With my last ever university exam looming on Wednesday, I thought it might be time to discuss what on earth I’ll be doing when everything is over! I’m getting very nostalgic at the moment; I have to be honest, this is a really strange time with a lot of unexpected/conflicted/strange/sad feelings, although of course I’m also really enjoying these last few weeks with my friends. The thought of the future is terrifying!
I live in Manchester, so my first decision when it came to ‘what next’ was whether I’d be moving home or staying in the East Midlands. I soon realised that moving home wouldn’t be a good decision for me, so then I had to think about what I could potentially see myself doing in Leicester. I’m still not 100% sure where I’m headed, so I decided not to apply for graduate places when the deadlines came round in January because I didn’t want to tie myself to something without knowing that it was something I could realistically see myself doing for at least the next 5 years. That means that a lot of my decision making has taken place over the last couple of months.
I decided that because moving into the ‘real world’ is quite a big step, I didn’t want to be dealing with a new city at the same time as getting to grips with a new job, so I soon decided that I’d be aiming to stay in Leicester. My original plan was to apply for a graduate position at the university, as these places don’t require preparation for/the application until June-July, and I’ve enjoyed my time at the university and can see myself being happy working in such an environment. So I looked into a scheme run by the Career Development Service called ‘Graduate Gateways’ (click on the links for more information).
It turns out that this is a scheme which helps people try and find graduate positions in small/medium businesses, as well as in the university, and helps prepare them for applying for such roles. The scheme also has the option for you to think of a place you would like to work at (it has to fill the business requirements of the Gateways scheme) and then the scheme will try and broker an arrangement for you. I think it’s a really great opportunity, and I was really interested in this. I think it’s perfect for people, like me, who have bits of extra-curricular experience but not previous experience from say an internship, so have a gap on their CV of relevant experience to jobs they might want to apply for. The Graduate Gateways scheme helps fill this gap by providing opportunities to gain this ‘real work’ experience and develop transferrable skills which are essential for future job applications. In order to participate I signed up for a preparatory workshop which went through things like how to act in an interview situation, and gave me the opportunity to talk to other people who wanted to utilise the scheme about their experiences of job applications so far.
So I would definitely advocate this scheme. I also got an email today informing me that there is a Summer Fair on 9th June, where there is the chance to speak to employers who are actively recruiting. A representative from the Gateways scheme will also be there. The Career Development Service also proof reads CVs/applications, runs mock interviews/assessment centres, and gives career guidance appointments which can even be done over Skype, so you can still use their services once you’ve moved back home. All in all I feel there is a lot of support when it comes to applying for jobs, which is very reassuring.
However, ultimately I decided not to pursue this path. I had been mulling over for a while the idea of doing a Masters, but I disregarded it because I wasn’t sure I was good enough/would be able to afford it/ it would actually be useful. But whenever I tried to plan my next move I always ended up coming back to this nagging voice saying ‘but you want to do a Masters’… So I decided that that’s what I’m going to do. I have applied for an MA in Modern Literature at Leicester and have been given a conditional place, and I intend on applying for a Career Development Loan as a way of funding my study. The plan I am interested in only lets you apply 8 weeks before your course starts, so I haven’t got my application together just yet, but that’s one of my next steps. And yesterday I went to look at potential flats in Leicester- luckily I have a friend who is staying on next year, so that’s who I’ll be living with. The university does also have accommodation available, so even if I hadn’t known anyone I’d still have been ok, but it’s nice to have someone who I already know and things.
So that’s ‘what’s next’! I’m finding things pretty scary and overwhelming at the moment, but also pretty exciting. I’m mostly focussing on my last exam, but will be going into a sorting out frenzy once that’s out of the way, to get everything in place for doing the MA. This post has been a bit personal in terms of this being my specific plan, but I thought it might be helpful to hear about one of the routes available after graduation 🙂