It’s absolutely bizarre to me that it has now been 2 years since I graduated University. I still remember the feeling of handing in my dissertation it was as though every bit of stress, worry and hard work had been brought to the surface and within 0.2 seconds it was all over. The stress was gone and nothing but uncertainty and worries about what’s to come remained. When I graduated in 2017, I was so naive and determined to do well for myself and curate the life that I’d been dreaming of over the past 3 years. Now, I’m just over 2 years into my professional career and I’ve learnt a LOT os lessons along the way.
The Next Steps
As soon as you leave university, you get everyone and anyone asking you the dreaded question of what you’re going to do next and when you’re going to get a ‘proper’ job. The pressure that is instantly piled onto your fragile, post graduate plate is intense. I had the cleaners in the bakery I worked in asking me when I was going to do next and telling me that the industry that I’d chosen to go in was ambitious. Thanks babes, that was exactly what I needed to hear.
Luckily, they weren’t preaching to someone who was happy working my part time jobs and wondering whether or not I should do a masters. I set myself a goal. I needed to get my foot in the door within the digital industry and I waisted no time in doing so. Before I’d even officially graduated, I was attending job interviews in Manchester before I knew it. This was so exciting, however, being so determined and adamant to prove people wrong, I ended up working a fair few jobs that where massively underpaid and overworked, simply because I wanted to get my foot in the door.
The truth is, I should have given myself time to breathe. University is an intense few years and guess what, life is long and there was no need for me to rush into things. The pressure that I put on myself to find a ‘proper’ job (even though every job is a proper job, Karen) was not healthy and it was indeed complete strangers that made me feel as though I had to prove myself. My own mother told me not to rush and to give myself some time to enjoy the Summer. I was running before I walked, but at least I learnt that certain jobs and companies where not for me.
Anxiety Hell, AKA Job Interviews.
I remember the first few job interviews I went to so vividly. I remember feeling so nervous, as I’d only ever worked in retail and cafe’s. Luckily I had some great work experience throughout university within the role I was aiming to start my career in, so I knew I had to focus on that. The second job interview I went to, was for a job that I worked at for about a year and a half and it was the true epitome of hell, a group interview. I’d been to a handful of group interview previously for retail jobs, however, during this job interview I felt like a fresh spring duckling surrounded by lions.
Everyone at the interview had Masters Degrees and a resume of work experience and job experience I could only ever dream of. At the interview, I expressed all my ideas into the group and tried to think as creatively as possible. It was that whole ‘fight or flight’ situation and I was fighting to prove that I was worth it. Luckily I was and I was in disbelief for quite some time that I was offered the job role above the competition. It taught me that being yourself and expressing your assets is one of the best things you can do, even if you feel like crying in the corner and wondering why we can’t be children forever.
What I’d Tell 21 Year Old Me
It’s so bizarre because when you think about how long ago two years ago was, it really doesn’t feel like that long ago. 2 years is nothing in the grand scheme of things. But, within those 2 years my life has changed and evolved in ways that I would have never imagined. Although at 21, I’d been through my fair share of troubles, I never imagined it would get much worse, but my GAWD, it did! With all of that though, I’d love to tell my 21 year old self that I will learn so much over the next 2 years and I suppose if we’re not learning, we’re not growing.
I’d tell myself that I need to drop the fear of being a failure, because the failure that I’ve been through has only taught me to be stronger, take no shit and it’s lead me on to bigger and better things. Failure is never failure, it’s only a small bump in the road.
Sometimes I look at photos of myself from when I graduated and it’s just as though I’m looking at a completely different person. I almost feel sorry for 21 year old me, because of the journey she was about to embark on and she had no god damn idea how tired, sad and frustrated she would feel. With that said though, that doesn’t mean I look at myself now and see my battle wounds, all I see is what I’ve achieved and how my mind and soul has grown and adapted to so many new situations throughout the past 2 years. I guess is there was only one thing I could really tell myself was that, you’ll make yourself proud, no matter what you go through. After all, as the saying goes, ‘You Grow Through What You Go Through”