University was not an idea that I was always keen on. After college I felt frazzled so took a year out and worked in H&M. While not the most productive of choices it allowed me to time to relax and look back while also giving me a really good idea of what I did not want to do with my life.
My first year of university was hard. Doing BA Fashion Journalism I didn't feel like I fitted in with the gorgeous girls on my class who always had amazing designer shoes, bags, rings and anything else you could imagine. I wasn't comfortable in myself yet and hadn't really decided what I wanted to do. Over the summer of first year I realised that music journalism was really what I had a desire for. I have always loved music with all of my heart, and people told me I am good at writing. I really do enjoy writing and putting together pieces so thought I might combine it with music in my career choice. I am still disgruntled to this day that my lecturers wouldn't let me change to the music journalism course at my university, instead I targeted my work as much as I could towards the music industry and began getting my writing published. I started writing for Virgin Music in Sep 2009 and still do occasionally to this day. After this came stints with Tantrum Magazine, an internship at Q Magazine and Disorder Magazine where I interviewed Viva Brother and The Wombats.
My third year held even more placements and writing opportunities which I relished. Working on these publications outside of uni gave me real dedication with my work, knowing that when I graduated it would all pay off and I might be lucky enough to land a job. My final major project at uni split my love for fashion and music and gave me the final boost I needed to get my much wanted 2:1. I was ecstatic the day our results were announced after making myself so ill my doctor thought I had Mumps (I didn't), I had achieved the grade I had wanted and worked towards for three long years.
Graduation day came and I felt so full of hope it was unbelievable. Here I was, a graduate with a good degree from a decent University with three years worth of work experience and published written work under my belt. Surely in a years time I would have the job of my dreams and be working my way up a publication to map out a wonderful career for myself. How wrong I was.
Nearly a year and a half on since finishing my degree things have gotten steadily worse. While I have worked for Gig Wise and 1883 Magazine since, had my work published in Company magazine and interviewed Alison Mosshart, Feeder, Enter Shikari, Dry The River and so many other people I forget, I have never once been paid for all my hours of work. Not that I am complaining. I have been offered some amazing opportunities which I will continue to cherish, however I do feel like I was promised something a little bit more.
Back in March my retail job unexpectedly cut my hours from 48 hours a week to just 24. This meant I could no longer afford rent and had to move home to my parents house and sign onto job seekers allowance to survive. While some people may scoff, snarl or sneer at this, I do not. I feel let down. I was turned down for interviews from Vodafone, Pets at Home and even H&M with a 2:1 degree in journalism. Those three months I was unemployed were possibly three of the most depressing of my life, it never crossed my mind on graduation day last year that this would be my life. What made it harder was class mates and friends landing their dream jobs doing things like working for Armani in New York and on magazines I adore.
Being a graduate is hard, more and more people are getting good degrees for less and less jobs and being told that University is the only way. In retrospect I feel I either did the wrong degree or made the wrong choice caving into the pressure to go at all. I feel that in three years I spent wracking up over £25K of debt I could have worked my way into the position I am now and probably have that job I dream of at a magazine. I believe I am a hard working and enthusiastic writer who occasionally comes out with a brilliant turn of phrase and could interview a rock (previous experience with certain musicians proves this). Yet I am currently working at Topshop, living at home and wondering what the hell went wrong and what I can do to put it right.
I know I am not the only person out there in this position and hope an insight into my experience with University and the graduate life is informative and helpful to somebody else. If nothing else writing this has helped me look back on all the good things I have done and feel proud, knowing that I do what I do for the sheer love I hold for music, writing and the satisfaction of seeing my work published.
(P.S - I'll be back on Saturday with something a little more light hearted!)