Creative Writing & English

May 2012

Where did you Study?

De Montfort University

What did you Study?

Creative Writing and English

What year did you Graduate?

2011

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Thoughtful, depressed, loving

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

I started looking and applying for jobs after a couple of weeks and I volunteered in my son’s primary school to do real work, such as finger painting and dot to dots! For the first two weeks I made the most of having my life back ie. I read trashy magazines, instead of ye boring old textbooks the size of yellow pages, cooked proper food that didn’t go from oven to freezer to plate and stayed in bed until afternoons.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I am a teaching assistant, working with 12 – 16 year olds. It is a stepping stone on the way to my dream job (primary school teacher) but it has made me think that I am unsure whether I would prefer to work in primary or secondary, so I’m going to stick with this until I am sure of what I want to do.

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

I think that Uni has helped me because I would struggle to become a teacher without having my degree. However, I also think having a degree is overrated because whilst you are there it’s hard to build up work experience, so other people have worked their way up in companies, and when you leave Uni, you’re only just getting started!

However, if I didn’t go to Uni then I probably would have got forced into a job that I hated with no opportunities. I also wouldn’t have met the amazing people that I did and learnt the valuable things it taught me.

A vocational degree would probably be better to enter straight into a high paid career, as with an English degree there’s no specific job area that is crying out for it. With the fees having gone up to £9000 per year, I wouldn’t even consider going at this price because I don’t think that my earnings after Uni would be worth that amount and I don’t think the whole experience is worth that much!

Describe your Uni experience? Did you face any obstacles? The positives, the negatives, reveal all. Terrible lecturers can be anonymous!

Throughout Uni I felt like a bit of a loner, an outsider and like I didn’t fit in. My son was only two and a half when I started so whilst everyone else was living in halls, enjoying life away from their families for the first time (I had already been living away from my parents since 16) and going to the pub after lectures, I had a house to look after and was bringing up a child as a single, young mum. I did make a few select and special friends, but I feel like I never had the ‘full’ Uni experience of living in halls, getting drunk and being pushed home in a trolley etc. The first two years I managed to keep up with deadlines; the third year, I slipped behind in a lot of things, struggled to cope, and nearly gave up three months before the course finished. However, all of the teaching staff on my course were amazingly supportive and went out of their way to support me.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

My working week ahead includes working intensively with pupils who need to meet deadlines for their GCSE assessments and a non-uniform day on Friday!

That’s it Sarah*, you have been wonderful.

Graphic Communication

May 2012

Where did you Study?

Bath Spa University

What did you Study?

BA Hons in Graphic Communication.

What year did you Graduate?

2012

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Chinese, Cute-tummy, Gorgeous (from my girlfriend, and I’m not even Chinese)

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

It was all a bit weird on the day. It’s strange thinking about how it all boils down to this one day. Seeing all my work from final year in 4 boxes and a portfolio is a bit depressing. I spent and am still currently, enjoying a few weeks of freedom before sorting my life out. I think I deserve the break.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I’m currently unemployed and a bit worried about finding full-time employment. Trawling jobs sites and sending my portfolio out will commence shortly. Personal opinion is that it is easier to find a job whilst you’re employed, so even if my first job isn’t what I expected or as fun as I thought, then I’ll just keep looking.

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

In terms of Uni motivating me to do work then yes, but specifically the Uni, lectures, tutoring etc. then no. Coming from a non-design background into the creative industry, my first two years were great, studying on a Foundation Degree for the first two years really helped push me towards getting ready for employment.

My final year experience on a BA has been terrible. I felt very separate from the rest of the students on my course and the tutors and University did little to help or make me feel welcome. As a result, I did a lot of working at home with my housemates, who were all on the same course and felt the same way. Lack of interest from tutors was the most annoying thing. I had a good relationship with tutors in my second year and expected it to continue with my new tutors but it didn’t happen. I had a mentor who was more helpful.

In the end I never bothered seeing any tutors and got on with work instead of worrying all the time about ticking boxes, discussing it with my mentor. My portfolio now is great and is work that I’m proud of, which may not necessarily be the best for Uni but works in terms of a professional context.

If I was to recommend going to Uni or not for creatives, then I’d probably say you’re better off with placements and internships. Graphic Design is all about your portfolio instead of qualifications. £3000 has motivated me to do work this year, but it has paid for practically nothing in terms of teaching. Now I’m just looking forward to working full-time.

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

For me it’s the whole cliché thing about do what you love doing. If you aren’t doing that then you should change. I was working in an Engineering firm before becoming a Graphic Designer and didn’t hesitate at making the switch, because I wasn’t enjoying my job. Don’t be afraid to take steps back to go forward. Life should be fun.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

Well hopefully when I have a job it would involve lots of creativity, designing, hands-on stuff, staring at a computer screen mixed with lots of being outside to inspire.

Right now, it’s just a fair bit of cycling every day.

That’s it. Mat, you have been wonderful.

Graphic Communication

September 2012

Where did you Study?

Bath School of Art and Design (Bath Spa).

What did you Study?

Graphic Communication

What year did you Graduate?

2011

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Brunette, tall, pale!

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

I went into a graphic design internship I was lucky enough to get off the back of connections I made with some industry people while at Uni.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I work at Dyson as a Graphic Designer. I’m not sure how long I can see myself doing it for, it can sometimes be a lot of responsibility which we didn’t really get at Uni so that is always a shock that someone relies on me, and I get the credit if it goes well and have to deal with the consequences if it doesn’t, which are big in such a big company! However, I feel incredibly lucky to have this job, I would say it’s probably on the way to being an unexpected dream job yes!

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Uni was vital for me, as my occupation is quite specialised. I was grateful I had a couple of good tutors I really trusted and could aspire to be like, and the course was free enough that you could do what you wanted when you’d figured out what that was! I can say with certainty that I would not have the job I have now without my degree.

Describe your Uni experience? Did you face any obstacles? The positives, the negatives, reveal all. (Terrible lecturers can be anonymous!)

There were a few obstacles, in Graphic Design there are lots of different types of designer as there are so many styles and formats and inspirations. I was always quite classic but also wanted to be ready for the commercial world, which meant that a particular tutor came up against me saying I was selling my soul to work just so I could have a job when I came out and said it was too middle of the road. It was hard at the time but probably helped in the long run, and made my work a bit more personal whilst still being applicable to the real world. It also made me realise that the people of authority in your life may not necessarily be right all the time, it’s so personal. You have to pick and choose the advice to suit you!

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path!

Assuming it’s the morning, I get up at 6:30, get into work by 8:30 after a reasonable commute. I work in a beautiful building, with an abundance of very nice macs and anything else I might need to do my job. I work with very nice people, a mixture of very important people in the company and my peers. I get told what to do and also tell others what to do in order to do the jobs I have to do that day. The department I work in is Graphics and Packaging, which means we are in charge of the box, the colour of the machines, any labels, stickers, operating manuals, which means that my day is often varied. More often than not I finish at around 5:30!

That’s it. Kate, you have been wonderful.

Dance

October 2012

Where did you Study?

De Montfort University.

What did you Study?

Dance.

What year did you Graduate?

2011

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Large head, ample breasts, biceps

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

I crawled back to Tesco, with my degree inching away from existence with every bleep of the checkout (it got quite far).  Eventually my creative head got the better of me and in desperation I made a rap about life there (you must be Tesco Finest coz you’re so taste-ee, makin my shift the best it could be)…I’ll stop there.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

Waitrose! Not quite my life-long dream but it’s a step up from Tesco, right? My one solace is that I teach once a week, piling the legacy of everything I learnt at Uni onto the tiny shoulders of girls who are more interested in telling me about what who kissed who at school today, rather than thinking deeply about rolling around on the floor pretending to be in a pool of syrup. I have dabbled in work experience and voluntary schemes but at the end of the day, I need money.

One thing life after Uni has taught me? It’s hard. And it’s easy to lose perspective. I have many interests, but at present, I would be elated if I could do anything so long as it is in the arts sector. I’d clean the urinals at Sadler’s Wells if given the chance! But I am grateful to even have a job at all!

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Career-wise, not exactly! Attitude-wise, definitely. I’m not going to be happy until I’m working in a creative job. I think that because I enjoyed my degree so much, I am grateful to that and whenever there’s a day that I look at another page of arts jobs and think ‘sod it, they’ll never look at my application’, I think back to all the hard work I put in at Uni, and I realise I’m not going to just throw that away. I love dance, so I guess that stands for something. It was much easier at Uni because of the people around you, the resources, and the fact that you didn’t have to earn a living, but the challenge in the real world is rather enticing, and as creatives, surely we can find a way to overcome it? I’m working on it.

Describe your Uni experience? Did you face any obstacles? The positives, the negatives, reveal all. Terrible lecturers can be anonymous!

There were some rather questionable moments at Uni, namely when we spent a whole term in one module learning how to sit down and stand up… But I can honestly say that I enjoyed every second of my course. It pulled me out of my comfort zone in the one thing that I felt comfortable doing, and I loved it more for that. I even grew to love writing essays! I enjoyed working with different people on my course (and every job application loves a ‘team player’, right?), and the variety of things to do and the freedom in the third year was fantastic. I especially loved the massage time at the end of practicals, that’s probably the thing I crave most when I’m at Waitrose, baking my 100th baguette of the day.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

Okay, so waking up this morning, feeling quite sore after a super-sweaty (it’s not what you think…) …dance class last night, I did some stretching, had some brekkie, am currently filling out this form for this fabulous website, going to cycle to work, turn up like a drowned rat, stick my head in the bread oven, slave away for a few more hours, ride home, get to the studios, teach my hyper class the wonderful ways of contemporary dance, and go back to work til 10pm.

Then when I get home and have some steam left I’ll work on a promotional show reel for the dance school I teach at. Jealous?

That’s it. Katie, you have been wonderful.

Marketing with PR

November 2012

Where did you Study?

University of Huddersfield

What did you Study?

Marketing with PR (Sandwich)

What year did you Graduate?

2012

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Short, Blonde, Freckle-y

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

I was really lucky, before I had finished my course I had been offered a full-time job at the company I did in my sandwich year, but, to be honest, if I hadn’t been offered that job I think I would have spent my time after Uni filling in application after application, in my pyjamas. I did apply for a lot of PR graduate schemes during my final year and got nowhere, despite having a years experience working in a PR agency and quite a bit of volunteering/ work shadowing under my belt.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I am back at my placement agency working as a PR Account Executive (on my placement I held the role of PR Assistant), working with some pretty varied clients, from a butcher and egg producer to a language company and manufacturers. I am also acting as the Account Manager for one of our biggest clients, a global baby products manufacturer.

I definitely can see myself working agency-side for a large proportion of my career, but I do want to try working as part of an in-house marketing team and I really like the idea of working for a charity. Who knows, maybe I will end up combining the two.

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Yes, from the point of view that without completing the first two years, I would not have been able to get my placement, as they wouldn’t have employed me. I don’t think that any part of my degree really helped me prepare for working life because there was so little contact with real businesses or any practical projects that benefited the students. Looking back it was just a hoop to jump through to get me into the industry and although I didn’t particularly enjoy it at the time, I am glad of the degree and the doors that have been opened because of it.

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

Don’t go straight for the top names, I know it’s only natural to want to work for the most famous/ prestigious company in your preferred industry, but don’t ignore the smaller ones. The agency I work for is by no means a large agency, we have less than 10 members of staff and because of that I have been involved in everything that goes on with my accounts, from creating portfolios to setting out social media strategies. I have a lot more freedom and responsibility than some of my uni-mates who are in similar roles with larger companies.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

Oooh, no two days are the same. I am planning to work on a strategy document for the launch of a new Facebook page, promoting a range of child safety products, start on a campaign educating people on the benefits of free range, write a press release on a new partnership between a client and a leading restaurant chain and chat to parents on Facebook – answering questions on pushchairs and car seats! That said, it will all change in the morning when the emails come in…

That’s it. Hannah, you have been wonderful.

Creative Writing & Drama

October 2012

Where did you Study?

De Montfort University.

What did you Study?

Creative Writing and Drama.

What year did you Graduate?

2011

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Short. Stocky. Average.

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

After Uni I originally wanted to go travelling; something I wanted to do before I started studying a degree, but knew if I took a year out, I’d never get round to Uni. Just before the end of Uni arrives and I’m planning to go travelling for a year, come back and do a masters, the government decides to bump all the fees up…

Travelling put on hold, again, I started a Masters of the Arts degree in Television Scriptwriting at De Montfort University.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I am currently completing my masters, it is part time and runs for two years so I have completed year one and have just started the second year. I also work in a petrol station; nothing glamorous but it pays for the course and gives me a minimal amount to spend on other things.

I am writing for my community radio station: Huntingdon Community Radio. We are one of the only, if not the only, community radio station to have an ongoing weekly drama. It is called Huntsford and runs three times a week with an omnibus on Sundays. If you’re interested in listening then follow this link: http://www.hcrfm.co.uk/radio-drama/huntsford/listen-again-huntsford. It’s a shameless plug but it has got a lot of potential and is completely run by volunteers. We’ve been featured in the radio times!

I also participate in a couple of amateur dramatic groups!  In an ideal world I would be writing and acting for a living one day, the dream would be to support myself off writing or performing alone.

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Uni definitely helped me to be where I am today because it was through the Uni that I was introduced to the masters which is helping me immensely in my writing ability and is introducing me to a number of people who will hopefully help me in my career.

Describe your Uni experience? Did you face any obstacles? The positives, the negatives, reveal all. (Terrible lecturers can be anonymous!

In a word my Uni experience was fantastic! It was the first time I’d lived independently, I met so many amazing people and I learnt a thing or two, but had a lot of fun along the way. For me there were very few negatives and it was probably the best decision I ever made.

I was asked just the other day what the best decision I ever made was and it was a simple answer because the best decision I made was to choose to do creative writing. Originally I was going to do just drama or even drama and psychology but two days before I handed my application form in I found creative writing as a course and instantly knew it was what I wanted to do. I checked they did it at DMU and the rest as they say is history. It was the best decision because it opened so many more opportunities for me. Doing a joint was useful because it gave me an outlet if I wasn’t enjoying a topic or a module very much; I always knew there was something to look forward to. Off the back of doing creative writing I went on to start my masters which I am enjoying greatly and I think is setting me up for my career very well. I know that some people don’t enjoy University for whatever reason but if I was asked if I would recommend it then I would without a shadow of a doubt. It is an experience I would do again and again.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

My day ahead is going to be quite fun. I am planning to do some writing for a couple of hours, then I’m playing golf, then I’m going to work in the petrol station this evening. I try to set my weekdays out like a normal working week writing from 9-5 where possible, but seeing as it’s a Friday afternoon, I’m going to start the weekend early!

That’s it. Chris, you have been wonderful.

Applied Criminal Justice Studies

September 2012

Where did you Study?

Northampton University.

What did you Study?

Foundation Degree in Police and Criminal Justice Studies and Applied Criminal Justice Studies BA (Hons).

What year did you Graduate?

2011 & 2012

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Sociable, Happy and Relaxed

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

As I left Uni I applied for a role as a Police Officer. It didn’t work out so after a month of job hunting and working as a disabled carer with a friend, I went on Holiday with my Uni mates and got over the fact I didn’t land my dream job and pretended to be a Fresher again.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I am currently unemployed; however a role at a local college working with teenagers that have learning difficulties is a big possibility on the cards. So you could say I definitely do not seeing myself in this role for long and it is obviously not a dream role for me! My ambitions of becoming a Police Officer have not faded!

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

I won’t lie, the other day when I received a letter from The Student Loans Company that read words to the effect of ‘you owe us £15,500’ I thought “What was the point?” The point is my degree, eventually, will put me in a good place and in a good job.

Uni also taught me to never give up, keep going to achieve what I want and this has helped me to keep going whilst unemployed.

Describe your Uni experience? Did you face any obstacles? The positives, the negatives, reveal all. Terrible lecturers can be anonymous!

In the first year I lived life by the University Law Book. This Law Book had many rules the main ones being money was endless and every night I had to stay out and be drinking. Eventually in years 2 and 3 I realised this would get me nowhere and managed, with help from friends, family, tutors and myself, to pull myself a degree out the bag! (Needless to say this University Law Book is something me and my flat mates made up.)

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

Today my day has been spent sitting on my Laptop tediously job hunting whilst waiting for a man from a small village to turn up at my house so he can fix the T.V which has very kindly broken! Oh, I also took a phone call from someone who rang the wrong number…

That’s it. George, you have been wonderful.

Magazine Journalism & Feature Writing

June 2012

Where did you Study?

Southampton Solent University

What did you Study?

Magazine Journalism and Feature Writing

What year did you Graduate?

2011

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

A cool chick!

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

To be honest once I left, I didn’t hit the job hunt as hard as I should have done. I had some work experience placements at a couple of magazines lined up instead and I completed those. I knew I was going to need some sort of income, and I wasn’t going to get my first editorial job anytime soon, so I got a part-time retail job (depressing).

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

At the moment I’m interning at ‘Blackhair’ magazine which is fantastic. I’ve gotten loads of experience, been able to get work published and made good contacts. My time here will soon be up and I don’t know if I will be applying for anymore intern roles. My CV is full of them now. I’m not in my dream job (because I’m not employed here) but I am in my dream field which is magazines.

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Yes. Studying for my degree taught me how to write articles for magazines, how to interview, research, design article layouts and a few other important skills that are helpful for aspiring journalists. As hard as it is for me to find an editorial job with a degree and a load of experience, I can only imagine how hard it must be to find an editorial job without a degree. That’s not to say that every aspect of the course was beneficial because, quite frankly, some units were pointless, but for the most part it was helpful.

Describe your Uni experience? Did you face any obstacles? The positives, the negatives, reveal all. Terrible lecturers can be anonymous!

I wish I could tell you a bit about the first year but to be honest, I was regularly absent. Since the grades from your first year don’t go towards your final grade I pretty much took the mick as far as attendance goes. The standard of my work was ok, enough to pass in most cases, although I had to do a retake which cost 40 quid! After that I had to get serious and my last two years were so stressful, at some points I could have cried. However, it was all worth it in the end and I got the grade I was aiming for.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

I’ll be at my part-time job Monday-Wednesday (holds back tears) and on Thursday and Friday I’ll be at the magazine. We’ll be starting work on a new issue so there should be lots to keep me busy 🙂

That’s it. Carly, you have been wonderful.

Drama Studies

July 2012

Where did you Study?

De Montfort University.

What did you Study?

BA Hons in Drama Studies.

What year did you Graduate?

2011

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Tall, Stubborn & Blonde.

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

Jumped into the world of Motor Insurance and lettings to pay for my drinking habit/London fund.

Attempted anything and everything dramatic and arty (stage plays, volunteering as a runner/bitch on a film, made a weekly ‘scene’ in the local nightclub).

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

Currently jobless after an unfortunate circumstance (the company was a fraud, which in a way would’ve been a credit to my acting abilities, morals got in the way however.)

But alas, London still beckons (early September).

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?
Yes I have matured and realised two big things: Someone else’s opinion, no matter how well educated they are, is still only an opinion and not a truth AND sometimes you have to be selfish.

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

I believe you have to go through this slump to really discover what you want in life. When you’re not handed everything on a plate, you really fight for whatever it is you want.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

Today, the recent jobless graduate, has been left with the task of entertaining my 4 year old nephew Jakey, my 2 year old niece Phoebe and 2 month new born Freddie. Bet they never teach you THIS at Drama School!

That’s it. Alex, you have been wonderful.