On Wednesday 31 May I worked my last shift at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union, meaning ten months after graduating and nine months after beginning my first graduate job I was once again unemployed. This blog is now me trying to navigate graduate life, forging my path and staying sane amid debt, decisions and responsibilities.
I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2016 with £44,000 of debt and a degree in human geography (LOL). I had the best three years of my life at university; filled with wonderful friends, brilliant experiences and copious amounts of food and alcohol. Ever since I started university I’ve met many people who have questioned my decision to get wildly into debt for a qualification. What will a geography degree qualify you for? Is it really worth it? I recently got my first payment plan from the Student Finance Company shortly after becoming unemployed and I still stand by my decision to go to university. Yes I got a degree but I also developed professionally and personally throughout my time there. I am a significantly more confident and self-assured human now.
At university I got the opportunity to go to Singapore to study Chinese culture and language, I got a free trip to New York city and made some life long friends. I developed a passion for widening participation in education – ensuring everyone knows they can access university if they want it, (saying that I become ever more sceptical of its accessibility with cuts to grants and bursaries). I also became independent for the first time, washing my clothes, cooking my meals and managing my time. I became a self-sufficient human. Without being totally gross I think I found a part of myself at university. I found a place where I belonged, a place I understood and fit in. It was somewhere you could dance to the beat of your own drum and no one would care. I don’t think my drum is very unconventional but being around and meeting people from all over the world with hundreds of different stories really does something for your character and socialisation.
Then it ends.
You’re ripped from the safety and (questionable) comfort of your university life and thrust into adulthood. The university bubble you have been co-ordinating and invested in so dearly suddenly ends and you are somewhat alone to navigate your next adventure.
I consider myself quite lucky in that I had an idea of what I wanted. While at university I was involved with the Geography Society – responsible for sponsorship and publicity. This is where I developed an interest in marketing. So upon graduation, marketing and communication jobs were what I began applying for. I very surprisingly managed to bag myself a graduate internship as a marketing assistant at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union. This was amazing experience – I learnt so much about marketing and business operations and I’m still very shocked and grateful I got the opportunity to work there. However, all things come to an end and I was made redundant at the end of May.
Bringing us to present day, to me sitting on the sofa in my family home, listening to the dulcet tones of Ed Sheeran ring out from Glastonbury, typing my short graduate story. Now what? Not a clue. But I thought having a place to document my ‘path forging’ would be a good reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. Also a general space to document my life and ideas.
So for now I have no idea where I’m going. I’m cruising down the road with no signposts or destination in sight… but I am hopeful for the future and excited for my next destinati