going back to uni – am I a failure?

2019, career, student

Hello!

It’s been over a year since I handed in my Final Major Project and finished working on my degree which means I’ve been applying for jobs for over a year and I’ll be honest, it’s utterly soul destroying.

I’m sure other people in my position feel the same – it starts to feel like maybe you don’t have the skills you know you have, maybe you’re not good enough for any of these jobs, or maybe you don’t actually want to go into the industry you’ve been working towards or whether your entire life so far is a lie.

Or maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic?

Maybe I am, but those are just some of the thoughts I’ve had over the hundreds of jobs I’ve read through and not applied for because it would either just be added to the pile of ones I never hear back from or I’ll get another rejection email and that won’t help anything.

So with the help of the careers team at my old university, I’ve been given the opportunity to study a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Development Planning, which is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin – plan for my professional development (i.e. help me figure out how to get a job). And from there, depending on how the summer goes and unless I miraculously get a job, I’m hoping to start a masters degree at the end of September but I’m going to go to a couple of open days in June before I properly decide.

But is going back to uni just giving up on getting a job? Is the equivalent of saying ‘I know I can’t get a job without more training’? Obviously that’s just how I feel in my field of study – lots of courses have natural progression on to a more specified field including mine but for me there’s always that element of doubt.

So I thought I’d collate a few reasons why going back to uni definitely DOES NOT make me or you or anyone a failure and some things we can remind ourselves of whilst we’re still looking for the right job.

Getting more qualifications is never a bad thing – lots of people will do courses in the workplace, so it’s not that different to that really is it? In my unplanned year ‘off’ I’ve learnt to drive and become a qualified first aider so they’re other qualifications too, it’s just a larger scale much more expensive version of that.

It’ll make us more employable in the long run (hopefully) – having an MA to your name has to help a bit, doesn’t it?

I want to better myself and learn more and I would have done that if I got a job anyway – I love learning, developing my skills and keeping up with whatever changes in technology and I would have wanted to keep learning if I was in a career related job anyway. It’s just going about learning in a slightly different way.

I’m clutching a straws a bit I guess – it’s quite specific to be going back to uni because I can’t get a job and I’m sure most people going to do a masters are more than happy, in fact excited, to go back to studying because for them it’s not a last resort. And I suppose it’s not a ‘last resort’ – a real last resort would be giving up and deciding I’d work in retail or a job I don’t really want for the rest of my life. I probably won’t even be in this job I’m craving at the moment for the rest of my life so who knows why I’m being so dramatic about it all!

In conclusion (I’m getting back into the essay writing, can you tell?), going back to uni or studying a Masters or a PhD or whatever should never be something to consider a failure or be ashamed of. This post is as much for me as it is anyone else worrying about their future – even though it’s not quite going the way you’ve planned, it’s okay, something will happen, it’s just not our time yet.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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May Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

Another month, another post about goals! Although April wasn’t the best month for me, I made a really good dent in my April Goals and I’m ready to smash my May Goals too!

These one’s are themed mostly off my self-analysis from looking at my work experience and gaps in my CV so I’m going to start filling them. Let’s jump right into it!

  • write for something other than my blog – I love writing, I love creative writing and I love my blog but if I want to be a more rounded copywriter and get more work in the future I need to prove that I can write for publications other than my own! I’ve not done any research into this yet but whether it’s a local publication, a feature pitch or maybe guest writing on someone’s blog, I want to kick start building up a portfolio properly.
  • practice photography – last month I worked really hard on learning the basics of photography that I never got to grips with at uni and at the weekend I went to a dance convention at the weekend and I was really pleased with the photos I took, however I now know that I need a new lens. The kit lens has done me well but if I really want to start taking better pictures I need to update my lenses and get out there and practice!
  • develop work experience in marketing / get some more presenting experience – I’ve got lots of work experience at some amazing companies but it’s not too relevant to what I want to go into and whilst I’m in the fortunate position of having flexible work and living at home, I might as well get as much work experience as I can! I also want to see if I can get some more presenting experience – I love presenting and I really didn’t take the opportunities I should have at uni so I’m going to make my own now. Whether it’s doing my own little news projects, doing something a bit different or finding work experience elsewhere, maybe local radio or TV? Again, I’ve not looked into it much yet but I want to make a start this month.
  • finish project at work – I’ve got an ongoing project in my part-time work and I’d really lost momentum with it but I hit the realisation that if I don’t like how this project is turning out, I need to edit it to make it better and work till I don’t hate it. I need to finish it this month for sure.
  • lose 5 pounds – shock horror, I’m still trying to lose weight. I’m doing really well – I hit my last goal of being under 100kg and my next goal is to hit the 2 stone mark from my heaviest weight but 5 pounds is my goal for the month. I started the Couch to 5k this morning (probably a bit optimistic to start talking about it now!) and I’m feeling good about it all, I’m determined!

I’m really focused on making more progress this month – I don’t want to be too open and bare all but these last few weeks have been really tough and my anxiety has been a real pain in the ass and I’m trying my best to gently work through it. I can only try my best, but having these mini goals to concentrate on really helps.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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an unexpected year of progress | graduate life update

2019, career, student

Hello!

I feel like I will feel the need to write updates until the day I start a job or figure out a plan of what’s next!

It’s a weird balance because I want to document what’s going on in my life for me to look back on, but then I don’t want anyone who’s currently at uni to read and feel terrified that this is their future… but (how many times can I say ‘but’) there are other graduates in a similar position to me who feel reassured they’re not alone! This is what I think about every time I write or film on of these posts, if that gives any clarification.

So, disclaimer: this is my situation. I know a lot of grads who have jobs and many who don’t. It’s not to say that those who don’t have jobs haven’t worked hard and it doesn’t diminish the hard work those who have jobs also did. There’s no ‘luck’ in getting a job – those with employment put a lot of time and effort into getting their job, but there is being ‘unlucky’ as someone can put in the same effort and not be successful. Graduation can be so scary because it’s so uncertain and there’s no formula to certify anything, we can only do what we can. Disclaimer over!

Let’s go back to the beginning – I handed in my final assignment in May 2018, last year. I graduated in July. I started applying for jobs to start when I graduated in the February, so about a year ago now. I just kept applying for job after job. I had three interviews over the summer that were all unsuccessful. In September I started doing some part time work for my mum’s business but I didn’t properly commit because I was still hopeful something would work out. In November I had an interview for some freelance work which very quickly fell through. After the new year I went back to applying, I’m in conversation with my uni’s careers department who are trying to help me get a a job and I’m now doing two full days a week at my mum’s work.

So, I’m essentially no further along than I was a year ago except I have a degree and a part time job.

And that’s the literal update of what has factually happened.

Looking forward, /i’m going to keep working with mum, finish learning to drive, keep applying, keep researching a masters and figure out if I want to do that. I’m keeping myself busy but I can’t do this forever.

Outside of the practicalities, in myself I’m not in the best mental state. In November, things really picked up for me emotionally even though I was facing rejection after rejection. But these last few weeks where I’ve been trying to budget and pay for driving lessons and bus fares, it’s been really rough. Thinking about why I’ve been rejected for so many jobs, obviously I start thinking about how maybe I’m really not good enough, I’ve wasted my time at uni and I should just give up completely.

But what really helped was a call from my university’s careers agency (shoutout to Aaron from Solent Futures!) for reassuring me that I’m qualified, I am good enough and it will happen.

Even though I’ve been job hunting for a year, I’ve actually learnt so much and had the time to try things I wouldn’t have if I’d gone straight into a job. I’ve started learning to drive and I absolutely adore it. I’ve gone back to the dance school I spent most of my teenage years in and I volunteer on reception which has taught me a lot of really valuable skills as well as getting to go back to tap classes, I don’t know if I can find the words for how much I love them. Doing office work for my mum has taught me lots about admin and being a PA. All this time without full time commitment has meant I can continue working on my blog and YouTube channel and have time to figure out what I actually want.

I’m trying my best to think positively – giving up isn’t going to get me a job or improve my mental health. Hard work and self belief is – I’ve got to empower myself because right now, it’s all I’ve got!

So overall, I’m struggling but I think I’ll be okay in the long run. If you have any questions about post grad stuff or job hunting please do let me know!

I have a question too – I was considering writing a post about my favourite instagram accounts at the moment? I really want to share the love but not sure whether to do a post or insta stories, so please do let me know!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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