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University Done, Now What?

While you’re rigorously studying for a Shakespeare exam, life after university and the working world seem so far away that you need not worry about them. But suddenly before you have time to even consider the future – your life is thrust into your hands and you find yourself with a degree and your whole life ahead of you.
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I find myself in this exact position. Except, unlike many of my fellow graduates, I had resourcefully managed to tailor every part of my university student experience to what I wanted to do when I left. That’s my top tip for any university student: Plan ahead. You may not know exactly what you want to do as a job, but you need to have an idea of the industry you want to enter. For me, I was intent on a career in media. Whilst at university I ensured every activity and project I undertook outside my studies was purely media related. I knew I needed extra-curricular activities that had a media thread running through them, because in the industry I wanted to flourish in, an English Literature degree just wasn’t going to make me stand out from the crowd.
Ashna Blog

It’s daunting, stepping out into this ‘world of work’ that old people speak of. I always imagined it as an ominous world filled with businessmen and women dressed in sharp suits from M&S and dapper shoes from Clarks. It seemed like a whole new universe of dreary routine and misery. But positivity is paramount in climbing the career ladder and it is with an open mind that I enter the next chapter of my profession.

There are so many paths available to you once the university portal closes. You can apply for a graduate trainee scheme, find a graduate job or continue with education. These are easier said than done, and all require a significant amount of time and effort. For many jobs and postgraduate courses you need to apply for these prior to graduating, this may add another level of stress to exam period but believe me it’s worth it. Some of my lucky friends had job offers before they even sat their first exam!

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Contrary to popular belief the job market is dense, if you look in the right places and make yourself out to be the hottest candidate on the market. Sell yourself and don’t sell yourself short. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished at university! It’s made you who you are today, and three years of independence has allowed you to blossom into a beautiful young, employable woman.

For me, I’ve chosen to commit to one more year in education. I’ve been itching to dive into this particular Masters course since I started my Bachelor degree. I’ve always known I’d want to become a Broadcast Journalist and the Postgraduate course I am starting in September I hope will fulfil that ambition. Continuing with education may not be for everyone, but my chosen course balances vocational, practical elements with theory and law – so I hope it will facilitate me to become an ethical, competent Asian, female journalist who is proud of her working class background.

I’m nervous and excited to start this new journey, but turning my back on university hasn’t been easy. I’ve often been guilty of looking back at photos from Fresher’s Week and of Googling the university name in an effort to reconnect with the place I loved so dearly for three years. Letting go is tough, and I feel some pressure to suddenly be a grown up. My life has spread it’s self out before me like a blank canvas and it’s time for me to pick up the paintbrush and start mapping out my journey.

Good luck to you all, and as Walt Disney once said – if you can dream it, you can do it.

Written by Ashna Hurynag
Follow Ashna on @ashnaJH

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Today’s perception of beauty

We now live in a generation powered by social media – every detail of your life can be viewed in a collage of photographs on Instagram and Twitter. Some find themselves pretending to do things to impress others, pretending to look like something they aren’t (with the power of Photoshop) as without this, we worry what others will say on the internet.
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We are socially driven, such a crazy world, in which opinions from someone we have never met and someone that lives in a different country can actually affect how we feel about ourselves! So many are afraid to show their natural beauty and if some are brave enough to do so, then others find a way to put them down. Even being a blogger myself, I feel the need for everything to seem to be perfect. When no one sees behind the scenes or what actually goes on… We place too much emphasis on our imperfections and should focus more on what makes us unique.

I’m very guilty, a bit of a hypocrite really, to say we should show our natural beauty when I touch up my imperfections! But overall, I actually am happy with myself and I’m starting to not be so bothered by others opinions. I try to understand why some people broadcast them more strongly than I, or others would.


Do you agree girls? We are all guilty of it now and then! We want others to see us how we wish we were. We are almost addicted to appearances and influenced by social media. A perfect example of this, the beauty industry: faces photo-shopped around the world. Not only do we do this to our faces, but we even want our food and newly purchased items to look beautiful by placing them in a certain way, using filters and nice backgrounds to make them seem better.

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In a way, I blame apps like Instagram for encouraging people to live an almost double life – showing off luxuries we can’t actually afford or have, being places we don’t fit in too and being people we aren’t. Everywhere we go we are surrounded by people on their phones, they are now part of our daily routine, we now wake up and check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram like a morning newspaper. We are highly influenced by it all as it’s so powerful, we believe what others show us and we act upon it, looking at some people’s Instagram profiles it would seem like they live the perfect life, but is that the case – We only show others what we want them to see.

What do you think? Do you use filters and Photoshop for your blog posts? Are you Instagram obsessed? –Let us know your comments below

Written by Jill Gourlay
Follow Jill on Twitter @IWearMyWages

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Career Wednesday: Tips on how to perform well in an interview

For the past two days I have been interviewing for a role within my team. This has involved me speaking with potential candidates for 30 minutes each back to back all day long! I have seen some great, good and bad interviews which prompted me to share some of my tips from the employers side as well as the candidate on-how to perform well during this daunting and stressful process

1. Get the handshake right: As soon as you walk into the room or meet your interviewer/s it is polite to shake their hand. People always say to ‘give a firm handshake’ however make sure you don’t break their hand or cause injury!

2. Make sure you do your research: Research the actual company and understand the job description. I saw a few candidates talk at great length about how wonderful they were and how they were perfect for the job but did not even mention our company name or where their skills fit with the actual JD. In addition if you are working with a recruitment agency make sure you understand exactly what their client is looking for. I remember a time when I got through to the final 3 for a job I really wanted and messed up because I misunderstood one competency of the type of person they were looking for. Had I ensured I had given examples or sold myself on that particular quality I probably would have got the job.
3. Obviously: Please remove, forget and deny this word from your vocabulary during the interview. Nothing is obvious to your interviewer-they dont know you or anything about your work. Never assume that anything is obvious as it could come across a little bit condescending
4. Waffling: I get it you are nervous, it’s your one shot to make an impression and do your best. However, make sure that you keep your answers concise and to the point. Bare in mind your interviewer probably knows within 3 minutes of talking with you whether they wish to hire you or not. Speaking at length unnecessarily will not change that and will just bore the interviewer.

5. Do you have any questions for us?: The answer is yes, yes YES! Make sure you do your research, think about the role, the company and the team and how and where you may fit in. Ask genuine questions about things that you may be curious about such as opportunity for growth/training, work culture, challenges and what a typical working day is like. You need to show the employer that you actually are interested in working for that particular organisation and are not just after a job.
6. Be Nice and Smile: Everyone is watching you. Do not assume because only one or two people from a company are conducting the interview that everyone else is busy doing their own thing. Make sure you are nice to security or the reception staff. My company and am sure many others actually ask the receptionist or other team members who may have spoken to interviewees if they were polite to them. If you are rude to the receptionist or cold towards other staff this will be fed back to the interviewer and you will get a CTRL, ALT and DELETE!

Hopefully you have found these tips useful and if there is anything else that you would like me to cover then please comment below :) Continue reading


Queen Bee Syndrome

Imagine you’re a bee. Oh come on, play along. Imagine you’re a bee, wafting around in all your yellow and blackness, annoying a few people, landing on a few flowers and vibrating in a generally irritating, buzzy kind of way. At the end of the evening, off you fly on your merry way to the hive, and behold! There she is, on her throne of honeycomb (do we reckon they have thrones?), humming away in all her glory –the Queen Bee. She’s dazzling, she’s regal, she’s practically…okay fine,I do have a point –I want to tell you about something called the Queen Bee Syndrome. Many women would love the idea of being at the helm of their very own hive, not for the honey, but for the power, the status etc etc, yes, we have those ego fantasies too. When we’ve smashed through the glass ceiling (with no help from the glass escalator) and managed to stop ourselves falling off the glass cliff (I can feel an irrational fear of glass developing…), you’d think we’d be sympathetic to our sisters who have yet to begin their glass-riddled journey. Maggie Apparently this is not so. Case in point –Margaret Thatcher. I don’t claim to know a lot about her, but what I find most interesting, is that for all her time in office, she did very little to improve the job prospects of women. The Queen Bee Syndrome suggests that when powerful women get to the top, they don’t want other women to follow suit, and will sometimes actively discriminate against their junior female colleagues –you remember the female boss of whom I speak… …it’s okay, you’re in a safe environment, deep breaths. In all seriousness – Queen Bees are a product of underlying sexism in the workplace. Historically, women trying to succeed in a “man’s world”have had to take on more “male characteristics”- cue the stereotypes of the “ball-busting”female CEO, who’s had to give up all sense of femininity in order to succeed. This adaptation to a more “male”style of leadership comes at great cost; the Queen Bee sees the men around her as a group she identifies with, making other women the “out-group”- in other words, the opposition. But why does there need to be an opposition in the first place? Another consequence of the gender inequality in the workplace. There is no belief that you can have too many, or not enough, men in the workplace; yet the lack of women has engendered a sense of competition. When I’ve attended group interviews in the past, I’ve never seen other men as my competition – always other women; is this because deep down I believe that only one woman could get through? Well, if that’s the case, it had damn well better be this woman – and so a baby Queen Bee is born. So what can we do about this? 1. Learn from your own experiences. If you have had a negative experience with a Queen Bee – remember those feelings. That old phrase “treat others as you would like to be treated”isn’t just a platitude – we could be the Queen Bees of the future. Or we could be something else. Something better. 2. Its not all about the Queen Bee. A more sinister side of sexism is the belief that one woman represents all women. It is not the sole purpose of a successful woman to make things better for those below her – we are responsible for our own destiny. Look at any such woman, and you’ll find she got where she is today with the help of men and women – just like other women should not be the opposition, neither should men. Learn from everyone – and be brilliant as a result. 3. Be yourself - the greatest victory for equality is that you succeed because you are you. Not because you are a woman, or because you have or haven’t encountered a Queen Bee. The worst thing about being a Queen Bee is that she is too busy worrying about either being like men in order to succeed, or preventing other women from stealing her crown. She doesnt get to just be herself. If you can succeed because of who you are, other women stop being a threat, and become a support – because of who they are. Just like that – no more Queen Bees! No rolled up newspaper required. Written by Martha Adam Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @marthamush


Highlights of our 2nd event of the year @ Teach First

Forgot to take any notes? Too busy grabbing onto every bit of inspiration you could?

We don’t blame you!

So we’ve helpfully prepared a handy selection of advice from our panellists to help you succeed in your goals.



-Katrina Arnold-

Success is…

ndidiBeing independent  

  -Ndidi Okezie-

Success is…

Leaving a lasting legacy 

that changes children’s lives


-Tami Hoffman-

Success is…

Making a difference


-Lara Oyesanya-

Success is…

Having health and happiness



Tip 1: Make the best out of your education – it’s free!

* What we gain from our education will completely depend on our commitment to our own self development. So remember that each choice you make can have consequences. Take control of your learning and don’t be disheartened by the effort required as “you will surprise yourselves by how clever you really are!” (Katrina Arnold)

* Keep an open mind towards deciding your GCSE/A Level subjects by exploring what things you’re good at, where there is high demand of jobs and most importantly what you enjoy doing. Make use of career advisors, teachers, parents and youth workers and don’t worry about not knowing the exact career path you’ll be venturing into. It’s a difficult decision but one which “only you can decide what’s right for you” (Lara Oyesanya)

* “A good education gives you an internal sense of confidence” not just in the workplace but in everyday life too (Tami Hoffman). It opens doors to new and exciting opportunities as you’re able to mix with different people with the feeling that you can make a positive contribution to something whether you’re in the boardroom or with friends.

Tip 2: Research your dream job – if in doubt, GOOGLE!

 * Google your way to your dream job by checking out not only the career you’re interested in but also successful women in the industry. Find out their background of how they got into their role and use their stories to motivate you!

Tip 3: Be a trailblazer – Don’t fear rejection!

 * Getting your dream job shouldn’t be determined by your fears. Tackle challenges head on by getting out of your comfort zone. This could be through networking (e.g. at our events!) or applying online for work experience/internship opportunities to not only develop your skills and confidence, but also provide you with contacts in your dream field of work.“Leadership and success really is about who you know, being tenacious and not waiting for permission” (Ndidi Okezie)

* Getting out of your comfort zone and speaking to professionals may seem like a huge fail waiting to happen, but realistically, it will be the only way you can move forward with your goals. Taking initiative of how you approach your dream job is crucial, so demonstrate your talent to employers by not missing out on an opportunity to prove your interest in that industry!

“Be really comfortable with the intent of why you’re doing something; don’t turn down the ability to influence simply because you’re scared” (Ndidi Okezie)

Thanks once again to our panel, Teach First, Plantas Shoes UK, Ciate London, Amor Magazine and Southwark YAs for their help in making the event happen!

Words & Photography: Dalia Kebire

Twitter: @daliakebire


Lupita Nyong’o Lands Vogue Cover

Lupita Nyong’o and her star status has just landed on another level with her being on the cover of fashion bible VOGUE! Lupita looks absolutely gorgeous in the American edition with her natural hair wearing this gorgeous purple and red Prada dress from their 2014 Fall collection.

Lupita talks to the magazine about her mind blowing year of success with her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress this past February 2014 to becoming a fashion icon and the new face of Lancome.

A few WHSMITH or specialist magazine stores in the UK will sell the American edition so go and grab your copy ASAP!

What do you think about her look on the July issue?