After four years of university, university is over. For me, two countries and a BA in International Relations, and I’ve realised I have no real idea about what I want to do with my life. Okay, that is a slight lie, I do have some idea of the career path I want to follow. However, that realisation only came at the beginning of the year when I was scrolling/stalking on Instagram.
Four years ago the plan was to study Economics at the University of Kent, flash forward four years a messed up A-Level grade, clearing, changing what degree I wanted to do, and what university I would end up at. Now, at nearly 22 and in just three weeks time I will be graduating for the University of Essex with a degree in IR, Including Year Abroad. Yes, the year abroad part is very important, and I like to vigorously highlight that fact that I studied abroad in Canada for an academic year (cultural, adaptability, flexible, self awareness, self reliance etc – you get the point). If the plan in 17-year-old Alicia’s head had gone to plan, then July 2018 would have been the year I graduated, in a degree that I probably never wanted to do in the first place.
So I have finished university, now what? For me, I know I want to go into media, PR, and communication. The dream would follow that career path into a Premier League football club, however, four years of a political science degree hasn’t exactly given me the experience that I truly need. In addition, I have no experience in journalism or social media. Yes, I have always had a passion for writing, and my blog has acted as a way to express that, however, that is not necessarily the experience that businesses want. In addition, I only realised I wanted to follow this path back in January. Long story short, I was stalking a Manchester City player and ended up on the profile of a social media producer at the club, which I had no idea was an actual job. (Like Alicia, who did you think ran the social media accounts of basically every single business in the world). Then I started looking on LinkedIn, researching roles, researching people within that career and what they had done to get them into the career. The next step for me is probably one of the hardest.
The question is, do I want to go and get a masters in media, communications, digital marketing, or PR? Do I try and hunt for a graduate job within the field, knowing I will be up against applicants who probably have more experience than me? Do I try and get volunteer, or short term internships within the field but not within the career sector I want to be in? I see plenty more opportunities for internships within the beauty and fashion sector, but as much as I love beauty and fashion, I don’t see myself within that sector.
Just a few months back, well around October 2018, I was the one searching high and low for graduate jobs for the following September. From career fairs to target jobs, graduate jobs, LinkedIn, and the countless other job boards, I applied for a few. My first thought was to apply for jobs in the political sector, mainly government jobs. In fact, I actually went to an assessment centre, passed the interview and the written assessment, but failed the role play. Although I studied Drama at GCSE level, role play for a job is weird and I had no idea what they expected nor what they wanted out of me. Then I started to look at accountancy jobs. No Alicia, you don’t want to be an accountant or a lawyer no matter how much you binge watch Suits. Then you end up in the circle of graduate jobs; business analysts, consultant, you get the gist. All the big firms, and banks offering graduate jobs that thousands apply for me. Looking back, I probably only applied for graduate jobs because of the pressure and stigma to get a graduate job. Well here I am, three weeks from graduating and no graduate job to start in September. In the words of Love Island 2019, it is what it is.
Here is the view from an Assessment Centre (not the government one) back in December. Lush views of the Thames and the Tower of London – however, the said business never actually got back to me. So i’m guessing I didn’t get the job, was lovely to not get a response though.
Part of me wishes that I had a professional graduate job to start in September, think smart suit and working in the city, but part of me realises that that isn’t me. I want to go into a job, that isn’t just a job. I want a job that I enjoy. Thus, in the last four months or so, I have been applying for jobs that I probably don’t have the skills, qualifications, or experience in, but as I have been told countless times ‘the answer will always be no if you don’t ask – or apply for that dream job’. I have also started to put myself out there. I think I have emailed almost every Football Club in the Premier League, Championship, and then football clubs that are geographically close. Some have been lovely, and sent me a little email in response, normally stating that they can’t take perspective CV’s/ cover letters, or there are currently no positions available. Others have been ‘oh we will send your CV on to the right department’. Obviously not in that voice, or wording, but you get the point. Others have just ignored me.
They say that getting a degree will open up doors for you. So far no doors have opened, and I’m spending my Monday morning living the life of luxury – blogging, going for a run, yoga, a lovely homemade brunch – when actually my bank account does not reflect the current lifestyle. Albeit, I have just worked the last five days all day in a men’s fashion store, and oh my how nice it was just to relax, have a lie in, and know I don’t have to deal with the lovely customers of Clacton on Sea. Some are lovely, some are arseholes, mainly arseholes though. For me, I would love to be out right now, gaining experience in communications, digital marketing, PR, social media in the world of sport, or in another industry, but it is hard to get that experience in the first place. Instead, I’m keeping my eye on Spurs Twitter in case they announce a signing of a player (lol, can you believe it has been over 500 days), and scrolling through Instagram getting jealous of influencers and others on holiday or partying it up in Ibiza – like can I join please? So until I find a graduate job, at least I can focus my time on my blog, sleeping, and as much as I want to leave, working in retail.
So if you have just graduated, or graduating in the next few weeks, there are thousands of us in the same position of not having a graduate job and on £25,000 to splash into come September. Some maybe thinking about masters, others may go off exploring the world, or starting their own business. At the end of the day, you have a degree, and that is a pretty remarkable thing, and you should be bloody proud of yourself for that. Lastly, on that note, Good Luck!