Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Life After Graduation | Brandon - University of East Anglia

I have to say that the thing I love most about receiving people's graduate and student life posts' is reading through an abundance of experiences, not a single one alike. Whilst some feel that the end of student life really is the end of all we know, Brandon, who studied English at the University of East Anglia and went on to do his PGCE at the University of Cambridge, shows an entirely more positive side to graduate life...

How does it feel to be a graduate?
I should premise all of this by saying I’ve just finished a PGCE, so I’ve simultaneously been a graduate, a student and a public servant. As such, I’ve been through this transformative year that started in master’s seminars and ended with my qualified teacher status. I guess I’ve graduated twice, with a third one to come in two years time after I’ve finished my research in schools. My main emotions at present are fulfillment and excitement, I know I have a career ahead and I’m able to predict with some accuracy the trajectory it will take. The future is good. 

What’s been the biggest challenge? 
It has to be the difficulty curve of the PGCE, hands down. You have twelve months to go from unskilled graduate to a competent teacher, something illustrated by the fact you need to be able to teach fifteen hours a week comfortably by the end of the course, all while producing enough paperwork to sink a freighter. Alongside this, I’ve had to do the vast majority of my master’s degree, which is a bigger written workload than the final year of my BA. I remember spending about four months on my dissertation in third year, but during my PGCE I wrote an assignment of a similar length in half the time – whilst teaching the full trainee-teacher timetable. Notwithstanding the stress all of this has exerted upon me, I feel I’ve developed as a person in the face of enormous adversity: I now believe, with great faith, that acute challenges present the greatest opportunities for self-improvement.
What’s your living situation? 
My partner and I live together in a two bedroom flat in Cambridge. Initially the plan was for me to live in college accommodation whilst she lived much closer to her work. As the move date approached it became clear that striking a compromise and living somewhere in between my school and her hospital was much better. Even though our commutes have been a bit longer this last year, the support your partner can provide is completely worth it. Obviously this is a far cry from university accommodation, dorms and shared houses can be fun from a hedonistic point of view, but are far less conducive in terms of work efficiency and emotional welfare. In hindsight, I’ve definitely made the right choice: there’s more to adult relationships than just sex and that fuzzy feeling inside, the stability and sense of companionship are unrivalled. Plus, we’re looking forward to buying our first house! 

What’s the best and worst things about graduate life?
I’ll give you my top three for each. One of the best things is escaping university politics: I find it at best puerile and at worst dangerous. My undergraduate university was the home of ‘sombrero-gate’, in which the students’ union attempted to ban sombreros on campus because of ‘cultural appropriation’. This happened two years after they held a referendum on banning Robin Thicke’s music from campus, which they lost emphatically because soviet-esque censorship has no place in a liberal democracy. Second, I love living with my girlfriend in our own space. She’s an absolute joy to have around and the graduate life has given us the flexibility to make big lifestyle decisions. We can get into just about any property as trained professionals, whereas as students we had to put up with the horrors of student accommodation and living with some rather unpleasant people. Finally, being able to earn a living is a joy. Money really does secure freedoms that are unavailable to students: with my monthly salary I can pay my bills, save half a grand and still have three or four times as much ‘fun-money’ as I did whilst studying.  I don’t dwell on the bad parts of graduate life, as there is little to nothing I can do about it. However, I do miss the vibrancy of student life. I was able to go out twice a week, play ultimate for the university, play in a football team, attend guest lectures, go cycling, visit friends and learn huge amounts outside of my degree, all whilst getting my essays in on time and still having time to spare. The number of people I regularly socialised with was much larger, so I miss that side of undergraduate life. Above all I miss the intellectual challenge, but I’m really excited to continue that part time in my master’s in education.  

What’s been your biggest achievement since you graduated? 
Qualifying as a teacher. Even if I only work as a teacher for a few years before moving onto something else, it gives me a great sense of wellbeing and accomplishment. 

Do you have any plans for the coming months and years? 
I’ll be finishing my master’s in 2018, I might even look at doctoral research after that. In 2020 my partner and I want to go to the Tokyo Olympics, we love the idea of travelling to Japan and we love the Olympics too! We’re also looking at buying a house and getting a dog – quite orthodox stuff really.

Is graduate life as you expected? 
I was ready to leave my undergraduate degree when it finished, so yes I would say so. Life is always full of surprises, but the state of not being a student is a bit of a walk in the park. If you’re in third year and you still don’t know what you want to do, my opinion is that you need to get yourself in gear. I had already applied for jobs and grad schemes when I started my third year, and I’d decided to apply for PGCE courses halfway through my second year. I’m not very sympathetic towards people that have these great existential crises after graduation; you’re responsible for your future and you have an inordinate amount of time to figure it all out whilst studying. Many people I’ve met believe this bizarre notion that by virtue of finishing university, one is entitled to a place on a grad scheme, and that they’ll come and find you. I always understood that adult life is deeply competitive and you have to carve your way through the world. Because of this, my life philosophy is built on self-determination, hard work and aspiration: with it I’ve gotten into Cambridge and won a real gem of a first job. Many of my friends are drowning in their overdraft whilst pulling pints in their Dad’s local, but claim their cocaine fuelled visit to South America has changed their lives – extended adolescence doesn’t look good on a CV.  

What did people tell you about graduate life - and has any of it proved to be true? 
Fear mongering is what I remember most vividly, particularly this idea that life is just generally a bit awful. That has proven to be untrue; my life is way more fulfilling than it was at university. More aggravating was the theory that all graduates feel the desire to go travelling as a form of escapism. I know for many people it’s a meaningful experience, but I didn’t spend four years at university to spend another finding myself abroad. I think avoiding the jobs market whilst claiming adult life is challenging is a perfect example of having your cake and eating it – I’m saving my travelling time for the summer holidays.  
If you had the opportunity, would you do university all over again?
If I could go back in time and do it again I would. In hindsight I could have done even more, but I didn’t appreciate just how much free time you have as a student. I’d also do a BSc in something like evolutionary biology or robotics, they’re really interesting fields. If you mean just do another degree and not use time travel, I would say no. Four years is enough fulltime study, now I want to get on with my career and establish myself.  

What’s your social life been like as a graduate in comparison to what it was like at university?
I socialise with a much wider range of people, especially in terms of age. I often go for drinks with other teachers, play football with a group of men aged between twenty-two and sixty, and enjoy reading for pleasure a lot more! University was an alcohol-fueled series of parties that went on for too long and hung-over training sessions. My circle of close-friends is much smaller and manageable, but this is likely a consequence of reduced spare time. 

What would you say are the biggest differences between the first year of university life, and the first year of graduate life? 
At the start of university you have a negligible amount of responsibilities, but huge amounts of time to fulfill them. As a graduate, you have an enormous volume of responsibilities, but ever decreasing amounts of time to fulfill them. The nature of those responsibilities change, as deadlines for coursework only effect you but deadlines at work might effect ten, twenty or a hundred other people that then have their own responsibilities, mortgages to pay and children to feed. Someone once said to me that university is a holiday, and whilst that’s far from true it does tap into a certain sense of jovial exoneration from oiling the cogs of the machine. Like Bill said, at graduation your free ride does indeed end.  

Do you feel you’ve changed much since you graduated? 
Since finishing my BA, I’ve changed immeasurably. I’m much more conscientious and I’ve felt the weight of real responsibility in my role as a teacher. My spare time is precious to me now, and I always use it to the full extent. I still have days in which I sit around and feel lazy, but only when I need a rest. Before graduation I was quite impulsive and liable to confrontation, but in the real world restorative approaches are important, so I’m much better at ignoring invidious comments and just seeing the funny side of things. Above all, I’ve come to terms with the establishment. In my second year I was quite left wing, and I believed I had the power to change the world. Adult life has taught me that there is a complex array of forces that we have little control over, and any action will incur unintended consequences. I’m just happy to perform a valued role in society, and that sense of self-efficacy is hard to generate when you’re a student, protesting about things that are, ultimately, inconsequential.  

What advice would you give with regards to contact with your University friends? 
I strongly recommend staying in touch with those people you cherish. Equally, don’t feel too upset if a number of people disappear, they might reappear again later on or simply aren’t worth it. It’s not possible to maintain your old life whilst building a new one, accept that and move on.

What advice would you give to those soon to be graduates? 
Make sure you have a plan and, if possible, don’t fall back on your parents. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and I’ve seen numerous people do it. A professor once said to me that having no idea of what it is you want to do is actually a liberty, as you can choose to do anything and it won’t be the wrong decision. Whatever you do, don’t acquiesce into doing nothing or elect to be static. Every summer another 50,000 or so people graduate, many of whom will have excelled in their studies and extra-curricular commitments, so you’re not quite as special as you’re rightly proud family make you out to be.

How does it feel to be considered an adult? 
At first a bit scary, but like all identity crises you will overcome it and make a place for yourself in the world. Such is life, if we didn’t kick on the human race would still be in the cave, drawing men with sticks on stonewalls and running from giant cats.  

Do you feel that going to university was worthwhile? 
Definitely. Without it I wouldn’t be able to do my job, so from a utilitarian perspective it has been essential. However, I strongly believe education has an intrinsic value and if it’s a meaningful field of study then it’s worth doing. A word of warning, however: don’t go into higher education lightly and make sure you have a goal to work towards with a realistic plan to support that journey. If you’re seventeen or eighteen and looking at going to university at the first opportunity, check you’re mature enough and able to tolerate people. University is a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities and politics. If you’re from a state school you’re going to meet a lot of people from wealthy backgrounds that attended independent schools, and the working-class hero act is embarrassing to say the least. Equally, if you’re from a privileged background, be prepared to meet those that have overcome real adversities and be sensitive to their lived experiences. These are things I’ve learnt during my time at university in addition to my studies, but I still question the 50k price tag. 

And a some final words of advice from Brandon...
If you find yourself without any direction or a sense of purpose, just pick anything and get on with it.  By establishing yourself in an industry, profession or trade you will give yourself great self-efficacy and a higher standard of living. Whilst you’re doing this, you can try and figure out what it is you want to do and save money to finance your retraining or career move. During my teacher training I met lawyers that decided to teach English or history, ex-military personnel that trained to teach geography and people from a huge range of industries that decided to teach STEM subjects. The same goes for my partner’s experience on her midwifery degree, her best friend on that course had left the RAF to deliver babies. The common denominator between these people is that they didn’t know what they wanted to do as graduates, but picked a route and later found their vocation. 
MissIsGoode
*Photos courtesy of Brandon

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Life and Times of All Students - Get Involved!

As a graduate entering her second year on the outside world, I no longer feel that I can represent students and their way of life like I once could. My blog name has been updated and my content has developed, but I don't want the student voice that once resided here to be lost as that is and hopefully will be the essence of this blog for many years to come. 

I'll always share my experience of student life but with each year that passes student life continues to develop and my personal experiences become less relevant. So, I'm appealing to all students and recent graduates out there who want to share their advice, stories and experiences of student life on my blog. I want to maintain the personal aspect of this blog therefore my content will still remain, but I also want this blog to become a space where students can continue, as many have done already through my student life interviews, to reach out to other students and their families and share their experiences. Whether this be a review of your university, a tour of the grounds, a run down of how you felt before, during and/or after university...really, all I'm looking for is as many honest voices as I can possibly find. I started this blog promising honesty, and sure I may have overshared a little, but how else will future students read about the nitty gritty of university life?

Having received and published so many wonderful posts from students and graduates over the past few months (with more to come!) I've realised how much I really enjoy sharing so many different voices on my blog and around social media for the masses to read, and I'd love for this to continue. So, if you'd like to get involved, drop me an email - missisgoode@gmail.com - with ideas for content or ready prepared pieces. This opportunity is directed at individuals who are students or graduates, and therefore will not change my policies on content produced for publicising a product or a company. I want the real and honest voices of students to continue to reside here on this blog, as it did during the years I was studying at Keele, and the best way to achieve this is through your contributions. 

Email me for any questions or with any content, and I'll look to answer your queries and share your stories. If you'd like a post published but need a prompt for content, I'm also happy to help! I cannot promise all content will be shared, especially if I do not deem it appropriate, in which case I will email you to let you know that the post will not go live. 

Also, don't hesitate to get involved if you're not quite a student yet - I'd love to feature posts that chronicle the run up to university - after all, that's where my blog began! 

I look forward to working with as many students out there as I possibly can!
MissIsGoode

Monday, 29 August 2016

Life After Graduation | Gracie - University of Winchester

My next graduate is Gracie, who studied Creative Writing at The University of Winchester. Here's a little insight into her life during and after University...

I loved University. It was rarely easy, but I suppose the best things never are. It was a phenomenal feeling to be challenged at every corner, academically, professionally and socially. There was certainly never a dull moment, and I always felt this beautiful sense of hope – like I was a part of something that was going to do some amazing things one day. That I was a part of something at all felt great, really, and I suppose I miss that.

For a while, I missed the structure, too. When I first finished University, I applied for dozens of graduate programs and jobs in the publishing industry, all over the country, hoping to let my career decide where I was going to live. Unfortunately, this was to no avail. It was chaotic and disappointing at every turn.  In the end, I decided to stay in Winchester and moved into a flat with my boyfriend and two friends. In some ways, I was fairly relieved. I love this city, and have built such a strong community of friends. I am never alone and I am never bored. There is always a gig to go to, or a poetry reading or a picnic by the river.  I don't think I was quite ready to let it go.  

I had to create structure for myself though, so I went full time at my job at the Co-op and put my head down and continued work on a novel I had started way back in my second year of University. I set myself constant and rigid deadlines and did pretty good at sticking to them, just like I did at University, with caffeine fuelled late nights and even the occasional tearful panic. I was, and continue to be motivated by the very promising and kind comments that were made to me by publishers and agents when I showed them my opening chapter at The Winchester Writers' Festival, something I was lucky enough to get a scholarship for in my second year.  And, I have very nearly finished!  
So, what's next?  I suppose, we'll see when I eventually get around to sending it off to publishers and agents. In the mean time, I still apply for dream jobs whenever they pop up in my inbox, but really, I am quite happy to work a job that pays the bills, so long as I get to do what I love and that is writing. That is where my passion lies.  
In July, my boyfriend and I moved back to his Mum's to live for a little while. That way we can save some money. We will also be doing some travelling in September – a six week road trip from NYC to San Francisco, where I will hopefully be hunting down poetry events and open-mic nights and reading in a country where I feel poetry is brash and accessible and brilliant. I think this is something I would never have had the confidence to do if I didn't go to University and the same goes for writing a novel, so it isn't all bad really, but I do question whether it was really worth the 40 grands worth of debt I have found myself in. I suppose, my advice to anyone planning to go to University (especially in any creative department) would be to not expect to walk in to the dream job as soon as you graduate, and to be prepared to have to make it on your own. Be it writing or performing or creating art, sometimes you have to tread your own path, make a space for yourself, in a world where it often feels there isn't room for you.

If you'd like to read more about Gracie's journey through student life, click here
MissIsGoode
*All photos courtesy of Gracie 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Life After Graduation | Sara - Keele University

My next graduate interviewee is one my best friends from Keele University, whose name you have read many times, and who's face has made numerous appearances on this here blog (if you gaze to the right of this page, she's even in the middle of that very photo!). Sara studied English and Psychology and graduated last year at the same time as me. Here's her views on graduate life:

How does it feel to be a graduate? 
It still feels a bit strange. At first it felt strange but it was still so fresh and recent but now, one year on, it feels like University was a life time ago! In some aspects I feel like I have all this knowledge but then in another aspect, it doesn’t even feel like I graduated! 

What’s been the biggest challenge? 
My biggest challenge has been figuring out what I want to do as a career. For me personally, I thought I had a very good idea of what I wanted to do but then I returned back to my old workplace and was in a department that made me realise I could go into Psychology as a career. I think that my dual honors degree has a major advantage in that I can do so much with it but on the flip side of that there are just so many decisions I have to make because of it. 

What’s your living situation?
I’ve moved back home but I’m quite lucky in that it’s very relaxed and I’m treated like an adult! 

What, for you, have been the best and worst things about graduate life? 
I like being able to actually have my own money that isn’t from a student loan or any other support. I like that aspect of independence and it’s nice to be able to save for things. I think the worst is just purely how busy life is and how busy everyone else is now. It’s hard to meet up with some friends as they’ve moved far away or to other countries.
What’s been your biggest achievement since you graduated? 
I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest achievement ever but I feel that actually securing a job in the first place is an achievement as a graduate! I feel my biggest achievement at University was completing my dissertation. I undertook a huge research project on depression which took over my third year massively but it was a great achievement (£22 later after I’d printed it all!) 

Do you have any plans/goals for the coming months and years?
I want to be in a stable graduate job in a few months and I want that job to lead somewhere, I want a career where I can keep learning and I don’t want to be bored in that career. 

Is graduate life as you expected?
It is in the sense that you’re now an adult, you’ve been through Uni and you’ve moved on from that chapter of your life and now you’re living an independent life. For me it’s a weird one as all my friends have also moved back home so it feels like it did before we all set off to Uni. 

What did people tell you about graduate life - and has any of it proved to be true?
I don’t think that anybody actually told me about graduate life specifically but focused more on how it would feel to finish exams and studying and how relieved you would feel. Believe me, that part is correct, the amount of relief I felt when I did my last exam was huge. But there wasn’t a ‘well this is what it’ll be like for you next year’ conversation. 

If you had the opportunity, would you do university all over again? 
If it meant that I could do it again with the same people, then yes. But I feel like that part of my life is in the past now so I wouldn’t want to revisit another Undergrad degree! I do genuinely miss learning as I loved studying Psychology. Obviously I would do University again for the opportunity to become qualified in some aspect of a career, for example, a PGCE.
What’s your social life been like as a graduate in comparison to what it was like at university?
There has been an obvious decline in clubbing but I do think that’s my own decision as well. I can’t hack hangovers and I don’t like spending my whole weekend (the only time I get off) feeling like rubbish. I do see my Uni friends every month or so and we spend the weekend together which is a great way to catch up. But I’m very lucky to still have a lot of good friends from Secondary School and I see them every week or so. I also go out quite a bit with my work friends to bars which is a good way to de stress from work. 

What would you say are the biggest differences between the first year of university life and the first year of graduate life? 
A major difference is in first year I’d be going out 3 or even 4 times a week compared to the once every few months I go out now as a graduate. I still go out but not to clubs, I tend to go to a lot of bars with my friends now. I’d say my general lifestyle is a lot healthier now as a graduate than in first year where my diet consisted of takeaways and alcohol. 

Do you feel you’ve changed much since you graduated? 
I feel like I’m more independent and confident in making decisions. I also feel that I’m more confi-dent in speaking up so for example, if something isn’t going well at work or if I want to view my opinion on an aspect of my work then I will. I don’t feel scared in doing that which I feel is a pro-gression of the ‘me’ a few years ago - I wasn’t like that at all. 

Have you seen your university friends much since you graduated?
I’ve seen my 3 closest friends from University and we meet every month or so - we live all over the country so we have to plan ahead where we’ll meet! I haven’t managed to see anyone else though, mainly due to distance. 

How does it feel to be considered an adult? 
It does feel weird as I still don’t consider myself an adult, mainly due to the fact I work with a lot of graduates or apprentices in the same situation as me. It is good though, I do feel respected and feel like my views are respected more. 

Do you feel that going to university was worthwhile? 
I do feel like it was worthwhile. There is a whole debate on whether going to university is worth it, especially with the cost students now face. But I feel like that shouldn’t put you off from going to study something you have an interest in and gaining the experience. The experience of being in seminars, giving presentations and the general student lifestyle gives you so much independence and prepares you for the adult world. 

What advice would you give to those soon to be graduates? 
Prepare. If you know what you want to do, the sort of the career you want to go into, then start looking at Grad Schemes as there’s so many of them about! It’s definitely worth applying for them and they’re only about for a specific window of time, so if you wait until October - they won’t be there anymore! 
MissIsGoode

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Life After Graduation | Bill - Truro College & Plymouth University

The next post is from my older brother, Bill. He did a foundation degree in Media Advertising at Truro University, completing his final year at Plymouth University, and graduated four years ago with a degree in Media Arts. 

So I met my brother when I was born, unsurprisingly. Well, I guess he met me first and he's a pretty cool guy, despite how much he used to beat me up when we were children. Isn't that what big brothers are for? I've always promised to be honest on my blog, and my brother is as honest as they come, which I truly appreciate. 
Here's a less than sober looking me on a night out with Bill!


How does it feel to be a graduate?
Like many things in life it's underwhelming. Being the first person in our family to go to and graduate  from University I felt a small amount of pride, but I don't feel like it was life changing.

What was the biggest challenge you faced at university?
The biggest challenge for me was staying motivated with the work. A lot of people go to university because they have a passion for a subject, a long term career goal or those foolish ones that just want the experience. I had contemplated not attending university for some time while I was in my second year of college as I found I had become tired with education. The main reason for going was because my friend, Jake, suggested that I do an FdA like he was. It seemed like a good idea and the course I picked was fun. In my last year while doing the BA I found my motivation slumped massively, I enjoyed the creative work still but I hated that everything we did was surrounded by a mountain of bullsh*t. Not every piece of art or photograph means something, some of it just looks nice and some of it is just terrible. I felt like an outsider because I didn't like to participate in the emotional dissection of photographs of the seaside. It's hard to want to be somewhere when you don't really fit in.

What’s your current living situation?
I rent a room in a house with three others. Initially I was still in my parent's house where I had stayed throughout uni as it was cheaper and they're cool. Then I moved into a flat with my friends and then I left the county altogether for no particular reason other than I was presented with the opportunity to do so.

What's rather telling is that all four of us are graduates but only one of us works in a field relating to their degree. Two of us work in retail and the other in IT. I think I could afford to live by myself but this is cheaper, I like the people I live with and I also read that spending too much time alone removes any social buffers that would prevent your weirder habbits from getting out of control. I'm a strange enough guy anyway so I don't think there's a good enough reason to risk getting stranger just yet.

What are the best and worst things about graduate life?
After I graduated I was unemployed for about 6 months, work was hard to come by in Cornwall aside from seasonal jobs really. Of those that actually got back to me, they either told me I was overqualified or too inexperienced for the job. For a while I had thought that university and attaining that precious 2:1 that makes a degree worth putting on your CV were a complete waste of time until I finally got an interview and a job. The only good thing about being a graduate is that in my current job they seem to be desperate to have educated people working for them, this has allowed for me to progress more quickly.

What’s been your biggest achievement since you graduated?
I haven't washed my hair with shampoo or used any hair products in 9 months. This may not seem like a big deal but given how disgusted people are with this knowledge and their lack of understanding about the human scalp I think it's commendable that I have resisted the peer pressure and have allowed my hair to bask in its own natural oils.

Do you have any plans/goals for the coming months or years? 
Right now my job is going through restructuring so my immediate goal is to keep my job. There's no real point in planning beyond that. 

Is graduate life as you expected? 
It's so much worse. 

What did people tell you about graduate life - and has any of it proved to be true? 
No one really told me anything, being the first one to go in the family I had to be somewhat of a trailblazer. People did tell me a lot that I would regret it if I didn't go. You'll find people are much more eager to tell you how shit your life will be if you don't go to university. From secondary school onwards teachers and pretty much everyone will try and make you feel like you'll grow up to be a waste of human life if you don't pursue the life of a graduate.

If you had the opportunity, would you do university all over again? 
At the prices they charge now? Jesus Christ no. I feel bad for a lot of young people now who will have their dreams crushed by the soaring tax on learning. 

What’s your social life been like as a graduate in comparison to what it was like at university? 
Well when I was at university I had a girlfriend and saw three of my best friends everyday and had a wide circle of other friends. Now I work at night and even though I still live with two of my best friends I can go literally days without seeing them or in fact anyone that I don't work with. I should add that the people I work with are great but due to the aforementioned restructuring they can understandably be somewhat up and down. 

What would you say are the biggest differences between the first year of university life, and the first year of graduate life?
When you start university you have hope for the future, during your first year of graduate life the crushing reality of adult life will finally sink in and the light of hope will slowly burn out and leave your soul swimming in darkness. 

Do you feel you’ve changed much since you graduated? 
I probably have but I it won't be anything interesting. 

Have you seen your university friends much since you graduated? 
Those that were my friends before, I have. Those I actually studied with I have not seen since I finished my degree, I didn't attend the ceremony for my BA either so I haven't seen any of them since I turned in my last assignment. 

How does it feel to be considered an adult? 
Unremarkable. While I don't shirk my responsibilities as an adult I often feel that the life of a child or a dog is much more enjoyable. I also look fairly young so I still got asked for ID all the time until last year. All being an "adult" means is your free ride is over. 

Do you feel that going to university was worthwhile? 
That's debatable, I did use my student loan to by a sweet computer so that was worth it and I did get to make a short film and some adverts with my friends which was cool. It was worth it for me I guess because it only cost me £15k in total but if you're going now then I'd say it's probably not worth it. 

What advice would you give to those soon to be graduates? 
Start looking for work before you leave, be practical in what you're looking for to make sure you have an income to pay off your crippling debt but on the side, look for jobs doing things you enjoy.

And a final bit of advice...

Don't go to university unless you have a passion or a clear goal that you're working towards, it really isn't worth what it's going to cost you long term. 

Also if you do go, don't be a f*cking idiot and leave all your work to the last minute. I saw a lot of people do it and maybe you'll get lucky and do well, but if you get a 3rd you've basically wasted over £40k.
MissIsGoode

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Journey's End | Rachael - University of Worcester

It's time to throw it back to third year again with recent university finalist Rachael. Rachael has now finished her degree in Psychology at the University of Worcester and is due to graduate this year. 

Here's a little about Rachael's university experience...enjoy! 
Have you enjoyed your time at university? 
Yes, absolutely!

Do you have any regrets? 
A few but no major ones – for example, I regret not taking advantage of how much spare time I had in first and second year. I wish that I’d volunteered and got some paid work earlier. I also wish that I hadn't left it until the last year to join a society because I had a lot more fun than I expected. 

Is there something that you really wish you had done, but never got the chance to? 
I wish that I had the chance to have a semester abroad but unfortunately my course didn’t offer that. I keep seeing people doing it and I am so jealous. 

What was the highlight of your university years? 
It’s quite hard to choose. I loved the social aspect – partying and having fun as well as meeting people who have honestly grown me as a person. However, I was really engaged in my subject and (as nerdy as it is), getting to learn new things all the time. So yeah, it would have be a tie between the two. 

How do you feel you’ve changed over the years? 
I feel like I am a lot more rational and laid-back about things. Like before uni I would find it hard not to let my emotions get the better of me, but now I can just take things on the chin and think on the long-term. I also feel that I am a lot more motivated to become self-reliant than I was before. And I have a much better idea of what I want from life which has made me more confident and assertive than I was previously.

Has your friendship group changed much? 
It really has. It’s become smaller but in a good way as the quality of the friendships has improved vastly. 

What was your biggest achievement during your time at university?
Probably a standard one but achieving a 2:1 on my degree. I was so excited because I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d achieve it. 

Do you feel like going to university has been worthwhile? 
Definitely. 

What are your plans now? 
I’m currently working in Worcester in retail until my house contract runs out, just to save up some money, then I’m going back home and applying for jobs in mental health. 

How do you feel about graduation day? 
I’m looking forward to it. I'm not looking forward to wearing the gowns though, but I can’t wait to see everyone again and partying after. 

What was it like doing a final year project? 
It was alright, it was fun to be able to research an area of my choice. However it was also quite nerve racking because I had no idea what was considered a good standard of work for the project. 

What advice would you give to students going into their final year? 
Honestly, just to work as hard as you can and to really engage and enjoy it because it’s your last chance. Third year can leave you pretty frazzled though so I’d say don’t be afraid to let yourself go and have some fun as well, just make sure your work isn’t neglected completely. 

What was the best night out you had at university? 
There are so many great nights they all really blur into one. A really good one though was in second year on Halloween. We had a pre-drinks session and then I went to my friend’s house party that was joint with their neighbors. I met a load of new people and I was pretty wasted all night. We went out after but I was so drunk that I can’t remember this point, haha. I don’t know why it was so memorable but it was probably because I love Halloween and spent the night in an alcohol infused, hyper state. 

How did freshers week feels as a final year?
It was really fun! I think it was one of the fresher’s week I enjoyed the most as I didn’t feel like a lost puppy. It was great seeing people on nights out who I hadn’t seen all summer. It was weird seeing all the freshers out though, they all looked so young! 

How did your nights out change as university went on? 
They were really fun at the beginning as everyone was new and it was pretty exciting because of this. As they went on I got more confident and spoke to more people as well as figuring out the best nights to go out (always Mondays and Wednesdays in Worcester). After joining a society pre-drinks were a lot more intense and I drank a lot more. However, because I always knew a lot more people and knew how safe Worcester is, I became much more carefree on nights out and really got into them. 

Would you do it all again? 
Probably not, it was a fantastic experience but I feel like I’ve got every-thing that I wanted to get out of it. 

Where do you plan to settle down now?
Moving home until I figure out what I’m going to do exactly.

What’s your plan after graduation? 
I’m wanting to go into clinical psychology so I’m hoping to land a job in mental health while I spend some time out of education before going back and doing a clin-ical psychology masters.
MissIsGoode
*Photo courtesy of Rachael  

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Journey's End | Krisi - Falmouth University

So, it's time to pay another visit to a final year student. I had the pleasure of being friends with Krisi at Truro College and when it came to picking her next place to study, she decided to stay a little closer to home (a choice which I sometimes envy!), and studied Graphic Design at Falmouth University...

Have you enjoyed your time at university? 
I've really enjoyed my time at University! Without wanting to sound cliché, it has definitely been some of the best years of my life. 

Do you have any regrets? 
Not really, apart from maybe wishing I had done more in first year and gotten more involved with the activities and societies. Once you get to second and especially third year you start to realize how much free time you had and how much you took it for granted! 

Is there something that you really wish you had done, but never got the chance to?
I don’t think there is anything I’ve missed out on! I’d say I’ve had a pretty standard and well rounded University experience overall! 

What was the highlight of your university years? 
There are so many things to choose from! Probably the study trip we went on in Second year- going to Amsterdam with a group of close friends, and getting to visit so many great design studios and museums was amazing, and definitely gave me a renewed passion for my course. 

How do you feel you’ve changed over the years? 
We were given a postcard in our first week of the course and asked to write to ‘future us’. We were given them back recently and I can definitely say I’m a bit more ‘fun’ now- First year me tried to be all serious, telling me to ‘not get too drunk before lectures’ and ‘remember to call home’. All important points- but I’ve definitely developed more of a ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos over the years! Also I can pay bills and do other grown up things now, so there’s that… 

Has your friendship group changed much?
 
Definitely! I didn’t move far to go to University, but most of my close friends did! I do still see my old college and school friends from time to time when they’re home, and I’m still good friends with a few who stuck around. – but obviously I spend more time with friends I’ve met at Uni . What was your biggest achievement (doesn’t have to be academic)? Finishing my degree! It may sound silly, but getting through all of those all nighters and making it out in one piece without failing is definitely an achievement! Also losing the weight I put on during freshers and second year (all 45lbs of it!) is something I don’t really like to ‘brag’ about, but I am pretty proud of.
Do you feel like going to university has been worthwhile? 
Again, definitely - I’ve learned so much and it has opened so many doors to me. It’s helped me mature as a person as well as a designer, so it was definitely worthwhile. What are your plans now?

I’m currently volunteering at the National Maritime Museum over the summer, helping out with their educational activities, and have an interview in two weeks for a PGCE course starting in September. (So fingers crossed!) 

How do you feel about graduation day?


A bit nervous that I’ll trip over myself in front of everyone, but also excited! Our Chancellor Dawn French should be there- so that’s pretty cool. What was it like doing a final year project? A bit mental at times- having 3 projects that ran throughout the entire year was a huge change from how I was used to working- but it was great fun too. And it was great to finally see them all set up for our final degree show. 

What advice would you give to students going into their final year? 
Make the most of it! Try not to be overwhelmed by the workload, and take any and every opportunity that is offered to you. 

What was the best night out you had at university? 
It’s going to sound a bit lame, but probably the themed Pirate Party night during freshers. Going out with your flatmates you’ve only known a few days during ridiculous themed freshers events at the SU is always great fun. 

How did freshers week feels as a final year? 
I didn’t get a chance to attend freshers week during my final year- but watching all of the freshers going out and having fun, just starting out at University, definitely made me nostalgic! Everything during first year felt so grown up and exciting; moving out, meeting new people, starting a new course, whereas starting third year just seemed a bit daunting. 

How did your nights out change as university went on?


I definitely went out more in first year- during second and third year I had a lot less free time to spend going out or being hungover. But I like to think that just meant that when I did go out, I really made the most of it, haha.
Would you do it all again? 

Absolutely! University has been the best experience and I’d give anything to wind the clock back 3 years! (Although maybe not if it meant I had to do all the work again)
 

Do you plan on settling down near your university, moving back home, or going somewhere new? 

I currently live with my boyfriend of 2 years, and we’re planning on staying in Falmouth for a while so that I can complete my PGCE. After that- who knows! I’d love to get out of Cornwall and explore a bit though. 
 (And the last questions that everyone hates to hear) 

What’s your plan after graduation?


‘The plan’ is to complete a PGCE, and become an A Level/FE Graphic Design lecturer - or possibly branch off into some other form of creative education. I’d definitely love to try my hand at museum and history related informal education- so we’ll just have to see!
MissIsGoode
*All photos are courtesy of Krisi 
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