What did you do when you left Brunel?
My plan was to continue studying. I started Creative Writing: The Novel MA part time in September 2016. After I graduated I knew I wanted to work in the charity sector, ideally with children or young people, and the work and volunteering I’d undertaken my the summer breaks had given me a good set of transferable skills. I was fortunate enough to interview for a six-month internship in City Hall in London. Unfortunately, my interview skills were rusty and I didn’t get the job (although they did contact me later in the summer to tell me about another opportunity, so even though I didn’t get the job first time around, it opened up a door for me). At the same time I was also going through the recruitment process for a charity graduate scheme. I was then fortunate enough to be offered three jobs in quick succession: the grad scheme, a teaching assistant job in a school and events co-ordinator for a local charity. I chose the latter job as the job appealed to me the most, and it was 4 days a week, instead of 5, leaving me 1 day to attend lectures for my MA.
What are you doing at the moment?
I still work for the same charity, Groundwork South, as an Events Co-ordinator. I manage volunteers, staff and four different projects and run birthday parties on the weekends and am currently organising a large festival! The experience has been eye-opening and I’ve learnt so much. I’m halfway through my MA and starting to think about my dissertation subject and life after academia.
How have your career goals have changed?
I still want to work with NEET young people and use creative writing as a means of improving their self confidence and giving them transferable skills to help them into employment. I’d like to run my own NGO, and my plans for after graduating will be to volunteer (or work if I’m lucky enough!) for a charity with similar goals to increase my own knowledge.
I would also like to do a PhD, but I want to take some time away from study to focus on my career. Becoming a published author is high on my priority list, but I’d like to spend time writing for myself, rather than writing for a grade. I’ll probably join, or start, a writing club to mimic the feedback groups I’ve become so accustomed to in class, because their support is invaluable to a struggling writer!
How have you developed professionally, and personally, since graduating?
Professionally, in pretty much every way; too long to list! Personally, I am more confident. My job is really varied, and I’ve grown in confidence to try new things in my own life, not just when I’m at work.
Advice to recent graduates/students graduating soon?
Start job searching ASAP. Also, don’t be afraid to get a ‘filler’ job while you work out what you want to do. As someone who now has to recruit staff, if an applicant can prove that they’ve been actively working (paid or voluntary) then they’ll have a distinct advantage against the other candidates. It may feel like a step backwards to work in a minimum wage job after graduation but NO employer worth their salt will see it that way.
Also, talk to your friends and family about what you’ve been doing since you started university (and even before). Having a discussion about the nitty-gritty details is a great way to unpack the skills that you’ve learnt, but which you might not be aware that you’ve learnt.