This year marked my last year of uni after five years. I’ve had mixed feelings all year—I’m happy that I finally got here, I’m excited about finishing one chapter of my life and entering another, I’m surprised by how quickly it has gone by and I’m a little scared about what this next chapter of my life has in store. I know I have to try and enjoy this last year of this chapter of my life as I won’t get it back and I know I have to get a job and my own place.
My plan for my last year of uni, knowing that the autumn session would be stressful and that my spring session would be light, was to operate as a normal uni student in the first half of the year and spend the second half of the year applying for jobs. I wanted to make the transition from uni student to graduate and career woman as easy as possible.
I got through my autumn session relatively unscathed considering that I found one subject, JOUR314 (Newsroom Practice 3: Editing and Production) incredibly stressful and cried almost every week and had to undergo a colonoscopy and endoscopy due to health issues. Once that session was over, I celebrated my 24th birthday and completed work experience at Girlfriend Magazine, which was awesome. However the real hard work began when my spring session started.
I enrolled in my final two journalism subjects, plus a philosophy subject. The two journalism subjects were self-directed and with the philosophy subject being the only on-campus subject, I only had three hours a week on campus. I was still working as a freelance writer, but I knew I couldn’t make a living through this job, so I started looking for full-time jobs. I wasn’t prepared for all the rejection—there are plenty of jobs I never got and a few interviews that went badly, but I automatically assumed that as I was graduating soon with a double degree that I would find a job easily, but I was wrong.
From my experiences, I had trouble being considered for job applications due to a lack of experience which is hard to gain as a full-time double degree uni student, my age and the fact that I hadn’t graduated yet. I found it very frustrated and began to lose hope, I started to question whether I had wasted my time getting a degree. It made me angry that it felt I was being told that my five years of hard work, living off benefits and living away from my family all alone was for nothing. Uni isn’t easy to get into, it’s hard work and I was putting myself into debt for a degree I was told I needed to have a future. I want to know at what point who decided that degrees aren’t enough to be considered a good candidate for a job anymore?
I finally got the job I have now in September—midway through the spring session. My job is a combination of using the skills I spent five years learning and refining and learning vital business and office administration skills—in other words perfect for me.
Once I got my job, the next step was finding a new place to live as next year I wouldn’t be a uni student anymore and therefore couldn’t live at student accommodation, which by the way I wasn’t sad about. I spent hours looking at real estate websites and three weekends inspect units. The first unit I looked at didn’t have an actual kitchen—it was a stove with two cupboards, one of which was blocked by the stove, a small sitting area, a small bedroom and a bathroom with a shower head that was too low. The next two units were lovely, in the small block on the top floor, however there was no lift. That meant that moving stuff in and out would be a pain and that if there was a fire, I would die from burning to death or by breaking my neck from jumping out the window as a last resort. I finally found the unit I’m living in now and love it.
Between work, moving in and furnishing my unit and having two assessments to finish, I was constantly tired. I was actually quite emotional when I submitted my final assessment, but I was glad it was over.
My one advice to those of you who are making the transition from uni student to graduate and career person, is to embrace the fact that it will be tough, tiring and frustrating—but you will never forget it and you will get through it.