March 4, 2014, by Beth Dawson

When your plan A isn’t for you anymore…

By Nicole Jones, BA English, Year 3Nicole Jones

As an English student with a career in mind, I’d been feeling rather smug, up until recently

You see, I had a plan. Having matured enough to realise I probably wasn’t going to be the next J.K.Rowling, I’d decided to go into teaching – I like my subject, I like talking about it…simple. With this in mind, I secured a fantastic placement at a local school which, to my initial relief, I found interesting and enjoyable.

But at the halfway point, a spanner was thrown into my mental works. ‘You don’t want to do this for the rest of your life,’ a little voice in my head started muttering.

‘I do!’ I replied, ‘I’ve told everyone I’m going to be a teacher! I’ve spent ages reading about PGCEs and this teaching gig is the only good thing on my CV anyway!’

But the voice persists

As does the realisation that despite enjoying my placement, teaching doesn’t allow me to play to my strengths. To be honest, I don’t yet feel old and wise enough to command a classroom. Ah, slight problem – I’m twenty-one, working flat out to meet my various deadlines and the only thing I have any real experience of isn’t what I want to do with my life.

If you Google ‘possible careers for English graduates’, the common theme is that there is no set route

Humanities graduates must explore their own path, relying more on their skill set and less on subject specific knowledge. But as somebody who naively presumed they were already set for a life plan, I had no idea. After a morose Friday night of worrying about it all, it occurred to me that it might be a wise move to read some of the emails undergraduates are sent regarding careers. Here, I found information about the Spotlight On…Advertising, Marketing and PR event.

I’d never considered a career in advertising, marketing or PR

But two hours of learning from four successful speakers – with free refreshments- seemed a better idea than more late-night panic Googling. The speakers included Geoff Baker, founder and CEO of ICN; Aaron Dicks, Managing Director of Impression Digital; Emma Leech,  The University of Nottingham’s Director of Marketing, Communications and Recruitment and Clare Stafford, Senior PR Manager at Boots UK.

Listening to their stories and advice on how to enter the industry was hugely informative. Advertising in particular took my interest, as it utilises many of the skills that English students are known for.

Hopefully I’ll attend a few more events, having realized that putting all your eggs in one basket is not always the best idea

It’s great to have a plan – for many people, work experience inspires them to continue in their chosen field. For me, getting a placement helped me to realise I didn’t want to travel down my chosen route. I’ve now applied for postgraduate study, as my placement has reinforced how passionately I feel about my course.

So take a chance and attend a few events, even if you think you have your plan all sorted out, even if nothing strikes your fancy – there’s always the refreshments!

If hearing from Nicole has made you eager to attend our events, be sure to check our events page and keep up to date with our latest events news by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter. For careers advice, book an appointment with one of our team via My Career or attend one of our ‘choosing your career’ workshops on 6 March and 26 March. 

Do you have a careers story that you’d like to share? Maybe one of our events has inspired you or you’ve taken part in some exciting work experience? Whatever your story, we want to hear from you! E-mail to find out more about contributing to our blog! 


Posted in Work experience