It dawned on me recently that this time next year I’ll have to find an actual job and that just having a degree is not enough to guarantee me a career anymore. My CV is fine – it’s got all my work experience since I was sixteen, all my extra-curricular activities, all my volunteer work… But when it comes down to it, a few years in a bookshop, some office skills and an interest in dance aren’t really applicable to the kind of job I want. Of course they’re great things to include because they show all the usual requirements that employers look for, like organisation, time management, enthusiasm and so on. However, it’s pretty much shoved down our throats now that students just can’t seem to get jobs.
This is my cue, as a natural stress-head, to go into panic mode.
I’ll never get a job. I’ll end up going back home. I’ll be sponging off my parents. My degree is a waste. I’ll never succeed.
I realise I am catastrophising but this is where my train of thought ends up if I don’t stop it. Instead of dwelling on worst case scenarios, I channelled this into productivity and applied for thirty summer jobs and internships in one go. Clearly I go from one extreme to the other but at least this time, I was doing something productive, right?
Surprisingly, I got an interview. And then I was offered the only placement on a really exciting internship. So instead of spending my summer doing shifts in a shop, or slogging it out at in 9-5 admin role (not that there is anything wrong with these, but I’ve done both and they’re just not for me), I’m going to be working in events communication and PR on a project that I am genuinely excited by, and could potentially be the area I’m looking into post-graduation.
Interning has a reputation for reducing desperate students to the “office coffee bitch” but do you know what? If that’s what happens, then that’s okay. It’s only four months and if I walk away having learnt anything, it’s much better than having sat on my arse and binge-watching Love Island all summer. Speaking from experience, the novelty of lazy days really starts to wear off after a week of wearing nothing but old sweatpants.
Being able to turn that period of self-doubt into something positive was not something I could have predicted at all but I am so glad I did. I’m not usually one to put myself out there and just go for something out of my comfort zone but I’ve proved to myself that when I do, sometimes it can develop into a really great opportunity.
I start tomorrow – even writing that is a bit nerve-wracking – and I definitely want to keep updating what I’m doing and how it’s going. Knowing that I’ve got this experience coming up makes the prospect of having to go out into the real world in a year’s time a little less daunting.
What are your plans this summer? Are you working, travelling or having a well-deserved break?