Student and Graduate Publishing

Being a Graduate

Friday, 21 February 2014 14:25

By Cathy Macleod

 - This summer I graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English Language and Creative Writing. I quickly came to the conclusion that Creative Writing is a completely useless degree to have. As much as I loved gaining my degree and genuinely enjoyed my university experience, life after university has been a challenging and I sometimes wish I’d done something useful like Economics (although I would have cried almost every day until the day I graduated). I don’t want to worry anyone, or to scare them about going out into the big wide world, but it is a struggle. 

Firstly, there’s the fun of moving back home after three years of independence. You’re no longer in your own house, and have to get used to living with your parents again. (Weirdly, one of the things I’ve missed most since moving back home is not doing my own food shopping. I really miss going to Asda.) And then there’s the best part, job hunting. There are two jobs that I would absolutely love to do, either to work as an editor in a publishing company, or to be a writer, preferably of novels. However, after applying to what feels like almost every, publishing internship in the country, it appears falling straight into my dream job might be more difficult than I originally thought.  My failure to find an internship is even more annoying as my old housemate got one straight away, even though she’d never shown any interest in publishing once in the last three years. However, nowadays work experience is a must; companies seem to want to know that you are capable of sitting around an office for two weeks, doing nothing for no pay. Therefore I recently worked at my local newspaper for a week, thinking that if being an editor fails, that journalism would be an interesting alternative. However, I literally sat at a desk for five days, staring at a computer with nothing to do. I edited several articles to make them shorter and helped one of the reporters film a road for the newspaper’s website. That is all I did in five whole days. I did learn a lot about what was going on in the world, as there wasn’t much else to do but read other newspapers on the internet. Oh well, it looks good on the CV. 

Another fun thing about job hunting is that you need a fake job to fill in the time, until you find your proper job. This is so that you don’t have any gaps on your CV and so that you don’t end up on the dole, because that is fairly soul destroying. For example, temp work in offices seems to be something that half of my friends have fallen into since gaining their degrees, sitting around doing very little and getting paid for it, so it could be worse. I, however, have taken on several jobs, doing temp work in a shop over Christmas (awful), doing random catering jobs for extra cash, and my main fake job is working in a bar. Although not ideal, this has actually been quite a lot of fun, and I haven’t minded doing it at all. The hours are terrible, and I now hate drunk people, but my colleagues and the regulars are great, and make it bearable. However, I did want to go travelling for at least a few months next summer and it seems like part time work isn’t the best way to save up several thousand pounds, so I may need to rethink even my short term plan. 

On each day off I have I end up job hunting again. One good thing is that it does strengthen your character, all this getting rejected. I’m also very unsure why, but I keep getting emails asking me to apply for finance jobs, even though I struggle to do my times tables past eleven. However, I’m not going to give up hope, I know I’ll find something that I love doing, it’ll just take time and a lot of job applications. One piece of advice I’d give to future graduates is to have a look at grad jobs before you leave university, having one lined up before you leave will save you a lot of stress.