Thursday, 31 July 2014

A graduate's view on the world

Hi everyone. You may have noticed I've been pretty absent from my blog in the last month or so. I just haven't felt like I've had the time to just sit down and do a few posts. Although this is something I've wanted to write about for a while..

 It's been a bit of a roller coaster recently, as at the end of June I left my student life in Southampton, and moved back in with my mum in Somerset. 

The pros:
This was a huge change for me, full of positives though. I get to live with my mum again (I sometimes missed her lots when living away!) and after 3 years of living apart, my boyfriend and I live just 10 minutes away, and I'm very lucky to have such great people in my life that look after me, and I'm so happy I'm closer to them. Home comforts are great too, always plenty of food in the house, and It's nice to just have all my bits at home instead of living out of a suitcase.  My washing also gets done even though I don't ask it to be (cheers mum). The sink is always clean (something that is a major luxury for me after living in a student house) and I have lots of space to cook/bake when I want which is lovely.

The cons:
Having lived in a city for the last 3 years of my life and now moved back into the country, it's a very strange thing I'm not used to. I'm not even within walking distance of my nearest shop, and I don't even own a car (and can no way afford one right now). When everyone else is busy, I'm usually sat on my todd at home having to entertain myself which is slowly but surley becoming slightly tedious. But hey, can't complain. I am starting to miss my student lifestyle and friends too. I've been quite busy with bits and bobs over the last month, and have lots of plans over the next few months to make sure I see everyone. But the uni life seems far behind me now, especially when I'm usually in bed by 11, and my hangovers seem to be 200x worse because I don't drink anymore.

The Big Question:
I'm not sure if anyone else has experienced this, but as a graduate, anyone who asks me 'So, what are you doing now?' I actually want to punch in the face*. Yep, I'm usually a very calm, smiley and happy girl, however this question is forever grating on me and the pressure to be getting a job. I've come to the conclusion it's just easier to tell them that I'm going to move to the USA and become a dolphin trainer and live in a beach hut. Actually that sounds pretty great... But please stop asking me.
(*Apologies to any friends/family who have recently asked me this, I love you really.)

Truth is.. even I don't know. I'm totally lost. I've spent the last 3 years in a steady education structure surrounded by friends, knowing what's coming next, and now I've just been thrown into the real world on my own and have to sort myself out. And the thing is, it's pretty frightening. I have some days where I wonder if I even want to get into fashion anymore.. if I should spend my days doing unpaid internships.. or try to get into graduate schemes, or just give up altogether. I've currently been looking left right and center for a job. Any job. In London, and even just locally to get me some part time work so I can get by. Even leaving university with savings doesn't cover your back when your unemployed and have a clothes/shoe/makeup/overall shopping obsession.

The Dream
I have a vision of myself in the future, amazing apartment, a couple of little dogs, me and the boyfriend living together. We'll have great jobs that we enjoy and live the high life, and I'll have a wardrobe full of amazing clothes.. but that all seems so far away. And turning 22 in a week is adding the pressure to me. Aren't I supposed to be married and having babies by now according to my 15 year old self?! I'm starting to really want my own place (a cute little place I can decorate myself with home bits and bobs of course) but this all seems in the way way distant future right now.

The Interview 
And the thing is, even when you get past the application stage with any job, there's the dreaded interview. Now if you're like me, you find the interview the most daunting thing of your life. I mean, you're sat in a room, with one (or even worse, 2 or more people) looking at you, judging you, listening intently to every single word, whilst you have to sit there and basically big yourself up. I tend to get very anxious about things like this, let nerves get to me, and I end up a mumbling wreck who they wouldn't even think about hiring. Then that's it, you've blown it. No more chances. 

Last week recently got an email for an interview for basically, my dream job. I couldn't even believe it when I saw it, and ended up jumping around the room in disbelief. A fashion brand, wanted me, Ellen, to come and see them, for a job that had exactly everything I wanted. I was determined to do well, and determined to get this job that I so badly wanted. I spent all week doing the most prep I'd ever done for anything. I had to do a presentation for them, which I spent hours preparing and practicing and spent money getting professional looking boards printed out, and even bought a carry case to take them all in. I went over main interview questions, over and over in my head so thoroughly where I'd memorized the answers - just so I didn't go blank. I spent a whole day shopping to get the perfect outfit together and bought things especially. On the day I had to buy a train ticket to reading, got there a couple of hours before just so I could get some more practice in. It was the best interview I'd ever had, and I was brimming with confidence (unlike me really!). It couldn't have gone any better. The people were lovely, my presentation went great, and I felt like they really liked me.  Time and money well spent. I left feeling amazing, and couldn't wait to hear from them.
That's until this week when I got the automated 'We will not be taking your application any further' email. My heart literally broke. What did I do wrong?! I spent all this time and money.. are you joking? I'd be perfect for this job! Did I not have enough experience? Thoughts went through my head non-stop.  I burst into tears, my whole ideal life plan was suddenly gone within seconds.

I asked for feedback, apparently the main thing that let me down was my maths test I was given. I hadn't done a maths test in about 5 years, numbers have never been my strong point, so I wasn't really surprised about that. Fair does. I know I'd gotten my hopes up a little, but it's impossible to keep calm when you've just have a brilliant interview for your dream job. I'm very critical of myself, so it's taken a couple of days for me just to come to terms with the news, draw a line under it, and move on. There's nothing more I could have possibly done. It may not have been the best interview they'd had that day, but it was for sure the best experience I'd had. I guess I just have to take that forward to the next thing I do, and hopefully I'm a little more confident then I used to be. But I have a feeling this is something I'm going to come across more than once.


Keep your head up
I've applied for 10 jobs today alone, anywhere and everywhere for a variety of positions. I'm applying for everything left right and center. Stuff I don't even really want, but what's the worst that can happen, I get nothing back? I feel incredibly disheartened by the whole thing, but it's important to pick yourself back up. Something else will come along. Perhaps it just wasn't meant to be for me. I find this time so difficult because you're just stuck in a limbo. I have no idea where I'm going to be in a months, six months, or a year's time, and that's pretty scary. I could be settled with a job in London, or working part time at a supermarket, or even traveling.

I'm very lucky to have my boyfriend - he's been a wonderful support to me through uni and after, and has been the main constant in my life. We're enjoying spending time together without the stresses of uni, and are just doing our best to work things out for ourselves, and that's okay.

So, for now I'll be job hunting day and night until something else comes up. I have positive productive days, and days I just want to scream because I'm stuck in the house watching Jeremy kyle for the 14millionth time and feel as if I'm getting nowhere. I may stumble into something completley different, who knows. We'll just have to see. And for now, it's still okay if I'm still in my PJS at 3pm on a Thursday about watching the breaking bad box set for the second time. I'm not sure if anyone feels (or has felt) there's a tremendous amount of pressure on graduates to sail straight into your dream job with ease. I'm not even sure where this pressure comes from, but I think you just have to allow yourself to go with whatever happens. But with the world and his dog asking about your career, it doesn't help.

I'll enjoy being unemployed for now whilst everyone else is moaning about their full time job, but I feel as if as long as I'm doing as much as I can to get myself to a better destination, you may aswell enjoy the journey.

Ellen xxxxxxxx

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