English, Journalism and Creative Writing

May 2013

Where did you Study?

Strathclyde University

What did you Study?

English, Journalism and Creative Writing

What year did you Graduate?

2011

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

This is the most difficult question of the whole interview! Um…hair, eyes, mouth?

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

I didn’t get the chance to cry into my Coco Pops every morning – as soon as I finished my exams, I was transferred to a different department in work to ensure I got the full-time hours I needed to, you know, pay the bills and stuff.  For reasons still unknown to myself, I ended up choosing to work nightshift rather than backshift and it was such a culture shock to me that by the time graduation rolled around, I was using up all my energy trying to get used to that, rather than thinking about my time at University ending. As a result, I neglected thinking about what I was going to do next.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

At the moment, I am still working in the same place that I did throughout University, though luckily back in my old department and off the nightshift.  It’s not my dream job and I never imagined I’d still be here six years later, but I do enjoy it.  It’s a decent job with good pay and enough variety to keep me interested for the moment.

What is my dream job?  Well (un)luckily for you lovely After Uni people, you have caught me going through a bit of a quarter life crisis!  I don’t know what I want to do.  I want to do everything and not being able to focus on one thing is making it difficult to chase my dream job.  I want to be a film critic, a radio presenter, a runner, a producer, a writer and more recently a counsellor/social worker (which is a bit different from my other ambitions!).  At the moment I’m trying to decide exactly where I want to go and what I want to do, but as decision-making isn’t one of my strengths in my personal life, it is hindering me somewhat.  At the moment, I’m considering re-training as a counsellor/social worker and keeping my other ambitions as something to do in my spare time, then see where it all leads.

I can see myself in my current job for at least another year, which I’m okay with, but I wish I had seriously considered what I wanted to do with the rest of my life a bit earlier, rather than wasting over a year moaning about nightshift (in case you haven’t realised yet, I REALLY hated nightshift!), as it is now coming up to two years since I graduated and I haven’t progressed massively, career-wise.  On the plus side, I have managed to gain some experience by writing for websites, attending media courses and more recently, presenting my own weekly show on my local community radio station.  So it’s not all bad!

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Not in the sense of my employment, as I got my job before I started University. In a personal sense however, definitely.  I gained so much more confidence, became less afraid to question and confront things I didn’t agree with, made a lot of great friends and managed to gain experience in lots of different things to help me realise what I liked and what I didn’t like (for example, I was Head of Research for my student radio station, which was fantastic).

I would recommend going to University to anyone, however I would also strongly advise that you seriously consider your course before you go, rather than picking something ‘just because you’re good at it’.  You’re good at it, but do you like it?  Will it lead anywhere?  I wish I had thought that through a bit more.

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

My advice to my fellow graduates is to take the time to sit down, work out exactly what it is you want to do and what is the best route to get there.

Want to be an Accountant?  Go and chase some graduate schemes. Want to work in Communications?  Try and gain some voluntary experience via a charity. Want to be a Writer?  Make the spare time to do it and search for publications that accept contributions. Want to work in Media?  Gain some experience via websites, community radio stations, independent film companies and so on. All of these things will help you build up experience and contacts and who knows where it will lead?

Don’t worry about the length of time it will take to get somewhere, or else you’ll be passing up opportunities which would have taken you a lot further than simply doing nothing.

As for graduates struggling to get an interview for ANY job (of which I know a few) – don’t apply for absolutely everything.  Job-hunting fatigue will set in and it will come across in your applications.  Cherry-pick a few jobs which sound right for you and put the time aside to really concentrate on your application, it will make it sound fresher and sound as if you do really want the job, rather than just sounding as though you’re sending an identical cover letter/CV to twenty different companies at once.

If you’re like me and you still don’t know exactly what you want to do – then I have no advice, but plenty of sympathy!

I might not be a shining example of it at the moment, but I truly believe that if you desperately want something and you put in the work and the dedication to get there, then anything is possible.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

My day ahead involves getting up at stupid o’clock in the morning (that’s 5.45 to you and me), heading to work to do yet another ten hour shift as we’re short-staffed at the moment, standing on my feet all day and running about like a loony; before going home to prepare for my radio show at the weekend and finally collapsing on the couch to watch some mindless television. So don’t consider changing your career path to mine just yet!

That’s it. Sam, you have been wonderful. 

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