My next Graduate to share her story is Scarlett. I only briefly got to know Scarlett during the time we studied at Keele, but I do know that she is an incredibly talented and creative individual who will most definitely lead a successful life. Without further ado, here is Scarlett's story...
First of all I’d like to thank Issy for asking me to contribute to her “Graduate Life” series. It’s been wonderful to keep up with the personal journeys of some familiar faces and it’s an absolute pleasure to take part.
I feel like my experience of university very much took the form of chapters, and I would struggle to give a comparative “before and after” of my university experience. I guess that’s why I’m writing in this way; to be a little less formal than a ‘question and answer’ format.
Being asked what it ‘feels like’ to be a graduate is a difficult question because as my time at uni progressed I sort of faded out of the campus community and never really felt as though there was one particular moment that I ceased to be a student (save for that heart-wrenching moment Urban Outfitters stopped giving me my student discount). I’d lived in halls for my first year and it was then that I made amazing memories of which I’ll always be fond. However I very much lived with one foot in Keele, and the other at my home in Cannock. I’d come home on weekends for my job and then in later years I lived with my then non-student boyfriend an hour away from campus. So by my second year I’d already began phasing myself out of “Student” status and it wasn’t really much of a shock for me once I’d graduated. Also as I had already cultivated my social circle outside of Keele, it meant that I only keep in regular contact with a handful of really close uni friends.
If I could time travel, yes I would definitely go to university all over again. I’ve always loved reading, but without being exposed to creative writing courses and the kind of fertile environment of university, I would never have had the confidence to produce my own work as well as meet other like-minded people that inspired me and helped me to grow. The ‘light bulb moment’ for me was when my lecturer told me “even when you write prose it sounds like poetry” and I just knew I’d found who I was as a person. I’d always encourage people to go to university if they have the opportunity as you learn so much more than just what is prescribed on the course.
I got my degree in English Lit and History after doing a dissertation in Creative writing. I stumbled into a job in web design pretty soon after graduating and found that I had a flair for copy writing and content creation because of my background as a wordsmith. Along side that I run my little online poetry shop (which you can check out here) and continue to go to poetry reading events and workshops. Working full time has made me realise how precious personal time is, and evenings are either spent tac’tac’ting’ing on my typewriter until midnight to fulfil orders, or trying desperately to fit a half an hour of reading in so I can get to sleep at a decent hour to be up for work. However I feel that most of my friends are in a similar boat with jobs and commitments, so when we go out on a weekend we’re all ready to either let off steam and party till stupid o’clock, or vegetate with chinese food and trash telly; there is no in between.
For now, I plan to continue writing, taking part in the poetry community and running my online shop. I'd also love to eventually end up with my own book of poetry! If I had any advice for recent graduates that find themselves overwhelmed with the sudden mountain of pressure and responsibility, it would be to not give up on what you love to do. I enjoy web design as it’s in a creative field that challenges and interests me, but I feel that my occupation complements my life rather than completes it. I would describe myself first and foremost as a Writer. So even if it means staying up half an hour later to read that book you’ve left dog-eared for weeks, or continue your blog you haven’t updated in a while, or paint that scene that’s been lingering in your head, then make sure you find the time to do it. Because if university was about finding yourself, then to lose it now would be too much of a waste.