November 15, 2019, by Leah Sharpe
Tips From A Graduate: Use Your Final Year Wisely
By Imogen Daldy, BA French and History graduate
So picture me exactly one year ago, when I was still a final year Nottingham uni student.
– Stressed to the max because the first round of coursework deadlines was fast approaching.
– Stressed to the max because grad scheme application season was in full swing.
– Stressed to the max for setting aside time for ‘the fun stuff’, no matter how minimal.
If you hadn’t already guessed it, the first term of final year was at times pretty stressful. The added pressure of applying to graduate schemes certainly felt like a far cry from the more carefree start to second year.
But never fear – as I pointed out in my inaugural blog for the Careers and Employability Service almost one year ago, it’s okay to feel stressed as most of your fellow students are in the same boat. Secondly (and most importantly), don’t let application stress take over your life; it’s your final year! Enjoy it.
After applying for some grad schemes myself, this is the attitude I took. I was enjoying my modules and wanted to make the most of Nottingham’s great student culture for the last time. This is why I decided to become a student blogger for the University’s Careers and Employability Service. I knew I wanted to go into a career where I could write, and this role would give me a chance to write professionally and be published. It would also look great on my CV and within it being a freelance position, I could balance it alongside my studies stress-free. Furthermore, I thought it was a great platform to share my experiences with fellow students about preparing for the world of work.
Fast forward to July 2019:
– My final – and favourite – year at Nottingham was sadly over.
– The end of year celebrations (think Grad Ball, Detonate Festival, Graduation) were finished.
– The real world was looming.
I was fortunate enough to graduate with a first in my degree, and I suspect like many graduates, I naively thought that job offers would be rolling in. Thirty applications later and my rose-tinted glasses were decidedly shattered. Then along came lucky number thirty one. In a flash, all the previous applications I’d done melted away, because at the end of the day you only need one yes. For me, my yes was from a reputable PR firm. I was told after my interview that my work as a student blogger was a crucial factor in hiring me for the role of trainee account executive. They were impressed that I had started building a portfolio of written work while at Nottingham for a vital university service, and they liked my writing style and content.
Since starting this job in September 2019, I have been able to develop my written portfolio further as I have been tasked with writing blogs (hooray!), press releases, journalistic articles, media briefings and more. I know that this role will allow me to move on to exciting things, whether it be in PR and communications, copywriting, journalism or the like.
So, my advice would be this. Remember that in final year, there is more to life than applying to grad schemes. I loved my degree and I came out of it with many transferable skills. But when competing with those who had degrees in PR and communications, it was my work experience as a blogger for the university that gave me the extra edge. I miss being a Nottingham student and I am so thankful for everything I learnt from my degree and the great times I had with my friends. But, I’m excited about this new chapter in my life and grateful to the Careers and Employability Service for helping me to secure my first job by hiring me as a student blogger.
You can find a plethora of part-time, freelance and vacation jobs available at Nottingham on the Careers website, which will enable you to build your CV, enjoy your final year to the max and who knows, perhaps even bag you your dream job!