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What no one tells you about the university to work transition

A group of people transitioning to work at a table with laptops.

So, you’re ready to transition from full-time student to full-time employee, what do you need to know?

As someone who has just made said transition let me tell you, it will take some adjusting. The student lifestyle of late nights, partying, junk food and long holidays has come to an end. You’ve worked so hard to get this piece of paper that supposedly means you are ready to tackle the real world. Scary? Yes. The end of the world? No. It can feel like you are giving up a pretty cushy lifestyle, which let’s be real you are – but it’s not all bad. Say hello to a full-time income, guilt free time off, and more responsibility. Not feeling quite ready? These tips will help you alter your lifestyle to work with your career.

Body clock

Late nights, sleep ins and afternoon naps. School allows for you to somewhat create your own schedule. Unfortunately, I don’t think your boss will be too stoked if you rock up to work late and exhausted, or if you decide to nap during office hours (although I have heard of people using their lunch breaks to nap in their cars- because you know, priorities). Getting yourself into a sustainable routine will get you on track. Prepare yourself in advance by going to sleep at a reasonable hour and getting up at the required time, this will train your body to know what is expected of it Monday – Friday. Take it from someone who learnt the hard way by combing jet lag and a new job – ignore this tip and your body will have a hell of a shock when it is forced to get up early, and even worse be productive. So, get in those 7-9 hours of sleep; you’ll need the stamina.

A woman transitioning from bed to work with a white blanket.


Yes, to more money – no, to blowing it in one week. Having gone from a student budget it may be tempting to splurge with all your new-found funds. The pesky thing with this is most workplaces pay your salary monthly – keep this in mind before you go hard with the purchases otherwise you’ll be looking at a very bleak end of the month.

A stack of US dollar bills on a black background.

Work-life balance

When you start in a new office you may want to impress your colleagues by pulling crazy hours and getting your work done in record time. This, however, is not sustainable. Finding a work-life balance that suits you and your lifestyle will not only make you happier, but in turn make you much more productive when you’re in the office. Prioritise and make time to see your friends and family, and never give up your hobbies whatever they may be.

A person transitioning in the woods.


You’ve trained your body to sustain itself off of pizza and energy drinks, which hey, good for you – but as they say food is fuel and if you’re anything like me your fast metabolism won’t last forever. Not only will you be spending away your pay checks by buying food out, you’ll also need good fuel to get you through the day – yep, back to my mate stamina. Consider meal prepping – make and freeze your lunches for the week, or, make two portions at dinner and save one for lunch the next day.

A plate of salmon and salad on a wooden table, symbolizing a healthy transition to work.

Holiday Time

Okay, student holiday periods are amazing, everybody knows it. You’re probably used to weeks off, with no end in sight and the ability to take each day as it comes. Well I hate to say it, but those days are over. You’re going to want to learn how to make the most of your holiday days – whether that be allocating a full day to life admin or booking a trip out of town.

A jeep is parked in the middle of a salt flat, creating a unique transition to work.

Other quick tips:

Update your wardrobe – pyjamas may have passed as acceptable at early morning classes (and yes, I took full advantage of it) but are not so fly in your morning meetings.

Clean up your socials – most employees and clients will check your social media before they hire you, make sure it is more professional, and less spring break.

Buy a planner – you have a lot more responsibilities now, write them down so you don’t miss any.

Never stop learning – your official education may have ended but your workplace is a pool of knowledge and information. Learn off your colleagues, ask questions and take notes.

Most of all, enjoy yourself. This is a new chapter of your life, and it’s here to stay. It’s okay to miss the student lifestyle but remembering the rewards of full-time work will get you through.