A diary of a recent graduate.

“What’s your plan? What’s next?”

The dreaded questions faced currently by zillions of graduates around the country. We’ve finished our degrees; hopefully we’ve done well. Three years of our life has built up to this moment. We’re graduating! Now what? Suddenly we’re meant to know. Do I want to run the BBC? Do I want to freelance? Do I want to create media with children? Do I want to work in prison radio? I DONT KNOW! Maybe I want to do all of them. Can I do all of them?

There’s so much expectation on us, especially when you’ve done well. Which I have, I’ve done fabulously, so I’m supposed to easily get a job right? I’ve got a First so I’m obviously I’m meant to have my life sorted? Wrong!

I’ve started to dread any social gathering, talk instantly goes to my career or future plans. Since I don’t know what I want to do, different people get different answers. I usually lose the ability to make eye contact, break out into a bit of a panic sweat, and mutter whichever answer I’m feeling that day.

Through all these awkward conversations I have moments of calm where I realise maybe I don’t need a plan, maybe I need to fight all urges to make a plan. It doesn’t matter if I don’t know where I’m going to be in 5 years time, perhaps that’s the exciting thing. For now I’m going to plan one month at a time. That’s my plan, it’s rather liberating.

(A tip for those of you who know people that have just graduated – ask us what we’re doing right now, in this moment, not what we’re doing next. Thank you.)

I have a job, a REAL job.

Okay, so I’m acting like I’m a lost sheep with no structure in my life. I have some. I have a part-time job, two days a week with Threshold as an Events and Communications Assistant.

When I finished University, I had the ‘I have no money, must get a job’ panic. I’m not good on a budget; I like the finer things in life like meals out and massive supermarket shops. Okay, so maybe it’s not so much the finer things in life, it’s more food. I like food – a lot. So I had to find a way of funding my need to visit a supermarket daily.

I struggled with trying to work out what kind of job to get. Should I try get an industry related job that probably wouldn’t pay much but it may help me work out what I want to do, or should I get a 9-5, any type of job, where the money would be good but would I have time to do creative projects?

I decided to apply for a variety of jobs in fields I was interested in, mainly media jobs, but all jobs with short contracts. I wasn’t ready to commit to something for more than six months (one year at a push). A lot of people didn’t understand this. They’d ask me why I wouldn’t apply for a longer position; surely I could leave at any moment. For me, I was worried I wouldn’t leave a job if I got comfortable. So short-term contracts were essential. My plan was to test the water of lots of different areas to see which felt right for me, or at least so I could eliminate options.

It took me some time to master the job application process; it’s tricky to sell yourself. I managed to secure myself a few interviews. One was for Threshold. The interview was a blur, I vaguely remember talking in detail about my love of notebooks and lists. Turns out I was what they were looking for and I got the job, much to my surprise. A love of stationary can get you places.

I’m an official Sprout Social fangirl.

So for a few months I’m employed. I spend my days colour co-ordinating schedules and databases, blogging, writing social media strategies (yes they really are a thing), building flat pack fans and lamps (I’m a PRO) and researching all kinds of things (mainly the soup of the day at Pret). I’ve also discovered that I’m actually a massive web geek. Sprout Social, Trello and Mailchimp – I love you. Please don’t ever leave me. I now can’t imagine a life without graphs showing my social media “influence” or not been able to colour co-ordinate my online lists, or even worse, sending a newsletter and not receiving a hi-five from Mailchimp.

Until next time,

Catherine xo