It’s been a whole two week since I had my graduation ceremony. As many people joked at the ceremony, it’s where a good majority of us (unless you’re super organised, lucky or well connected) go from student to unemployed. Just to give you a little background story, I studied BA English Literature at a university in London. If you wanna read about my experience, I’ll leave a link to the post on my blog at the end of this article. 

My graduation experience? I think I am the only person in the entire world to say this but I did feel it was somewhat anti-climatic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I’ve come out with a good grade and degree, but I think just like the whole university experience, it didn’t meet my expectation. Perhaps it was because I had been looking forward to this day since very start that I hyped myself up too much. 

I had the option to drop out back in first year. I was offered an apprenticeship with a top Fashion Agency here in London, but after much debate, I did turn it down. One of the main reasons why I didn’t drop out of university is because my parents, particularly my dad, really wanted me to wear the graduation cap. Although, I think deep down I wanted to as well. I think it’s been programmed into us by society that wearing that hat equals success so subconsciously I thought without that cap, I’m a failure, which i’ve learnt is not true whatsoever. As the first child to go to university in the family, it was something that my parents were looking forward too. And of course on the day, it was extremely nice to see my parents so proud of me. But there was this lingering thought in my head saying, £27,000, 3 years of unhappiness just for this moment. This sort of ‘meh’ moment.  

Now, in my first two week post graduation, I’ve been racking up a hell of advice from peers above me, friends, family, work colleagues and fellow graduates which I thought I’d share in case any of you were in the same boat as me. 

Not to panic.
Of course much easier said than done. If you haven’t got a job, don’t worry, you’re not alone! I was in a meeting a couple weeks ago at the iconic News UK building with a couple of graduates who had graduated a year or two ago. At the time of the meeting, I hadn’t even had my graduation yet, and I was just asking them for advice. How long did it take them to get their first job? What are they doing now? In my panic state, my questions came pouring out, to the point where they were like, “Jess, you haven’t even had graduation yet. What are you worrying for? Take it easy and don’t panic.” They told me that they hadn’t even begun to look for jobs until way after graduation. This girl told me that she didn’t secure a job until late sep/early oct. Yes, reassuring to some extent, but me being me cannot not worry so whilst I’m not as panic-y, I’m still conscious that I need to get a job. ASAP.

Obviously I haven’t taken this advice because following on from the previous point, my aim is to secure a job. I feel that knowing my luck, if I book a trip, I’ll get a call for an interview. Everyone keeps telling me that this is the time to travel. That I’ll never get this much free time in my life ever again. That I should travel whilst I’m young. And whilst I love love love travelling, and I do believe that it is a learning curve and a learning experience, this graduate is broke. Plus I got no friends to go with but hey, that’s a whole other story. 

Get Experience ASAP.
This is a little bit contradicting as people keep telling me that I should enjoy my summer and take looking for a job one day at the time, I’ve also been told that having a degree is not enough these days and you need experience. The field I wish to pursue is heavily about experience. It is all about building your portfolio up. Many of the experiences are not paid, which sucks, but you gotta do what you gotta do. This is why I’ve been working for free. And I understand that I’m in a privileged position to do so, not everyone is able to work for free. But I hope that all this pays off in the end. 

As promised, here is the link to my blog about my uni experience:

Photo found on Google Image Search.


Published by Jessica Lam