Sunday, 20 March 2016

Life | Life After Graduation...

I have been contemplating writing this post for some time now. I graduated from University in 2014 from Bath Spa University where I studied a BA in Fashion Design. I want to talk about how I now reflect on my University time and post graduation life.

My Final Collection - Blood, Sweat and Tears went into this!

I initially had mixed feelings after graduating, I didn't have a job lined up and I had to move back to home. This felt like a step back to be honest, but as most graduates find these days if you haven't managed to line anything up you cannot afford to live on your own. So back home I went and it was time to apply for as many jobs as possible. At first I did focus on Fashion jobs but slowly it became clear I needed to consider other options. Also, I wasn't sure I really wanted to work in Fashion after my degree, it didn't feel like it was for me anymore.

My first job after graduation was at a local University working for their finance call centre. This job was convenient for the time being and meant I had time to concentrate on applying for the Graduate Schemes I had in mind at places such as M&S, John Lewis and Fenwick. I was considering the retail side of Fashion at the time. It slowly became clear that applying for Graduate Schemes was a very full on process, with many online testing obstacles to get past before an actual person considered you for the scheme. Due to this, I didn't get very far as the tests were very difficult and it timed me about 20 mins to do 20 questions. When these questions are to do with maths that is quite tricky. Anyway, as soon as you don't make the mark thats it you've blown your chance, this was the same for both M&S and John Lewis. For other Graduate Schemes I needed a 2.1, which I didn't have I got a 2.2. It was all so frustrating because I knew that if someone gave me a chance and taught me how to do something in Buying or Merchandising I would be able to do it! I soon gave up on my chances with Graduate Schemes plus the whole process really put me off. It was extremely disheartening.

I started to think,  'What on earth did I spend 3 years of my life doing to have such a hard time finding a decent job at the end of it!'. Maybe I could of used my career department at my University more, but I don't know it was too late by then and I live in Kent and Bath is so far away it was proving difficult. 

At this point, my temporary job at my local University was coming to an end and I needed to find myself something else. While at University, I had worked at Paperchase and knew applying for Christmas Temp jobs was an option. I decided to apply for a few Christmas Temp jobs. I landed a job in the retail shop Fat Face, I thought great working with clothes this could be a good opportunity. Anyway, it didn't as I was a graduate and needed a full time job, I was less desirable to keep on after Christmas than a student needing a part time job.

After all this, I didn't have a job for a couple of months. I had a sort of epiphany you could say during this time. I decided, no, I don't want a fashion job, time to look for some sort of Admin Office work. I applied for several jobs, quite a few at the University I had been working at before. Eventually the office I worked for previously had a position for me and I have been there ever since. 

I wanted to tell this story as I still now am asked, "You studied Fashion, why aren't you looking for a Fashion job?", "Don't you want a job in Fashion?". "No, not at the moment. I'm taking opportunities as they come", is my answer. This is always followed by a confused look on the person's face. 

I want to share that it isn't a big deal if you end up doing something else to the subject you studied at University. University isn't necessarily a form of training to work in that industry like an apprenticeship is. It's about studying a subject you are interested in, simple as that.

I find that it makes me feel like a failure, when I know I'm not. I have a great job working in the finance department of a University, which I really enjoy. For me, I find I have transferable skills that means I like working in different areas anyway. I'm not going to set myself to work in one industry all my life. I want to experience different areas.

I would like to reassure anyone else out there who feels like this. Also, I would say if I could turn back time I would have asked for more help from my Careers department at my University. 

Fashion Design was a hardcore subject, a HUGE amount of work. The sort of industry where you would need to commit your whole self to it, which I realised I don't want to do. It would make me a very unhappy person. I want to enjoy life and be able to do other things. 

I hope this didn't sound like a rant, I have chosen to share my experience a year and half after graduation. I think young people put a lot of pressure on themselves when they don't need to. We need to enjoy life and not take the whole thing too seriously and regret it in the long run.

Thank you for reading, I really hope this reassures at least one person.

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