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.

 

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. 

10 Item Wardrobe

So i have just been sat here watching a poorly shot but interesting TED talk on a theory called the ’10 Item Wardrobe’ – if you want the full effect and explanation this is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3CLRL32Mcw

My first  impression was of immediate horror and the idea seemed impossible. To cut down my wardrobe to 10 key items, 4 bottoms and 6 tops and just continuously wear the same items over and over again. In our society the idea of wearing the same outfit once a fortnight is ludicrous! Although i am a big repeat offender in that respect, i generally try to avoid wearing the same clothes around the same people as much as my wardrobe allows and continuously complain at its lack of variety and choice to help me avoid repeat outfits. So, this idea of cutting even more from it is very alien and very scary.

However by the end of the talk it seemed quite liberating. The idea that you present yourself in your best clothes all the time, that you represent you in your truest self in your style and your comfort… sort of just makes sense. Why am i buying all these pointless clothes that i don’t feel amazing in just so i have more choice of things to put on? What i should be doing is using that money and time and investing in things that make me feel amazing all the time and worry less about what other people think, or whether i am repeating an outfit… because heck, that outfit looks great on me and makes me feel confident and sexy, which is a much better accessory than a purple crop top i bought to inject some colour into my wardrobe.

So maybe 10 is a little radical for me, i need some variety, i live in England our weather changes so often that layers and clothes for all weathers are a must have. But maybe the excessive amount i do have, even now when i am on the other side of the world with one suitcase that i don’t wear half of, should be the wake-up call i need to cut it down. So this is my promise to myself that i will get it together tomorrow, throw away anything with a stain or a rip, or that doesn’t fit me quite right and start enjoying the clothes i do wear, everyday, not just when its been long enough since the last time i wore it.

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. 

The worst part of travelling 

Travelling is always played as this beautiful, fun and worthwhile exercise. And while all of that is true, it does hide the rather dark and gloomy side. 

For me, that side is homesickness, loneliness and an ever growing feeling of being lost. Not the nicest feelings to dwell on, but I think important to address and acknowledge. 

I thought homesickness would only be brief and passing but unfortunately it seems lingering and consuming. You end up missing the simplest of things, like celery sticks. You never even knew they were important to you, but suddenly you can’t find them at a supermarket and you get an overwhelming feeling of needing to go home, and how much easier things are at home. 

You miss family and friends and even though you meet people who you end up adoring, they don’t quite hit the same spot as a chat with your  bestfriend or your mother. You want to tell them about your everyday stresses, about painting your toenails, about buying a snickers bar, about seeing something funny on the street. And you can’t. You are 13 hours apart, and have to wait till early morning or late at night to speak, and obviously you are too busy at those times of day for a proper chat, and the time you really need them is at 1pm when you are bored, stressed and lonely. 

You need to make basic decisions, like which pair of jeans to buy or whether to reply to someone’s message, and yet you can’t get the response in time. 

Overwhelmed and lonely, those are the prevailing feelings you get late at night or while walking around in the afternoon after work. You don’t have anyone to call to vent, you don’t have anyone to drop in to, you have to take comfort in scenery and yourself, but they can’t always consul you. 

So travelling, as great and wondering and adventurous can also be lonely and hard. 

My go to makeup item

If I could only have one item it would always be the collection lasting perfection concealer in 1 fair. 

I have maybe gone through 20 of these over the years and have tried many alternatives but absolutely nothing compares! 

Nothing brightens and covers and fits my skin tone so perfectly and make my skin just look and feel flawless. 

I cannot recommend it enough, and if you have never tried it… WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Go out now and get it, it’s cheap, cheerful and the stuff makeup dreams are made of! 

Stained

“You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress i can’t wear anymore”.

We have all had that one ex that was your everything, your all encompassing world and who broke your heart and left you lost and alone in a world you didn’t know, with a person that you didn’t even know existed without him.

Clean by Taylor Swift i think gives an interesting and relatable approach to what it feels like coming out the other end of that relationship. And i could do a thousands posts on him, and that relationship and the aftermath of it, but for now i don’t feel like this is the place to share that.

But i want to discuss one line in the song that has stuck with me. The idea that you continue to wear that person and that they still have a place and hold in your life. And me for one completely believe that to be true. They are your past, they defined you for a long time, and they helped to form you into the person you are today and truly without them you wouldn’t be you, even to this day. Which is not the most comforting reality for the majority of us, who like to cut them out of our lives and show how we have ‘moved on’. But i don’t think it necessarily has to be a bad thing, i think we should be proud to wear that stained dress, because that’s the newly tie-dyed better version of yourself that may no longer be in its purest form, but has the colour of life and learning and shows how far you have come.

So i don’t want to be clean. I want, just like in the immortal words of rocky horror and Christina Aguilera to get dirty.

I want to get stained by the people who have changed me, who have impacted my life for the better, or even for the worst, because where i stand today is only as a result of me and how i have overcome the hurdles they created. But a life without hurdles to climb would leave me lazy, lonely and boring… Which are not the words you would use to describe someone in a wine stained dress.