The TED Talks That’ll Get You Through The Next Few Scary Months Now You’ve Finished Uni

These next few months might be tough, but you'll totally get through them. Mainly 'cos you're ace.Illustration by Alex Coll


by Julia Kovnat |
Published on

Nothing. I repeat *nothing *is more terrifying than that sudden realisation after graduation, after the end of term ball, after all the last house parties people immediately regret as it's probably cost them their deposit, that university is over and you've got no fucking idea what the hell to do next. Juxtaposed with the feeling of jubilant elation you experienced just days earlier after you handed everything in, this time can feel like one of the darkest in your whole life.

BUT. Don't worry. Help is at hand. Plenty of people have been through this before and come out the other side and you will, too. And you'll end up doing something totally amazing. Here's some TED talks to get you inspired.

1. Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

*Eat Pray Love *might register quite high on your vom-inducing scale, but its author Elizabeth Gilbert has good things to say. In her talk, she speaks about the feelings of displacement and loss of self that come both from success and failure. After years as a struggling writer, with daily rejection letters, she found success to be just as shocking to her psyche as failure. Here, she explains how essential it is to find your way back ‘home’, or rather, to get over your failure, as well as your success.

2. Graham Hill: Less stuff, more happiness

Graham Hill, the founder of the eco-blog and vlog, talks about life editing as a way to a lead a happier existence. Here, he encourages everyone to get rid of the non-essential things: clothes you don’t wear, stuff you don’t use, books you won’t read again, etc. Hill’s talk is a short ’n’ sweet take on the ‘less is more’ mantra. Perfect for putting recent grads into the culling mood of the ‘young professional’ – a life of cramped flats and rotating workwear.

3. Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

As university graduates stumble into a world of job-title shaming, Alain de Botton, the founder of The School of Life, addresses the conflicting notion of meritocracy.

4. Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit

If you want to get some fire in your belly, then you need to listen to Angela Lee Duckworth. This talk focuses on a particular characteristic of successful students, and therefore should apply to graduates starting at the gutter of the career heap. After conducting various studies, Duckworth has significant evidence to prove that a talented person with a high IQ isn’t necessarily the most successful.

5. Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

The CEO of GoodThink Inc., Shawn Achor reveals what he’s learnt about positive psychology and gives simple, practical ways to become a more positive person. We believe that we should work to be happy, but Achor proposes that this could be backwards, arguing that happiness actually inspires productivity. This guy is just delightful and this talk will blow your cynical socks off.

6. Carl Honoré: In praise of slowness

Despite the oncoming stampede of workie applicants (internships are gold dust these days), Carl Honoré has proposed a life chill pill. This may sound like advice from someone who’s living in Dorset, but he makes a compelling argument for quality time over sardine-can moments.

7) My favourite talk (not from TED) - J K Rowling speaking at Harvard

Obviously it’s amazing/deep/mind-shifting; J K Rowling is talking.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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