As lectures are ending, I can’t help but to reflect on my academic life and my next steps. As a Master’s student, this is my final year of study. So I thought I’d like to share my experiences, alongside my plans (or not so much) for the future.
I’ve spent a total of five years at university, which sounds like a long time, but it’s honestly gone so quickly! I started off doing my undergraduate in Marketing and Management, before swapping to Media Communications and Cultural Studies at Newcastle University. After my degree, I jumped straight into my Master’s degree at the University of Manchester. I’m not sure in retrospect whether this was the right choice for me or not because I feel quite burnt out – maybe a gap year would have been a better option, but I guess I’ll never know!
As I’m leaving university, I must admit to feeling conflicted. I’m so mentally drained from academia and I think I feel ready to leave. I’m proud to have been a student, and I’m proud of the work I’ve achieved, but honestly it seems like it’s my time to leave. All that said, I’m not looking forward to a 9-5 job!
What career do I want, you may ask? Honestly, I’m not sure. Despite doing a Master’s in Arts Management, which seems quite narrow, it’s a surprisingly wide field. You can get into PR, events management, marketing…the list goes on. Despite the anxiety surrounding my future, I’m not that worried about it. I’ve never had a specific job in mind, so I’m just going to see what appeals to me at the time. I’ve learnt not to be picky, which is fortunate considering the realistically large number of jobs I’ll have to apply to. Everyone always seems to pressure students into narrowing down their careers, and I’m not sure if that’s the way to go about it. Because I felt rushed, I went into an undergraduate course that I didn’t enjoy – from that experience I’ve learnt that it’s okay to just pick something you’re interested in without any specific goal in mind.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t be preparing the best I can. I will be going to the university’s Career Service to get my CV checked and to see if they know when I should apply for jobs after my Master’s so I’m ready for ‘the big wide world’ of job searching. If you’re paying for university, you might as well make use of the advice and services whilst you can! (Did you know you can still access the Careers Service as a graduate – always worth knowing!)
As my educational journey is coming to an end, I can’t help but feel quite sad about it. This academic year has gone so quickly and I’ve truly enjoyed all of the opportunities I’ve had in Manchester, alongside meeting some of my closest friends. From listening to my friends go through the same thing last year, I know it’s pretty normal to fear leaving education. Most of us have been in education for decades of our lives at this point, and it’s daunting to imagine life without that structure or routine. I honestly don’t know what my life will look like after September, and that’s terrifying. However, change isn’t always bad, and I know that I will be supported by my family and friends.
In many ways, this is actually the beginning of my life. Whilst taxes and strict work routines don’t seem ideal, it’ll become a new routine. My career journey will be something that will scare me to death initially, but nothing has to be permanent. If I don’t end up enjoying my next job, I don’t have to stay in that role or field forever. Leaving education with that mindset, rather than putting pressure on myself to find my ’dream job’, will probably end up being more beneficial to me.
Right now, I’m just trying to enjoy the present and focusing on the time I have left at university, rather than worrying about problems that are too far ahead in the future to predict. I do know one thing for certain though, and that’s despite being afraid to leave university , I do feel ready to leave university. I’m sure lots of people feel this way, and I just want people to know they aren’t alone. It’s okay to not know what you want as a career – just take everything one step at a time and eventually you’ll make it to a destination.