It hasn't quite hit me that I left university 12 months ago this month. As this time of year rolls around a lot of young people will be taking the leap into the real world as they complete their final assignments and exams before  graduating from university. Leaving the security of education is terrifying. The voice in your head shouting that you should know where you go from here and land your dream career now you have a degree in your hand is ridiculous. From the first day at school we are constantly told of the importance that education is in our lives, university like myself is simply the next step in the journey. But we're never told of what happens next? Are we in promise of having our dream career now that we have got ourselves into debt and have a degree certificate? Was university really worth that cloud of debt we have on our shoulders? Are we expected to now undertake a Masters degree?...

Being the little fish in that big ocean is a scary place especially when there is so many other people who will have the same degree as you in May/June and will probably apply for pretty much the same jobs as you do. Sadly that's life. There will be people who have more experience than you or just be incredibly good at interviews, those pesky ones! We no longer live in an age when university secures your career and your future it's all about that experience and it becomes Catch 22 when it's pretty hard to gain that experience without the opportunities becoming available to you.

Pretty much since the second year of my university I started to understand the importance and need to obtain some decent experience on my shoulders so that when I started to apply for jobs after university I would have so much more to my CV than my awesome tea making skills. You definitely need to go out there and make opportunities happen, they don't come to your door & it definitely gets your foot into the door within the chosen sector you work in (especially in the arts!). I have and I am sure a lot of people will face A LOT of rejection but you'll get there eventually, it just takes time, hope and consistently. Even now I have had a few jobs here and there I still volunteer and gain some great opportunities through unpaid work.. obviously you can't do that kind of work forever though.

Some people are lucky in that they know what they'd like to do with their life and use their university course to confirm this and to help get the first few steps into that chosen career, whilst others chose university as an opportunity to learn what that is that they would like to do. It definitely gives you three years to figure it out what is that we want from our lives, some of us haven't figured it out though and it just takes time. I knew I always wanted to be in the arts somehow, I definitely had some intention to work with young people and teach. The arts are so important to us all, in particular young people and it helps them develop within society to huge levels. I have a big goal but until I am there doing what I do now is the happiest I can be and it is in my eyes my dream career. I get to work with young people creatively, inspire them and teach them new skills whilst writing my blog about a sector I am so passionate about and running social media for an organisation.

There are some tips I would definitely give the new graduates out there :-

1. Don't Panic and I mean it, don't p a n i c. Your still young and don't need to have the next 5 years of your life figured out now you have a degree in the palm of your hands. You have to take everything one step at a time of your choice

2. Be Realistic. Apply for the jobs you think you'd enjoy and you would actually like to do. Don't spend your time applying for every job within your region for the sake of finding your feet and having a career. You'll waste your time and not put a lot of effort into those jobs which would probably be great for you. Plus those roles could turn out to be not what you expected in the place of something you would probably enjoy more but didn't bother to apply for as it was part-time or didn't involve a lot of responsibilities

3. Get a part-time job. I have always faulted my part-time job as a waitress but in fact whilst your waiting for your waiting for your dream role to roll round it's a great way of earning some money and meeting like minded individuals like you applying for graduate jobs.

4. Do some volunteering. I still volunteer within the sector I am so passionate about. There's not money in every role you go for, especially in the arts where there is a lot of cuts. It's good to work within a team and learn new skills through volunteering events without too much pressure. I really enjoy volunteering, I've gained bigger opportunities through initial volunteering things.

5. Be positive. Sounds simple but really do be positive, plenty of people have been in your shoes (including myself) before and look at where we are at now. Surround yourself with great family and friends, you'll be absolutely fine! 

I hope you've gained something from this post & if there's any advice you'd give to people who are about to graduate please leave it below.

thanks for reading,