Postgraduate Life

The world is your oyster! Your degree will open doors for you! You will be more employable!

The comments you get before you go university, the comments you get while at university, but soon the rhetoric changes… You get comments like ‘the job market is hard right now’, ‘you don’t have enough experience’ or the worst thing of all, absolutely no acknowledgement at all.

I never realised graduate unemployment was such a touchy subject, but apparently it is and nobody really wants to discuss it. Unemployment is the harsh reality of life, everyone goes through periods of unemployment, redundancy and compete hopelessness, and yet we are trying to convince people they should feel ashamed if they haven’t found a job right away. We pin all lifes achievements and all measures of success on whether or not you have a job in that exact moment. The fact you may have just completed a degree, or been employed less than a week ago seem entirely irrelevant if when asked you can’t immediately give a long boring explanation of what it is you do for a living.

The pressure to be employed, the pressure to be successful, the pressure to move out and move on are exceptional. Everything must move 100 miles per hour and if you can’t keep up, if you can’t secure a job straight away then you are failing. This ridiculous idea that having a degree earns us the right to walk into a job when there will be someone who has worked for 3 years doing hard graft in that field during the time its taken us to secure that piece of paper is unrealistic. We are given these unrealistic expectations, this superiority complex and when we get into the real world, when school abandons us and we realise we aren’t these special people with skills and qualifications. No. In fact we have to start at the bottom because we have no experience of what it means to be an adult, or work in an office or actually work in the field we have spent 3 years writing about.

We need to manage our expectations of what postgraduate life looks like, because its not the series of open doors we have been promised. Its competitive, and we are the underdogs because we don’t have the years of commercial experience, but what we do have is proof of being educated and the ability to learn, and we have to milk that for all it’s worth. We need to stop sending kids off to university with the promise of employment, we need to sell them education with the realistic understanding that when they have completed it they can join the job market at the bottom and use that education to progress quicker up it. We need to tell them that it may take months and months of searching, of being ignored, of failed interviews and countless applications before the first sniff of a job is on the cards, and that we need to save some money up for this period while at university. That we need to be building those CVs and gaining that commercial experience while completing our degrees, that university is a crash course in life and life means working, not just in the library but in the office and the cafe.

So yes, this is a rant about my unrealistic expectations from when i left university and what i have learned 2 years on. That life is hard. That i am still unemployed. That my degree is not worth as much as the 3 years of work experience i got alongside it, but that it does push that glass ceiling a little higher and make my climb up the ladder quicker than my counterparts without the degree.

 

 

Side note:

I got offered a job today, and yet here i am writing this rant because i am debating whether a passion and love for a job is enough of a reason to take a huge pay cut, and i blame my unrealistic expectations for making a dream job less appealing because it doesn’t fulfill my salary expectations.

Reflections On My Travels

So this is a long overdue post! I promised it a while ago and as per usual life got in the way and i lost motivation and time. So here it finally is, less of a story of my travels as much as it was planned to be, and more of a reflection on the last year of my life.

So lets flash back to the summer of 2016 when i quit my perfectly reasonable job in IT and decided to travel to the other side of the world, to what i expected would be the sunny, chilled and beautiful New Zealand. In reflection, only really one of those was the case and it certainly wasn’t the weather! I packed up my little life in London, dragged my boyfriend straight from finishing his masters degree and we took the grueling 24 hour trip to paradise.

We had a 2 day stop over in Hong Kong and met some incredible people who would stay with us throughout our trip. Hong Kong beautifully broke up the flights and was a lovely start to the adventure of a lifetime. I wish we had the money and sense to have done a similar stop over on the way home because 31 hours straight travel was ridiculous. Not impossible, obviously, but definitely not something i will be signing myself up for any time soon.

When we arrived in New Zealand, we were faced with a few things we hadn’t really considered. First and forever the most shocking was that it wasn’t always sunny and hot in New Zealand, in fact the weather is basically England on a much more extreme scale. We arrived in Auckland on a gloomy overcast day, to check into a dorm room in a hostel just off the main street. It didn’t occur to us that we would be in a dorm, or that obviously that’s what happens when  you stay in a hostel. So that was a travel shock, the reality of having to share every inch of space and time with strangers. We quickly moved to private rooms in hostels after leaving Auckland, to minimize the awkwardness for us and for everyone else.

So our travels really began when we boarded that bright green tour bus that would be our home away from home. We traveled north to the brighter bay of islands, where we got to see dolphins and sit on the beach and really experience those minutes of holiday and travel. Including the diabolical alcoholism and mischievous activities in the early hours, which made great conversation on the bus the next morning. We made our down the north island to wellington. We sand surfed, caved, luged, spent a night in a Maori village, sat in a natural hot pool on the beach and of course basically drank ourselves out of pocket.

We arrived in Wellington to pouring rain, and yet it felt like we had come home. We spent the night in a hostel before spending two weeks with a distant relative of mine, who became like our mum and took care of us when we needed someone. That will be one of the things i treasure, building that relationship and having that love of family even when you are as far away as you can get from home. Wellington is where we set up our lives, made friends, got jobs, moved into a little flat, really lived like the kiwis do. And it was one of the best experiences of my life. That little flat will forever remain in my heart, as will the people and those gorgeous streets and views as you walk through Wellington and along the harbor. There are some bad memories of there, but they are by far outshone by the joy and beauty of the city and of my time there.

So after several months, it was time to pack my bag and go solo for my adventure down south. So i said goodbye to my jobs, to my friends, to my boyfriend and boarded a ferry to the south island. It was, without a doubt the most amazing and important thing i have ever done. The amount i grew within myself is impossible to describe, the relationships and bonds you can create with people in such a short time is life changing. You will be pushed to truly do what you want, to be responsible for only you and to deal with the consequence of what you do and want. You will push yourself into doing things you would never have imagined you would do, like skydive or learn to surf or crawl into bed with people who you barely know but love.

So New Zealand, you were stunning, absolutely the most beautiful place i have ever been and think will ever go, photos of you don’t look real and i cannot describe your immense totally consuming beauty. You were a challenge for my heart and my head, but most of all my liver. You were completely and utterly the best decision of my life and i cannot thank you and everyone who made you what you were for me enough ❤

My Week & A Half As A Recruiter

So today i made the snap decision to quit my very new and very demanding job in recruitment.

The company, i cannot fault. They were absolutely amazing to me, and supportive and understanding and i feel very privileged to have had the opportunity and experience. But, when it came down to it, it just wasn’t for me, and at the moment i think that’s okay.

So here is what i learnt in my 10 day whirlwind recruitment tour:

  1. I put too much pressure on myself
  2. I am not money motivated
  3. How to write an advert
  4. What recruiters look for on a CV
  5. That targets suck
  6. That i want to help people
  7. A young office is amazing
  8. I can rock office formal
  9. Blazers are expensive
  10. Phone calls just aren’t that bad
  11. How to hide crying in the bathroom
  12. Leads suck
  13. Disappointing yourself is way worse than disappointing someone else
  14. Work hard, Play hard is a lot more work than play
  15. Bus rides are great for winding down

So although it may not have been the career for me, its something that i have tried and can cross off, and take points away for what i am looking for. Its a stepping stone into the dream job.

 

Home

So I have been home for almost 2 weeks now, and after months of pining to be back, I can’t wait to go again! 

The inevitable dread of starting back at work, at having to live at home with my parents again, of having to balance my social life and do all the other adult things is already wearing down on me! 

The only benefit: the fact it’s summer. The hot weather and promise of a holiday in a couple of days is the only thing dragging me through the harsh reality of being back from my travels.

Holiday blues are real, and they are punishing. 

Not as good as I thought

So I have come to the end of my travels, they will get a seperate post! 

But what have I learned about myself? The cliche that travelling helps you find yourself, helps you develop and grow as a person. I guess in my case is very accurate. 

1. I am not as much of a good person as I think I am 

2. I can solo travel

3. I can put myself out there and make friends 

4. I like attention, in fact maybe I actually need it 

5. I am adventurous 

6. I am brave 

7. I overly mother people 

8. I try to justify everything, even when it shouldn’t be justified 

9. I feel like I missed out on certain experiences

10. I am not the person I thought I was. I am not the person I think I am. I am becoming a person I didnt see coming. 

Day 1 

THE ADVENTURE HAS BEGUN! 

So at the delightful hour of 6:35 I started my journey, I boared the commuter train back into Wellington. I was anxious and excited, about to undertake the most challenging 2 weeks of my life. So South I traveled, crossed to the South Island by the ferry to start my first ever solo traveling experience. 

I was praised by the beautiful view after the 3 1/2 ride, Picton glowing in sunlight reflected off the sea. I made some friends on the crossing, I haven’t managed to fully put myself out there, there is something hooding me back. Thankfully, everyone has been very welcoming and inclusive, which has made the first day a lot easier. 

What the plan is for this evening I don’t yet. But I am sure it’ll be an adventure. 

Sticker Planning

So i am very new to the sticker planner girl community, although i am a long time sticker lover and have always been an avid watcher of PWMs and Sticker hauls on youtube. Elle from Glamplan being my guide and guilty pleasure channel for ages.

These are things i have learned so far:

  1. I am terrible at laying down stickers
  2. Stickers are expensive
  3. Planning is time consuming
  4. Planning can be stressful!
  5. I am fussy
  6. The community is amazing – Literally everyone is a fantastic person, caring, loving and supportive and i am so grateful to have found such an outlet and group of people to vent to and seek assurance from
  7. I need to search etsy more
  8. I need to reach out more
  9. You can cover any mistake if you need to
  10. Boring things can be fun and pretty

So admittedly some of these things are superficial at best, but hey, its my planner, only i need to see it and only i need to use it, so what if i like pretty stickers, whatever motivates me to do something is a bonus!

So here are a couple images of my first attempt to a more recent spread, so you can see the slow transformation. Shout out to Sugarloop (NZ based) and Lovecloud Creative (AUS based) for the beautiful stickers! There is a lot to work on and to work out, and my style i imagine will mature, but we all have to start somewhere!

 

Where have i been?

So the last week has been one of the most stressful, full on and hellish weeks ever. So i quit my horrible job at the bakery 3 weeks ago but my last day was last Thursday. The relief to be done with them was overwhelming…but very short-lived.

Firstly; i didn’t get paid on the usual fortnightly date as they said they would pay it with my final pay packet. – Not immediately a problem, a bit annoying as i was out of pocket from travel costs, rent etc for the 3 weeks since our last pay came in. However had i known the shit storm to come i would have put up a much bigger fight about this.

Secondly; I only had to give a weeks notice, i ended up working 3 weeks as favour to them as i didn’t want to leave them without staff and struggling. – WHAT A MISTAKE THAT WAS. I went out of my way for them and they basically took the piss by making me work over time for those few weeks and treating me with their usual shit.

Thirdly; So after staying longer, working over time and training my replacement, none of which were contractual obligations, all of which i did because i am a good person, they go and royally screw me over. They take a deduction of $550 from my last paycheck. This was made worse by the fact it was made post tax, so of the $1400 they owed me, $300 went to the tax man, $550 went back into their pocket and a measly $620 made it into my account meaning my 76 hours of work came out to be worth just over $8 an hour, a lot lower than the $15 minimum wage and a hell of a lot lower than the $17 an hour they are usually worth.

This forced me to go and see a lawyer to see what could be done about the massive deduction and at that point the withholding of my pay. The lawyer unhelpfully told me that i did have a case but it would be a long and dirty fight. Considering that i am leaving the country in 35 days that wasn’t really an option for me, which my previous employers knew and took advantage of.

So i finished the week feeling deflated, taken advantage of and stupid for ever agreeing to work for those people and with very little options.

I made the decision not to pursue a law suit or hate campaign towards them… for the simple reason THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT. They are not a worth a single second more of my time, and after this post i will have blocked the numbers and started moving forward with my life having learned a big lesson and grown up a hell of a lot more than i realised i need to.

7 Weeks

In 7 weeks today I will be back on British soil. I will be home. I will get to see my friends and family and my adventure on the other side of the world will be over. 

I should feel sad, I should be yearning for more travel. But I am not. I cannot wait to see my mum, to be in my house, to see my friends, to walk around my hometown, to see the lights and hustle and craziness of London. To see my dad and my sisters and get back to reality. 

I have had an amazing time, it has been the biggest learning curve of my life other than university. I will be forever thankful that I did this, that I saw this place, that it let me be a part of it and it a part of me. But it will never be my home, and my home is calling for me. My heart is yearning for the familiarity and safety of my world.

As the time draws nearer I may wish I was staying, but with 7 weeks to go my eyes are only fixed on the finishing line. 

Fitness Journey – Week 2&3

So… week 2 was a complete fail, i didn’t manage a single work out and my diet was all over the place! But, in my defense, that’s life. It’s not always going to be the perfect week and your motivation is not always going to be sky high! Also, things crop up, I quit my horrible job and have spent the last 2 weeks trying to manage the fall out of that, but that will get a whole post to its self, of not only my experience there but also the aftermath of trying to leave! So yes in essence week 2 was sort of a non week. 
Week 3: a much more productive and fulfilling week. I managed to time manage better, which meant I managed 3 workouts and a hike! I also managed to eat relatively well 4 out of the 7 days, I am no angel and food will forever be my downfall! But I am proud of my progress and I have a week to go of the beginners program and I feel like it will be a success…. only to be undone at Easter, but hey, at least I won’t be any worse off than when I started!