One year on…

When I sat at my desk today ready to write this week’s blog post, I felt exhausted. I had an idea of the topic but having just got in from a busy six hour shift and a mad dash to town after in the beautiful heat of the day, my brain’s creativity was elsewhere. I took a sip of strong coffee and stared at the calendar to my left, trying to think up something exciting – anything at all.

It was at this point that I noticed that this time last year I had just finished university. This time last year I wrote the post ‘University, I’ll be forever grateful’. This time last year I was packing my suitcase and jetting off to Bali. Oh to be reliving this time last year right now!

Reflection is always a good thing to do in my view. Whether it’s as soon as you hear John Lennon’s ‘Happy Christmas (War is over)’ during the festive season each year, on new years eve or at another significant point within the year, its always good to look at what you’ve done, particularly if you’re panicking that you haven’t done much.

Life speeds by more rapidly as the years come, each week in your diary seems to come around quicker than the one before and when you’re young and unsettled, it’s not necessarily a bad thing but can sometimes seem scary.

People constantly quiz you about your plans and seem to unknowingly put pressure on you to compete with the rest. I’ve never been somebody to compete and the older I get, the harder I find it, yet opinions of others do affect me. In fact, the one thing that ever makes me question my decisions is what others will think and I hate it. I’ll be very happy with decisions I make and really excited about the future, yet it takes one person to negatively speak their mind, usually people who mean nothing to me, and I go straight back to the drawing board. With the significance that this week holds in relevance to last year, I felt I’d write a piece a year on from officially finishing uni and beginning a new chapter.

I returned home from three years studying in York this week last year and masked the sadness of it being over by jetting off to Bali for two weeks with one of my great friends. My post uni plans weren’t set in terms of employment, but I had a plan until the end of the year at least.

I would return to my home until August and work at the village shop and post office until then. I’d then take on the world travelling for just over three months around Europe, America, New Zealand and Australia before returning and going on a week’s work placement completely out of my comfort zone at the Guardian Media Group in London. I knew the Christmas period would be manic at the shop, trust me it may be little but its HUGELY busy, so I kept my loyalty to my bosses and worked near on fifty hour weeks over the busy period, we all did.

This is when my plans got vague. My experience of the graduate job search so far had been that most of the people I knew hadn’t had much success as of yet and were doing much the same as me, working and searching. So, I tried. I tried to juggle my full time hours with the graduate job hunt while pursuing my passion of becoming a writer. I’d work all day, write in my three hour break and attempt to squeeze in job hunting in that time too.

Now people can talk excessively about the various options that young people can take after school, and in hindsight I’d potentially have seeked another route in. However, scrolling through numerous pages on ‘Indeed’ and other sites proves that there are still copious amounts of jobs out there requiring a degree, especially in journalism and media, the area I wish to pursue.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, as is having a closed minded opinion at the age of seventy when you haven’t a clue about how enriching university is in so many ways and how competitive and demeaning the graduate job search can be as well. It’s often near on impossible because you must have the experience as well as a first class degree and be able to balance a ten meter pole on your head while running down a hill. I realise I am slightly over exaggerating but often it feels this way and certainly requires a great deal of your time focusing on this one thing. Trying to fit in a life, a job and your passion as well just doesn’t work.

This is why I soon came to realise that I had to choose. I had to choose a focus for now and do it properly. I either must go wholeheartedly for the job hunt and put the writing to the side for the time being. Or stick to the writing and pick up the job search when it’s more a priority and I have a clearer idea of what I’m hunting for.

My passion is writing. If any of you reading this are regular viewers of my blog, you’ll know this by now and I write every day without fail. I write blog posts and I write freelance for companies. I write for my village magazine, for my sisters photography projects and I’m frequently asked by friends to check emails and job applications, CV’s and letters to assess the wording. I’m not heightening myself I’m just saying this is what I love.

When I’m stressed I turn to writing. Tired? I can still find room to write. Happy? I write it down. It’s something I turn to in the majority of situations. Being just twenty three years old aspiring for a career in an industry which usually requires you to stick at your day job until years of hard work to establish yourself as a writer on the side brings you the success you desire, I thought what better circumstance could I be in to start now.

This is why my decision was to pursue my passion and go for goal to become a writer. It won’t be forever and when it’s essential and I don’t have so much freedom, I will put it aside if I’ve got nowhere and continue the slog of job hunting. However, right now I am young and I don’t have any financial pressure which I am very lucky and grateful for which gives me the freedom to experiment. A career in writing is just that, an experiment.

Everybody who judges you is subjective. JK Rowling got rejected numerous times and look at where she has ended up. I’m not saying I’m the next J. K but I just feel that in this competitive day and age sometimes its refreshing and needed to think outside of the box. Outside of London and attending interviews, filling in application after application for jobs that your heart isn’t fully in and to go for something, perhaps less conventional, that fills your heart with passion.

It may not work out at all, I may completely land on my feet, but all I know is that right now I am happy with my decision. People can look at me all day long asking what I’m doing with my life and roll their eyes when I claim that I’m working on a book, contacting agents and sending masses of daring emails, but that’s me and it’s how I roll.

My advice to anybody in this situation would be to go for it. Don’t look to your peers always for a comparison. Be happy for their success but be true to your dreams and goals. Try to ignore the constant judgement from people who don’t necessarily know. You will be successful, you will achieve, your degree was worth it.

I’m still working on the above and people’s judgments continue to hugely affect me but hopefully when I can prove how hard I’ve been working behind the scenes then they may believe that convention isn’t always the way. For now I am embracing my youth, the freedom it brings and the ability I have to experiment with various projects.┬áThat’s me, one year on.

I realise I’ve gone off on a personal tangent here and the key message within this post is about reflection. No matter what stage you are in in this wonderful life, if ever you feel things have got a little mundane and nothing seems to be happening, take time to look back. Take a period of time such as a month, a year, or even just a day and write down all the good things within that. You will surprise yourself because so much can happen in such a little amount of time, things that seem to pass unnoticed but count, of course they do.


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