Hannah Ballard | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 29 December 2015

How To Stay Creative Now You\\\'ve Left Uni And Realised That Adult Life Is Rubbish

How To Stay Creative Now You've Left Uni And Realised That Adult Life Is Rubbish

The Debrief: Can you feel your brain shrivelling up as your transformation into worker drone commences? Here's how to keep your mind alive.

Artowrk by Alex Coll

You finish uni, shrug off the stress migraine, re-pickle your liver, and start an Adult Life. You’ve heard the real world is hard, that adulting doesn’t come natural, but there are some perks. If you’ve moved back in with family, you’ve got central heating and free food, if you’ve started an office job, you’ve got weekends without the pressure of assignments, and if you’re on a grad scheme, you finally have enough money to eat AND party. It’s all swell. Right?

But around about now, that glow fades. The winter draws in and you miss the joy of learning new things. You’re afraid of working your youth away whilst your friends travel, and as you stand at the photocopier at your soul-destroying temp job you can’t help but miss the deadline adrenaline, hungover mornings and mental playground that typified uni.

Fear not, life is far from over. I am here to guide you through the blues, out to frolick in the sunny fields of Continuing Creativity. Oh, and all these tips are free or dead cheap.

Pretend uni never ended

That’s not to say; stay in denial. With your uni friends (who are probably feeling the blues too), continue the learning parts of uni. Set yourself goals and deadlines to be accountable to each other. Go on cute little reading/writing/museum dates or field trips with uni friends and reminisce about those lectures you’d attend on Fridays still drunk from the night before, while soaking knowledge in through osmosis (points if you remember that one).

Make new learning friends at learning events

Maybe your uni friends aren’t game, or maybe they’re distributed across the lands. But, did you know, unis offer lectures for the public? If you’re still in your old uni town, you could drop back in. If you moved, other unis open their doors too, so this is as good an excuse as any to have a nose around.

Most museums and libraries, even some art centres/cafes, also run lecture and seminar series, so check out the events around you. Maybe you could make some brand new learning pals. Meetup is an amazing hub of groups for like-minded individuals, so go check it for any local reading groups or interest groups in your neighbourhood.

Hit the books (at home)

While you’ve been paying £9k for your education, your university (and bazillions of others) have effectively been putting whole modules online, for everyone, for much less. Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) are generally free, can be completed from bed, and cover topics as diverse as machine learning to Roman architecture. Check out Coursera and FutureLearn for a taste of what’s out there.

Tech is a lucrative place to be a woman right now, so if you fancy sharpening up your logic and skills, whilst prepping for a career change/world domination, check out online coding courses. GA’s Dash and Codecademy are great foundations. The world is going digital, so prepare to speak the language.

If you want to dust off your GCSE languages so you can run away at a minute’s notice, check out local language exchanges, where you can practice chatting with a native speaker, or try Duolingo, an app that makes learning a language a (slightly competitive) game.

Relight your creative fire

Your creative and critical skills are so invaluable that you ought to practice them, especially if your job is unchallenging or uninspiring. Set yourself reading goals, even if it’s just keeping in touch with journals or articles related to your area of study. Carry a notebook or sketchpad with you, and write down any ideas that pop into your head.

Ideas breed ideas, but if you feel you’ve hit a wall, there’s ways around it. I nicked this one from James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself. The idea is you make a list of 10 ideas every day. It could be major, such as 10 methods for world peace, but it could be more light-hearted, like 10 ways to cure hangovers. By focusing your mind to think creatively by a problem, and by practicing this daily, you’ll help interweave creativity into yourself and your routine a bit more.

So there you go, my advice to you on how to stop your brain withering away once you’ve finished uni. Just remember, you made it this far. You got this.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

The Best Non-Fiction Books To Read This Autumn

How Many Of The Country's Favourite Books Have You Read?

'Room' And 5 Other Books To Read Before The Films Come Out

Follow Hannah on Twitter @_HannahBallard

Tags: books, University