Hello! I'm Alisha, I'm 24 and graduated in 2018 for the University of East Anglia... well sort of! My uni route wasn't the most common but I'll get into that in a minute. I'm currently a cover supervisor (supply teacher) in a secondary school and will be starting my teacher training in September. Bring on all the year 7s that are taller than me!
1. What are some of the highs and lows of university/graduate life?
A: I don't know about anyone else but after my A Levels I felt lost and had no idea what I wanted to do. I have since learnt that those feelings are commonplace for me when I end a part of my life whether it's school, uni or a TV show! Did anyone else have Normal People withdrawal symptoms? Asking for a friend...
So, I did the typical thing, I had a 'GAP YAH'. Then panic stricken with the idea of having to get a real job I started an HND in a subject I loved, performing arts. Very long story short I did a top up year and graduated. I left feeling like my uni experience wasn't as valid as others. I didn't go to a Russell Group university or even one real university! I didn't make lots of friends for life and I had to constantly explain that I have a degree from UEA but didn't go there, terrified that someone would ask me about a tutor or a notable part of uni life there - real imposter syndrome.
My point is, over the last few months I have come to appreciate my path and though it may differ from others, that's what makes me employable - a unique experience. I know you will have heard it all before 'don't compare yourself to others' and 'trust the process' but it's true. Those differences in experiences will set you apart.
2. What are your top 3 tips for graduates who are currently job hunting?
1. When applying for jobs, read the person and job specification thoroughly and make the qualities into a checklist. Note whether you have direct experience to fulfil the requirements or what transferable skills will be applicable. This will help you meet the criteria and also be prepared for the interview you will get! It's like a mark scheme *flashbacks*.
2. When you receive the invitation to the interview it is essential to remember they like you! The hardest part is done, now they just need to see that they can work with you. Be yourself. It's worth pointing out that if you are successful you do not have to take the position. Maybe the environment didn't feel right, and that is okay. You have to feel comfortable too!
3. This last tip may seem a bit odd but I like to dress in a way that I can see fitting for the environment. It is important to still be you and feel comfortable but I think it helps if the panel can imagine you in their workplace. Bonus tip - if you have a video interview, wear shoes. I promise you it makes a difference!
I really want to end this ramble with a reminder that you really do have so much to offer and the right job will come along. Also, I don't think you have to have a passion for only on industry. If you love your degree subject but fancy trying a job in a different sector, do it! You are not confined by previous study, it is all an asset to whatever area you choose next.
If you would like to feature on the blog and share how you beat the blues, please contact me!
My name is Katie, I'm 21 and I have just graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Media, Journalism and Communications. Whilst at university, I delved into a range of creative projects - including running Cardiff's lifestyle publication as Editor-in-Chief in my final year.
When degree and work at Quench Magazine came to an end I felt particularly lost and unsure about my future. I needed a creative outlet to express these uncertainties and thus The Graduate Club was born (@graduateclub). It was a way for me to create content and keep my mind busy, whilst also finding like minded people who were going through the same life changes that I was attempting to navigate.
Q: What were your reasons behind starting your Instagram page The Graduate Club?
A: I always like to have everything planned and structured so I know what to expect. I'm the kind of person who will Wikipedia the ending of a film I'm watching just ten minutes in (criminal, I know) so I don't have to deal with the stress of not knowing what will happen. In the weeks leading up to finishing my degree, my mind was so occupied by thoughts of meeting word counts and submitted assignments that the emptiness that followed really caught me by surprise. Unlike the previous 21 years of my life, where education was neatly followed by further years in education, I had nothing lined up and this terrified me.
Eventually, I stepped back from this constant feeling of panic and realised that it wasn't really helping me in any way. After speaking to some of my friends and putting a tweet out on Twitter, I quickly realised that I wasn't alone in these emotions and this provided a huge wave of relief. I thought that if I made my emotions public, those dealing with the same experience in silence might find the same sense of relief that I did.
Soon, the page grew from sharing my own story to sharing the stories of other people. I think that's what makes it so special as it really does demonstrate that there isn't one set route after graduation and you are free to navigate these murky waters in whichever way you choose.
Q: What are your top 3 tips for graduates who are thinking of starting an Instagram page?
A: For one, I'd say there definitely has to be something in it for you. For me, The Graduate Club has helped me conquer my emotional struggles and allows me to channel my feelings into something productive rather than let them run free around my brain - that's what makes getting up and working on it so enjoyable.
Secondly, remember to take time off! It's easy to get caught up in the Instagram whirlwind and want to spend every hour of every day creating content to the point where it becomes an obligation. Time away from a screen is just as important and can help you come up with more ideas in the long run.
Finally, interact with other accounts! There are so many amazing people with such creative ideas online. Rather than see it as a competition, I think it's best to view it as a collaboration. Help others, share their content and even work together on something between you.
Q: How do you deal with job anxiety?
A: I think it's important to have faith in yourself and your own abilities. Sometimes it's easier said than done but remembering what I've achieved in the past allows me to keep pushing through!
Also, like I said before, having a creative outlet is a great way to get things out or channel any anxious emotions.
Q: What will you miss most about university?
A: Definitely the people. I am from a small village in Devon so having friends living within walking distance was new to me and I loved that social aspect of being able to see anyone or plan anything with ease. I feel like at university there was always something good to look forward to.
Hi everyone, my name is Rosa and I am 22 years old. I graduated in 2019 from the University of Kent with a BA in English Language and Linguistics. Since leaving, I have gone backpacking (shock) and am now a blogger alongside job hunting!
Q: What are your top 3 tips for a graduate looking to start a blog?
A: My top 3 tips would be:
1) Do your research. It can really feel like a bit of a minefield at first. There are so many blogging platforms, niches, hosting sites etc and it can get a bit overwhelming when you're a novice to the industry like I was! I would suggest starting by grabbing a cuppa and watching some YouTube videos for general blog setup advice. I'd then move on to more focused research regarding creating a blog that is specific to your needs!
2) Start as you mean to go on. If this is something you see longevity in, then it's best to avoid taking shortcuts! There are bundles of free, quick fixes available if you want to get your blog up and running rapidly - however I do feel that these might not stand the test of time. I would have a long think about the appearance, features and content you'd like on your blog. This way may take time, research and even money, but will definitely save you lots of effort in the long run. If you do rush the creation of your blog, it may be a lot harder to swap everything over and change it if you do decide you want to redo it further down the line.
3) Try not to be afraid to put yourself out there! Admittedly, this is a lot easier said than done. I waited for years to have the courage to do it, I gave in when the fear became massively outweighed by my excitement to do it! Your loved ones will (hopefully) support you and any extra support and praise is a bonus, especially if you love doing it anyway!
Q: How did you start blogging? How did you come up with the name? What does your day to day look like?
A: I started it not too long ago actually! The idea was in the pipeline for years, so I had a fair bit of time to think about how I'd like it to be. Initially, I started reading other blogs for inspiration and then brainstormed everything (and I mean everything) that I wanted my blog to have.
Coming up with the name was definitely not as smooth sailing though. As they say, "you've got to kiss a few frogs to find your prince" - in this case it was about a million frogs i.e. laughable blog name ideas. It's very hard to get the right balance between pinning yourself to a niche but not limiting yourself. I eventually thought I'd quite like a bit of alliteration and from there, @therosaroom was born. I like how it's quite broad and gives me the space to chat about anything and everything.
My day-to-day at the moment is more similar to that of my two bulldogs that I'd probably care to admit. In lockdown, there really isn't much variety in what I'm doing! I do, however, spend a huge portion of my day typing out blog post drafts, getting pics for Instagram and carrying out general research on how to develop my blog. I absolutely love doing it!
Q: How did you feel about blogging when you first started in comparison to now?
A: I think the main difference is my confidence! When I first launched it, I was very apprehensive about what the reaction was going to be. Now I've got the hard bit out of the way, I really do feel so inspired to just be creative and not worry (as much) about the reception it's going to get!
Q: What do you miss the most about university?
A: Where do I begin? What a three years it was. I do miss the little bubble that University provides - friends around the corner, independence and not to mention the nights out. I'm glad to have left it on a high and have great memories to look back on though.
If you would like to feature on the blog and share how you beat the blues, please contact me!