…Well maybe a little bit!
It’s come to that time. I have finished education and now I have to enter the real world of jobs, no student loan to help pay my rent and the start of taxes. Fun, fun, fun. I’ve had an amazing three years studying Media Communications. I have learnt so much and the course really interested me. I’m glad that I decided to study this course and that I studied something I genuinely love. I suppose the one disadvantage of a course like mine is that there is no set occupation to enter following the completion of the degree. I have been indecisive for three years about what I want to do (or actually my whole education since they started talking about careers in secondary school).
I have been dreading the question “so what are you going to do when you graduate?” for the last three years but I have been the same whenever I’ve been asked about my future.
When we had to make our GCSE and A-Level choices in school, most people would go into it with a career in mind. For example, my friend Amy wanted to be a doctor (and has just passed her third year of studying medicine – go Amy!) so she knew that she had to take sciences. Me, being indecisive, had no clue what I wanted to do when I was at school. I knew I didn’t want to do anything in science or law (the degrees that seem to have a job at the end eg. lawyer, doctor, nurse, optometrist, dentist) and I absolutely hated science and maths so I wasn’t going to choose them! So although I preferred the humanities and more “artsy” subjects, I had no specific career path. This was a good thing, in a way, as I chose subjects that I liked and was fairly good at instead – Music, Media, French and Welsh at GCSE and English Lang/Lit, French and Media for A-level. Similarly when it came to applying for uni, I decided to do a Media degree as I simply enjoyed studying it and although I had no job in mind, I thought I would like to work in the media.
I’m so glad I made that decision. As I have said above, the last three years have been brilliant! I have studied Media from a cultural studies perspective, I have been able to specialise in analysing television for my assessments and it has made me a more open person. Yes, there may not be a specific job at the end but I wouldn’t have enjoyed doing a degree which is simply a training scheme for a job. Personally, I don’t think education should be about business or employablity. It should be about KNOWLEDGE and LEARNING. I have learnt so much from my course. This does include transferable skills such as research methods, good communication etc but it has taught me to be more open and a different way of thinking. As a heavily research-based theoretical and analytical course, I have learnt how to think critically. This means that I construct arguments based on a balanced perspective, acceptable sources and can form my own conclusions about a subject based on the research I have conducted. I am so grateful for my course’s focus on critical thinking.
However, having learnt to critically think and often being in an analytical mindframe, it does make me wince and moan about people, especially on social media, who share stuff blindly without any thought to the credibility of the source, the validity of the information or the blatant bias/agenda of what they’ve shared. To me, it just highlights the need for basic media literacy to be taught to people.
I still don’t have a specific job in mind when people ask me “what are you going to do after you graduate?” But with graduation fast approaching (beginning of July) and having received my degree classification, I am a little bit more focused and have a few ideas. I have been to several events while at uni regarding television (mostly) and careers which have given me an insight into the industry. Ideally I would like to go into audience research for television in an organisation like the BBC Trust. I believe audiences are integral to television production. I also am interested in marketing and social media promotion for arts organisations. Having been involved with many arts organisations in the last few years, I feel it is a neglected area (especially when it comes to funding!) and that people need to be encouraged to engage with culture.
At the moment I am applying for a mixture of jobs and placements. I started looking a couple of days after I finished university in May. I’ve applied for a few media and marketing specific jobs and short placements. I have also applied for a lot of jobs (about 25-30 in the last week alone) unrelated to media eg. in retail, cafes, restaurants, hotels, admin, in a bid to just earn some money. Having signed for a house in Cardiff with some friends, I really need something to pay the rent! It’s a scary process full of CVs, covering letters and application forms, hoping that in some way I stand out from the other candidates. However, I think the worst part is the waiting. If I had something, no matter how few the hours were or type of job, I think I would feel more relaxed and reassured. Not knowing and waiting on several applications is excruciating. I welcome emails/contact from companies even when it’s a rejection because at least I know that I haven’t got it instead of waiting to hear within 10/14/21/28 days. If a company created a position to just send out rejection emails, I would happily do that to save other people the agony of waiting like I have been.
I am determined to get a job (and hopefully one that I would enjoy). The media industry is constantly changing and it could be to my advantage that my degree doesn’t send me straight into one occupation. I am grateful for all that I have learnt at university and the experience I have had, both educationally and with the amazing people on my course. I am glad that I have studied something that I have enjoyed and that hopefully I can one day have a job which gives me the same satisfaction. I will do it despite the agonising wait to hear from prospective jobs and the anxiety over application forms.
I’m going on a job hunt. I’m not scared.