Chloe Howcroft on the pressures of final year

Recently, hearing people talk about applying for graduate schemes or jobs or masters at this point in time has got me going a little stir crazy, I’m thinking: should I be doing what they’re doing? Am I the only one not actively searching for such and such scheme with such and such employer? Don’t get me wrong, I am naturally a proactive person, and I love keeping busy around my degree – which I love. But when they say that the years go by so quickly, you don’t truly believe it until it really does creep up on you.

I remember freshers’ almost like it was yesterday, but fast forward two years and I’m already in my third and final year, writing my dissertation (or at least meant to be), and beginning to think more about what I want to do once I graduate.

Generally speaking, some say it’s easier for those studying a subject such as Medicine or Teaching to consider what they’ll be doing once they graduate, because they have a clearer path ahead of them. With International Development, or another social science discipline, it’s typically a ‘development worker’ role with lots of competition and almost too much choice, which can work as both an advantage and disadvantage, particularly for someone like me who is, even up until now, very indecisive. And that’s the point: you’re having to make what feels like life-changing decisions and choices right now.

At the crux of it, one fear of mine is not finding a job; the bigger fear is being in a job which I hate. While these thoughts have been swimming around in my head, and now arranged themselves onto paper, I have however received some well-sought advice from recent graduates about where they were this time last year and where they are now.

Veronika Simonova only recently graduated this summer with a 2:1 in Business Management. During this time, she has been interviewed numerous amounts of times, while hoping for that dream job and a place she can call her home. ‘Don’t listen to others. You are not others, they have different backgrounds, capabilities, expectations, aspirations. I was distracted at the start when applying for jobs as most of my schoolmates would have had jobs secured already through relatives, family business and such.’

Graduating therefore shouldn’t always be approached with rose-tinted glasses, as Simonova explains, it’s all about what you make of it. Clearly it is more than just a piece of paper, and we all have more to offer future employers, or masters’ admissions offices, or whatever else you feel you want to do with your life.

For now, I’ll be taking the Christmas break to spend some quality time with my family, and should an opportunity arise, I’ll jump on it. But jobs don’t just disappear simply after graduating, as other graduates have pointed out, and if some time is needed to find your feet, it shouldn’t reflect badly on your work ethic. Sometimes it’s easier to take time and reflect on yourself and what you have to offer in the world. As Simonova says: ‘Just be you. It might sound silly but it is actually true. Don’t try to sell yourself as someone you think they would like based on the job description. It won’t work. Be you, focus on what you are good at, and what it is that you want to improve on.’

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June 2022
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