SO I’ve been a bit quiet on here recently which is a bit weird because I am never ever quiet! but hey, I’ve been a bit of a busy girl!
A couple of months ago, you heard how hard graduate life is. How you’re bombarded with emails of ‘you’re over qualified soz’ or ‘sorry you don’t have enough experience for this position’, and you feel incredibly stuck. You feel like you’ve cried, eaten and read your life away at uni just to be met with big fat nothing at the end of it.
You also heard how I’d given up the only job that was giving me enough money to live on. Yup. I decided, after 5 years, that I would swap my stable income for a 5 hour journo related internship. I’d be lying if I hadn’t regretted that decision for a minute or so, simply because I’ve never really settled for slumming it. I’d be lying if I hadn’t thought about running back to my anti-social bar job that gave me no motivation, no mental stimulation and that sucked the life out of me. I did for a while, but my word I don’t now. What was I thinking eh?
Sometimes we do things for the sake of doing it, sometimes we do things out of sheer stupidity (I’m sure we’ve all done stupid things when we’ve been blind drunk. I have. I have sinned) and sometimes we do things because we don’t like settling for less than what we want or deserve.
There was once a time where I was willing to settle for that anti-social, anti-progressive; just god damn awful bar job. Where I’d settle with my little crappy degree grade and end up pulling pints for the rest of my life. That was an option, surprisingly. Well, that until I realised I’d not worked through life’s obstacles to actually graduate (no matter what the grade), to then do absolutely nothing with it.
Sometimes we make the craziest decisions, sometimes we regret them but most of the time they will reward you with everything you’ve ever wanted. I’m one of the lucky ones.
So after releasing myself from a job that was draining me of every little ounce of happiness I’d ever possessed, I threw myself into everything. I threw myself into my little five-hour a week internship, I threw myself into writing for everyone and anyone, I took up a voluntary position working in radio and I applied for anything and everything I could get my little journo paws on. I had no money but I had something that I hadn’t possessed since graduating university, I had motivation, determination and for the most part, I was happier. It was like the mundane weight on my shoulders had been lifted and although I was doing everything for absolutely free (minus my lovely little internship!), I was doing something that made me tick again.
With my new found motivation, (and backbone, I’d started to give up hope on ever landing a job in the field), people begun to notice me. My ‘free’ work had begun to pay me in the form of contacts, more writing jobs, more internships and eventually: job offers. (Yup! I finally got a job that allows me to sit with a cuppa, chuck some music in and write my life away!)
I guess what I’m trying to say is, take everything that get’s offered to you. Quit that job if it sucks the life out of you. I used to think getting a degree was enough (that being before my university plan ballsed up and I ended up spending five years trying to get there). I used to think that I’d get a job straight out of university. I guess I kind of expected it; but if these last few months as a grad have taught me anything, is that you have to earn your place in this world. You need to work hard. You need to do stuff for free. You need to get yourself known. You need to stand out. More so; you don’t get handed your dream job straight off, it’s all about the little steps you take to get there. If you’re expecting to come out of university and land that BBC Wales Today news anchor job straight away, you probably won’t, not yet anyway.
But how do we stand out eh? I’m still asking myself the very same question. A very lovely lady at the BBC told me last week that standing out is all about finding your niche, getting people to notice you and immersing yourself into any opportunities that get handed to you. If anything, make your own opportunities. Email that person and introduce yourself, ask all the questions and just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Being accurate is crucial but being bold and being yourself is key. Don’t be afraid to tell that very scary news editor ‘yes’ and just go for it. (Having a respected journalist tell me that she reads my little blogs actually made my day. Having her know my name before I introduced myself, that was even better)
I quit my job because I was fed up of being a nothing. I was fed up of wanting something and not having the courage to go out and grab it by the horns. I was worried that without my active presence in the media world, I would join another bunch of graduates that aren’t doing anything with the degree they worked hard for. That’s not me. I will be noticed and for once, not for being the girl with the excuses.
So if you feel like your graduate life is mundane and that your ambitions are a lifetime away; quit that job, be sad and skint for a bit and get out there. Don’t waste your life pulling pints and telling the locals about that time you trained to be a journalist, go be that journalist and go be that person you’ve worked so hard to be.
So apply for those jobs you’re not going to get, write that article you’re not particularly interested in for free, go to that networking event, go without a night out on the town so you can afford your train fare to go to that work placement. It’s all about compromise and it’s all about sheer hard work.
No one else is going to get there for you. You need to pick yourself up from the post graduate life hangover and do it for yourself. Work hard, work even harder & you’ll get there, eventually.
I’m never taking the last five years for granted again.