My year as a Grad
It has been about a year ago since I graduated and after attending a graduation ceremony as a guest this week, it made me think about my life this year as a graduate.
So you've just graduated, you've thrown the hat, your uni account has been officially de-activated, you've already lost your degree certificate- time to dive straight into your dream job right? If only life was that easy!
Certainly for a handful of students that does happen and that is so amazing, good for them that their hard work has paid off so quick. But what about everyone else?
During the end of my university years I was super ready to leave and get out into the real working world and start my career. I was certain I was going to quit my part time job and start working as a fancy designer person by Christmas 2015 - that was my goal. How naive was I? If only I knew how painfully difficult it is to land a designer job, let alone as a junior especially with no experience at this point. Not only are jobs for this kind of field slim within the South Wales area- which is where I was aiming, but they are incredibly competitive. After feeling frustrated at myself a lot for not getting a job straight away, I needed to take a step back and really process everything.
I couldn't possibly begin to count the amount of job applications I have applied for within this past year. Even after receiving multiple rejection emails a day, its important to not be defeated. As I said, design job roles are highly competitive. Therefore, don't take this rejection to mean that you are not good enough or your work isn't good enough, or to just give up. This just means that unfortunately you don't fit what the company is looking for THIS TIME. You are good enough for someone, and if you keep working at your craft you will only get better and there will be people fighting over you. Maybe send an email asking why you weren't successful and work on the feedback they give you. As they say what doesn't kill you simply makes you stronger.
Its Not a Competition
One of the toughest things I have found this year after graduating is looking on at class mates and others around you who have already got their lives sorted and figured out. Slowly as the year passes, more and more people are landing jobs and starting their adult lives. And there was me still not getting my break thinking am I not good enough? Should I just give up because it hasn't happened yet? Absolutely do not give up! Just because others may have got jobs already doesn't mean its time for you to stop trying. It is so easy to compare yourselves to others and feel as though their life is better than yours. Stop comparing your life to others. Everyone is different and things happen to people at different times in life, thats just the way the world works. It is important to work at getting to where you want to be every single day. Because if you don't keep trying you're never going to get there and you'll only have yourself to blame. Also who says you have your life sorted out right away? We are still so young with our whole lives ahead of us. Please never give up. Your time will come.
One Opportunity Leads to Another
One thing I knew that was in my way to landing a job was my lack of experience. It was difficult for me to find suitable work experience that fit around my part time job which I couldn't possibly afford to give up to work for no pay. Thankfully, I managed to find a company who offered work experience on a part time basis that fit around my current part time job. Perfect! This opportunity to gain valuable work experience meant that the window to employment opened up just that little bit more. Work experience gives you that knowledge about actually working on a live project for real clients which means the work you produce really matters. With that work experience under your belt, you come away with greater knowledge of the industry and improved work that will give you a greater chance in applying to future jobs. So if you can try and do as much work as possible to a) grow your working knowledge and b) gain connections in the industry. The more people know who you are and the fact you can produce great work, the more working opportunities will come your way.
There is so much more I could write about which I may do in the future, but I just wanted to get a few points across. I hope this post doesn't sound too negative because being a graduate is really what you make out of it. You can choose to give in or make the most out of life. I am actually thankful that over this past year I have been able to take time to improve on myself and discover what it is I want to do, what I'm good at and what makes me happy. Going forward into my second year as I graduate I hope I am able to continue making work for people as an Illustrator and Designer, whether that be as a member of a team or freelancer. All I know is that I will never stop trying to get there!