No Idea about a Career?
Being a final year university student definitely has its perks. If you’re like me, you and all of your friends have returned to your favourite city from a year away…
You’re all basking in the glow of your last justifiable year of eating beans almost every night (they’re really full of nutrients, you know), paying no more than £5 for a bottle of wine and staying up until 2am watching The Walking Dead on a school night. Your final year project is well underway and, despite the stress and late-night library sessions, you feel as though you’re FINALLY getting everything you want out of your higher education. However, by the time November arrives you begin to feel the “what are you going to do after uni” pressures. Fast-forward to Christmas and you can’t make it through a single get-together without at least one extended family member telling you how difficult the job market is these days. 🙄
Now, for those who are blessed with the gift of organisation, have a fully polished CV and plenty of work experience to back them up, these conversations with Aunt Brenda aren’t so daunting. If you’re more like me, however, they can send you into a downward spiral of panic, no matter how many times you lock yourself in the kitchen with the mulled wine and tell yourself, “It’s okay, no one knows what they want to do after uni!”
So, after one too many of these festive freak-out sessions regarding the potential destitution and unemployment hurtling towards me, in January I took a deep breath and booked an appointment with a university careers counsellor. On the day of my appointment, I virtually bounced into the careers centre, buoyed up on the hope of career prospects new. I was almost certain I would come away feeling reassured and ready to being my job search, and that all the worry I’d had about leaving it too late or being unsure about exactly what I want to do would evaporate at the kind and encouraging words of the careers counsellor. I couldn’t have been more wrong…
“So, you’re in… 4th year is it?” I nodded sheepishly, already detecting the disapproval in her voice. “And this is the first time you’ve come to the careers centre?” “Yes”, I murmured, spluttering out some excuses about my year abroad and being indecisive. The truth is, I always thought I had much more time than I did. I’d been too caught up in the whirlwind that is university life to think much about what would happen after graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always envisaged myself as a hard-working, successful woman who’s absolutely killing it in the working world, but I’d never stopped to give much thought as to how I would get there. I’d been looking online for jobs in the fields that interested me, but these days you need to have previous experience to even apply to internships! After half an hour of scrolling through the same websites that I’d already scrolled through and hearing a variety of judgmental comments- “You’re not going to be another one of those Arts graduates who ends up working in a bar, are you?”- I left feeling thoroughly defeated.
On arriving home that day after many hours of reflection, and many attempts not to burst into tears in the library, I decided that all was not in fact lost, and that I was going to prove her wrong. I sat down, pulled up my CV (dusted some of the cobwebs off it) and realised I actually do have some noteworthy skills. Since then, I’ve been applying for jobs and internships off of my own merit and the thought of graduation is no longer such a frightening prospect.
ArtsJobs has been incredibly helpful, as has Indeed, as they advertise for assistant roles and internships too. ArtsJobs prides itself on not advertising unpaid internship positions, so it’s a good place to look if you want to apply for paid work straight away. I didn’t take away much from the careers counsellor in the way of advice, but I did take away a desire to prove wrong everyone who had told me I’d left it too late to start thinking about my future.
Studies English Literature and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds
Lover of peanut butter, coffee and good books.
Currently looking to get her career rolling, whilst saving up to travel the world.