Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Second year blues

So, here I am, I’ve reached the end of my second year at university. I’ve probably had, what are some of the best moments of my life so far, met some brilliant people, and I am ready to bear the brunt of my third and final year (I am also looking forward to quite an eventful summer but that’s not for now!).
So what’s the problem?
Well, perhaps it’s the amplifying nag in the back of my mind telling me to hurry up and figure out what I want to do after the student safety net has been pulled from beneath my feet, only to be dragged into the dreaded reality of ‘the real world’.
I won’t lie. Up until now, I’ve been bigging it up in La La Land and avoiding the very idea of post-university life. The thought of it actually makes me want to (insert some hyperbolic phrase here). The point is I’m terrified!
So, I’ve decided to weigh up some possible options for what I could do. It can only make me feel better, right? Feel free to take note.
Perfect my CV
This is one of the first things I should do if I am to make any impact or lasting impressions to any potential employers. It’s always a great idea to regularly update your CV (something I should be doing) and check it reads well and makes you come across as a well-rounded and altogether employable individual. I’ve heard it’s even a good idea to have a couple of CVs that have been tailored towards career-specific criteria if you’re applying for more than one type of job. So, rather than using one, general, CV for several different jobs (which will vary in their applicant requirements), it may be an idea to use one that is orientated towards the type of career you are aiming to pursue by using only relevant details, skills, and experiences.
Apply for a graduate placement or internship
This is probably one of the most typical options that students are expected to go for after they finish their undergraduate degree. But it’s not just ‘a’ placement or internship I should be applying for, it’s loads! Undoubtedly, getting the opportunity to get your foot in the door of your desired field is THE ultimate dream. But it’s also a dream that countless other students have. So it’s probably best that I apply for countless work placements, countless internship positions, and countless work-experience opportunities (or just as many as I can).
So where do I start? There’s always the university jobshop that is a great starting point, as well as other recruitment websites like, and which help you access to tons of opportunities out there.
I should probably also be prepared to accept any unpaid positions… After all, as a graduate fresh from the grounds of my university campus, I guess I ought to be grateful for any offer that comes my way.
Every opportunity is an experience and if it helps me gain some perspective towards what I really want to do, then why not. It’s a great way to network and meet new people as well as giving something back. Websites like and Vinspired offer tons of volunteering opportunities that are tailored to your interests. It’s probably worth signing up for and giving it a try. (Though it might be best to make sure I can afford to work for free first).
Go straight back into university and do a post-graduate degree.
This is a very tempting idea. I feel that, if I were to take up this option I may have the chance at being slightly more qualified for my ground-breaking career than if I just had a BA. But I suppose it all boils down to the area of interest you are looking to pursue your career in. As it goes, it’s not always about the level of education you have under your belt, but the experience you have accumulated that will really help justify your employability. That’s not to say that a post-grad degree is useless in getting that all important experience. There are many which offer work experience placements that you can do alongside your dissertation. Essentially, there are two types of post-grad degrees out there which vary from taught courses to research positions. For more information, check out Postgraduate Courses if you fancy a browse through the kind of courses that are on offer. So, it's just a case of figuring out what is best.
If I was to go for this option, it would be a case of securing my grade (with lots of hard work!) and getting ready to handle yet more essay writing and yet more debt. Hmm…
Work/Travel- Business or Pleasure?
Alternatively, I could just carry on avoiding all reality and take a prolonged holiday across the globe and explore all the world has to offer! As great as this idea sounds, I live off a budget and I don’t think the ‘rents will be coughing up any time soon. Thankfully, websites like Bunac.orgCampAmerica, or Realgap offer an array of work placement and volunteering programmes abroad at a quite a reasonable price. They charge a one-off fee for helping organise all your details and handing it to all the really important people out there, A.K.A, the folk who will be employing you on your super-cool job abroad.  This is great for summer work, (getting paid whilst on holiday? Yes please!) or a gap year. It’s also great for meeting new people, gaining contacts, and most of all, an experience of a lifetime! It’ll look brilliant on the ol’ CV!
Try and start up my own business.
I think I would need a business plan first… (and some money).
Stick to my current job until I find something better.
If, like me, you’re lucky enough to already have a job, this could be one of the safest options. This also might be one of the wisest options. Let’s be honest, in the current economic climate with the current vast amounts of job-seekers, let alone graduates, it’s tough times. If I were to stick with this option, I could look for work placements, internships, etc and have a job at the same time until I finally have the success of getting that all important job!
Still not so sure?
Your tutors are there for a reason. It could be an idea to book an appointment with them and have a hearty discussion about your potential options after university. If you are aware of any employability and CV workshops taking place around your university, go to them! These are great for tips and advice which will help you get started on building your profile. Also be sure to check out graduate fairs, taking as many copies of your CV as possible! All the right people will be there, ready and waiting for you to show them what you’ve got. (I certainly shall be attending!)
See Graduate Events for more info!
Still not satisfied? Well I have one more option left and that is to check out which also goes through all the options available to you after university.
Ok, so I’ve made my list and I think I’ve covered everything I can think of. If I’ve missed anything at all, please come forward! The more options the better, eh? Because then it’s just the case of, er… choosing one.
Good luck everybody!


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