Tom’s Manchester Life: student vs graduate

Manchester street with tram and people

As part of our Manchester Life series, we’re asking recent graduates who have decided to stay and work in Manchester what it’s like to be in the city as a working professional, compared to their time spent here as a student.

Today we’re in conversation with Thomas Allanson, a 2018 Social Sciences graduate who now works as a Foundation Programme Administrative Assistant in the School of Medical Sciences, here at The University of Manchester.

On deciding to stay in Manchester after finishing uni:

I love Manchester. Towards the end of uni it felt like it was somewhere I could live long term. I was lucky enough to be offered an internship soon after I graduated so I never actually moved back home and I’m still here to this day. Manchester is an ideal city on an internship/graduate wage because it’s possible to find a relatively cheap place to live and enjoy your disposable income on all the city has to offer.

On the advantages of working in Manchester compared to studying here:

It’s been 2 years since I graduated and I’m still finding new places to explore. As a student, I barely left Fallowfield and Main Campus, whereas now I often travel around the city and further afield. It’s surprising how well connected the city is and how easy it is to get to new places that I never would have thought about as a student. Being able to afford to enjoy the city is a big advantage. I’ve been able to enjoy a lot more gigs and events in the city thanks to having a bit more money to spend!

On the surprises of graduate life:

In my first year as a graduate I lived in a house share that was a mix of both students and full-time workers which was challenging at times because it often felt like I was still living a student life but with a 9-5 job. That being said, it was a really fun year and we got on well as house.

Having only ever worked part-time as a student, adjusting to a 9-5 job was surprisingly unusual. The lifestyle is completely different and I found that there was significantly more routine in my life than there had been as a student. I found that having free weekends with no essays or weekend shifts hanging over me was a revelation I fully embraced!

On maintaining old friendships and forging new ones:

The biggest challenge I found, particularly in my first year when I still knew many students at the uni, was balancing a social life with full-time work. You will be on completely different schedules to your student friends and it’s surprising how physically tiring full-time work can be sometimes. It’s important to strike a healthy balance, which for me meant not forcing myself to keep up with my student friends. I would recommend joining sports clubs or finding social hobbies to make friends beyond work and uni. I joined a weekly running club that finishes at a pub and it’s been a great way to meet people.

For more information check out our guide on finding work in Manchester, and Manchester Graduate Talent. Remember, you can continue to use CareersLink (and all our services) for up to two years after finishing your studies. Find out how to search for Manchester vacancies on CareersLink via our short tutorial.

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