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. 

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!

 

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.

Fitness Journey – Week 1

For the last week i have been tracking my calorie intake with Lifesum and using the Nike Training Club app with the Start Up Plan to kick start my fitness and get it back on track.

I have never been overweight or really had any weight issues, I am now slightly podgier than i would like and don’t really know what to do about it, as well, i have never been in this situation before. Which causes mayor issues, as my ability to say no to yummy food and motivate myself to exercise are basically non-existent! So lack of experience with dieting or food management or consistent exercise in terms of work outs is a very new and a very steep learning curve for me. So this is my journey, one week down and a hell of a long way to go, but at least i have started.

What i have learned just in this last week:

  1. Exercise is hard
  2. I am not very fit
  3. I am not very flexible
  4. I snack too much
  5. I work too much
  6. I have very little time
  7. I do not prioritize health
  8. I live for the sweet things
  9. I need more leggings
  10. Progress is slow, well completely nonexistent a week in (no idea how that’s motivational, thanks a bunch body!)
  11. I do a lot of walking, and don’t do a lot of anything else
  12. I can’t bet on myself
  13. I am hungry
  14. I am lazy
  15. I am embarrassed to be seen exercising

Ill keep you posted on how my second week of it goes, lets hope i can learn some slightly more positive things and actually start to move the bulge!

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.

Little to Big

When i was little i wanted to be a Vet, and up until i was in year 9 and having to chose my options for GCSE i was pretty certain that is where my life was going go. I was going to be a vet, get married, have 5 children and live happily ever after. I am now 22, far from being or even wanting to be a vet, both wanting and being terrified of the prospect of children and almost completely lost to where my life is going or where i want it to go.

When you are young its very easy, you make a plan and there isn’t any life to get in the way of it, it all makes sense and sounds plausible and perfect and right. Then you sit down with that piece of paper at 14 and have to decide what subjects to drop and what dreams go out the window with them. For me, that was being a vet, i didn’t want to do triple science, something i was told would be essential for me to pursue being a vet as i would have to do at least one science for A-level in the years to come to be eligible to study veterinary science at uni. I wanted to do dance and drama… so being a vet fell to the wayside, and along with it my life plan and career goals.

Fast forward 8 years and i am still just as lost as i was sitting down with that piece of paper and changing the course of my life forever. Maybe i want to go back to uni and study social work? Maybe i want to travel more? Maybe i want to work in PR? Maybe i want to start to settle down? Maybe i am getting too old to have options? Maybe i am still really young and have time to mess around for a while?

Maybe i am stressing over nothing?

But right now, i feel lost and don’t know how to start to make decisions and create a new course for my life and in 6 months i will be back in the UK and the need to make a decision will be upon me.

Be My Valentine

On what a cliche of a day, and oh what a joy or torment it can be.

I am lucky to not have to spend it alone this year, and have the solid not presents rule, but just taking it as an excuse to treat ourselves and have some truly quality time together. Which is a shame, that it takes an almost made up holiday to stop you enough in your tracks to actually spend time and enjoy the company of your partner. Obviously it would be impossible to treat yourselves everyday, or spend that much quality time together that you wouldn’t kill one another or the specialness of it be significantly reduced. But, maybe it shouldn’t be a once in a blue moon affair, we need to take more time away from the screens, from work, from lovely but interfering friends and really work on the core relationship itself and that unique bond. Because sometimes if we don’t take a minute to check in and be present, we lose the time we have with that person and eventually them altogether, because no one can live just waiting for that one day a year that they become your priority.

Having said all that, i don’t necessarily think valentines day has to be about couples. It never was for me when i was a kid, my mum used to get me and my sisters a card and some chocolate every year just to show she loved us. It was an excuse to show love, in any form. This for me includes self love. The utter importance of showing yourself love, really taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and financially are the basis for a happy, secure and fulfilled life. Valentines day may just be that check in point early enough in the year to get you back on track from the faltering new years resolutions. So this year treat yourself and be your own valentine before you are anyone else’s. Take the time to have some ice cream, have a bath, watch a movie all snuggled up, have a takeaway or go out to eat, just refocus on you and binge because tomorrow will be a new day and maybe a good place to restart that new year kick up the ass!