One year ago today I posted ‘A year today I will be a graduate’. Yesterday I graduated from Westminster with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Journalism degree, making me one of the best journalism graduates in London according the The Guardian table this year! This time last year the thought of graduating filled me with fear and dread, so anybody reading this who still has another year to go DON’T worry – you can do it! Our graduation was held at the Royal Festival Hall Southbank Centre and it was gloriously sunny, picture perfect and all in all a day full of happiness, pride and love. I’m lucky enough that all of my immediate family were there to support me and make noise when I crossed the stage, cementing my degree in the middle with a handshake from the dean of the University and then descending the stage as a graduate. Apart from it being about 50 degrees underneath the gown I was proud to be wearing it and what it shows I have managed to accomplish these past three years.
So in relation to this time last year here are some words of encouragement for existing students from someone who’s been through what you’ve still got to come…
1). Figure out what your going to write your dissertation on during the summer holidays! I kept telling myself I would have it all sorted and planned by September but in reality I didn’t figure it our until February/March and that was WAY too late. I should have given myself a lot more time to narrow down my topic in order to formulate a dissertation arguement.
2). I found that the lectures that you are given in the first semester of year 3 didn’t help at all in teaching you how to write the damn thing. Take the dissertation proposal seriously and it will make things a lot easier for you in the long run. This also relates to point 1) because if you know what you’re going to write then you can take the advice and use it straight away and not sit there feeling smug that you have aages before you have to start writing it = wrong.
3) Money. If you can, work over summer and try to save some money that you can use to stay in London after graduation. Unless you really want to move home with your parents again, it is really expensive living in London without your Student Loan and having to pay ‘adult’ bills like Council Tax sucks. You can get a part-time job after you finish uni but even then it going to be hard to afford living here until you secure a graduate job. It could take six months, so if you have some money saved at least you can put it towards your rent each month if your pay check doesn’t stretch far enough.
4) Worth. A year ago I wondered if having a degree was worth it… know I can definitely say it is. Knowing that you are fully qualified and ready to enter the industry is a great feeling and you’ll look back at your pre-uni self and be proud of the decision you made and that you stuck it out until the end.
That’s my advice from the past year… The university chapter of my life is officially over and I’m excited for the next one to begin (hopefully soon). I’m planning on documenting my job hunt but am waiting for an important date next week before I write anything. To all of the graduates of ’14 a massive WELL DONE and to all the remaining student Good Luck!