August 18, 2014
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.
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.
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!
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