘real job’?

I had been lucky enough to get a job within the industry I wished to work, which is the first major hurdle faced by many graduates. The next challenge that awaited me was, naturally, actually doing the job in hand. The securing of a job may seem much more difficult to overcome by those who have not yet passed this stage, however the latter challenge is just as tough.

Shifting responsibilities

Many people regard the student lifestyle as one of ease, and many students (myself included) would argue that this is not always the case; the pressure of deadlines and hours of reading take a lot of time and effort. However, this hard work being put into pulling all-nighters in the library and hours spent in lectures did not prepare me for the reality of a 9-5 job (or in this case, 8.30-5.30!). It is quite a large step-up to go from a hard-working student to hard-working employee, however much pressure you put yourself under while studying.

There are also huge changes in your responsibilities. At university I was mainly responsible for my own learning. If I didn’t go to a lecture it was only myself I was letting down; if I left an essay until the last minute it was only my deadline that was the issue. It may seem obvious that it’s part of any job to become responsible for things that are important to others, but this change is quite a big one when you are used to being responsible for only yourself.

The initial nervousness about this next step in my life quickly disappeared after my first day with the lovely team here at mark-making*, where I was quickly made to feel at home and comfortable in my surroundings. With numerous small jobs to do as a way of helping me get used to the way mark-making* works, I have been able to move around the building and get to know the various members of the team (just in time for the secret Santa name draw!).

Having been trusted with meeting a client on my first day, and various others over the course of the week, I am pleasantly surprised to report that there was only one small issue during my first week. This small issue was based around the fact that at 21 years old, I had never written a cheque before, and am now, rather embarrassingly, aware that I didn’t actually know how to write one!

Nearing the end of my first month at mark-making* I can happily say that the dreaded transition is not as bad as first imagined. With great work colleagues and a role that I enjoy, the change in lifestyle has been one that I’ve well adapted to.

Is the company right for you?


The main advice I would give to those currently anticipating this transition is to be yourself and to be a sponge. I know that “just be yourself” is the textbook advice given out by many career advisors, tutors, and parents the world over, but it really is important.

Alongside relevant experience, a passion for the industry, and a drive to secure the role you are interviewing for, ensuring your personality fits in with the organisation you are going into is key. Making sure you have chosen the right company is just as important at convincing the company that you are right for them. How do you know if it’s the right company for you?

In this sense, first impressions are everything. The reaction you have when first researching the company’s website; the gut feeling you get after your interview; meeting the current employees and seeing how well you feel you might fit in. These are just a few things you could focus on when trying to gain an insight into the company you are interviewing with.

Relish every opportunity

Once you have secured this role, it’s the time to become a human sponge; take in everything you can, take up every opportunity thrown at you, and do this with an open mind and willingness to learn. This is something that I not only embrace in my personal life, but have also learned stands you in good stead in your working life (so far, anyway!).

By Emma Baker

About markmaking*

mark-making* is an award-winning creative agency specialising in branding, campaigns and communications