graduating in a pandemic

2020, career, student

Hello!

I feel like I haven’t written about ‘student life’ in a little while – once I finished my undergraduate degree and spent a year receiving rejection email after rejection email, going back to uni to do a masters didn’t feel like becoming a student again as much as taking a step back. I definitely haven’t felt like a student since I started my course but that’s a whole other kettle of fish (which is a very strange phrase now that I’ve written it down…).

I wrote a whole post about finishing my masters in a pandemic so I don’t want to repeat myself, but I wrote that post at the beginning of May and it’s now the beginning of August – a lot can happen in three months.

In terms of final dissertation deadlines and graduation, my graduation date was always going to be Summer 2021, as the course was intended to finish in September 2020 and my uni don’t do winter graduation ceremonies, so that hasn’t changed. However my final dissertation deadline has been pushed back by about six weeks, so I now have until the end of October. I was given the opportunity to drop my dissertation unit and pick it up again in September, finishing next May and still graduating next July, but the course has been so awful and with my project idea I could work from home without the resources of the university.

Oh how I regret that decision!

Kind of – I still don’t want the course to go on for the worst part of two years, but expecting myself to do everything from home including teaching myself brand new softwares, techniques, writing a dissertation essay (which I didn’t do for my undergrad)… that was a big ask and one that I’m not managing to keep up with.

But I didn’t want to write this post to complain about my dissertation – I wanted to talk about finishing a degree in a pandemic and the consequent graduate job market… or lack thereof.

I think back to 2018, I graduated with a really high 2:1, my lecturers and peers had all told me I wouldn’t struggle to get a job and here I was applying for probably over a hundred jobs in the space of maybe 6 months and not getting anything. It was soul destroying.

So applying that to a world that is on 80% salary, predominantly working from home and making redundancies left right and centre… I can’t imagine how much undergraduates are struggling when the job market is so significantly reduced.

I’m at the point where I’m starting to look for jobs, both because I need to financially support myself and my partner and because I want to start my career – I’m 23, I (nearly) have three degree level qualifications and I want to start building a life for myself. I want a routine and tasks to do that I haven’t set myself and work friends and to share ideas and go to meetings and answer emails and all the boring stuff! I’m sure it won’t feel nearly as exciting if I get there but right now? Working with a company for a purpose, rather than desperately trying to pull together a dissertation in the wake of an awful masters course sounds like a dream.

Do I know what I want to do with my career? Absolutely not. Do I know that I’m good at admin and organisation and diary management and would like to work in a creative environment? Yes, so that’s what I’m going with. But very few places are hiring. Unless I’m looking in the wrong places, any advice would be more than welcome.

Graduating is scary at any time – especially as an undergraduate, you’ve often been in education for about 17 years and not knowing what comes next can be equally terrifying and exciting. But in a year where you don’t get to wear the cap and gown, get nervous about walking across stage without tripping and say goodbye to your mates, I can only imagine how much more disconcerting it feels.

All I can say is my heart goes out to undergraduates with a degree and no graduation. And if you’re in that position and you feel like not being able to find a job is a reflection on your ability; it really isn’t, something will come in time but right now? We’ve just got to ride the wave; our time will come; and you’re still amazing.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

nothing is permanent, even unemployment

2018, lifestyle, student

Hello!

After graduating, the only thing anyone ever really wants to talk to you about is whether you’ve got a job, what’re you going to do next and what your plans are and when you don’t have a job or a plan it gets pretty boring and incredibly down-heartening.

That’s not to say I resent anyone who asks – it’s nice to know that people care enough to ask, especially my family – I’m mostly annoyed with myself for not having anything to update them on.

And it is disheartening – when you’ve spent three years working on something and you’re proud of your achievements and you’ve been told ‘you won’t struggle to get a job’ (maybe all lecturers say that to everyone) it’s hard to apply for some really exciting jobs and some jobs that you could do but wouldn’t love and some jobs just to pass the time and to get a new rejection email every day. Even my mum today used the words ‘soul destroying’ and she’s right.

This isn’t new information – I’m not the first graduate to feel like this and I most certainly won’t be the last, I’m not trying to be a voice and I’m not trying to pretend this is something new or original.

I’m just saying that if you’re feeling like this you’re not alone – being in this post-graduate unemployment slump can be incredibly isolating. After three years of living with your best mates, seeing your friends every day and living a completely independent life, for most students it’s moving back in with your parents, knowing that all your friends are scattered around the country and it takes more than just a Facebook message to see them. It’s lonely and on top of that you may start to feel like the universe is telling you that you’ll never get a job.

To be honest, I don’t know if I have any ‘tips and tricks’ to make this easier – we’re not going to be unemployed forever, no one ever is, I just don’t know what the next step is. However much I keep telling myself I’m going to be unemployed forever and I’m not good enough for the jobs I’ve applied for doesn’t mean it’s true – I’m not going to spend the rest of my life living at my mum’s house making food plans and uploading videos not many people watch and I know that not getting a job doesn’t mean I’m a failure and I’m useless.

Well, at least I hope it doesn’t.

I guess the thing I want to share (to make this a slightly less miserable post!) is this – I was chatting to a friend a few weeks ago, he’s just finished his first year and he said his biggest worry about finishing uni was ending up in a dead end job and I said words to this effect.

I mean, it’s hard to say either way – obviously I want to say ‘that won’t happen’ but I finished uni months ago and I still don’t have a job. All I can say is nothing lasts forever – I don’t think I know anyone who has been in the same job at the same company or even in the same career from when they’re in their early 20s to when they’re 60. Things change and move and you’ll change and move with them – nothing is ‘stuck’ or ‘dead end’ unless you decide to stay, so don’t worry about it too much!

Nothing is permanent, even unemployment.

Any advice (or jobs in social/digital media or along these lines) please do let me know! All my socials are linked below as always.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram