It’s that time of year again! Summer is approaching and many of you will be graduating this year. Some of you will already have secured jobs or have a clear idea of what you are doing or where you want to be. However a large minority of you will be, like myself at the time absolutely clueless as to what your next move will be and the only thing you will have planned is where you are going on holiday.
As this is my first blog post on this site I should probably introduce myself at this point. My name is Craig and I am a postgraduate student here at RGU studying Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. Enough about that just now though. Let’s go back to the April of 2016 when I was about to graduate. Everything was going fine, I had already achieved a 2:1 grade at this point and the graduation ceremony was approaching. There was one problem however! I had no idea what my next step would be. I did not feel ready to enter the world of work at this stage and was getting to the point of despair when a friend told me about a volunteer programme called the International Citizens Service (ICS) which is funded by the UK government which sends young people (18-25) to developing countries for three-month periods. It’s was of no cost at all to me except for a reasonable fundraising target and I thought to myself that I might as well check it out.
I went down to London for the interview and was impressed with what I saw, so I decided I would go abroad after the summer was over. I was originally supposed to go to India, which was my favoured destination however a visa hiccup ruled me out as it was resolved too late and I ended up being sent to Uganda instead. I was disappointed about this at the time however it taught me an important lesson. The best times and most valuable experiences can come from the most unlikely places if you approach them with an open mind.. I had an amazing time in Uganda and wouldn’t have missed it for anything. I was involved in things like sexual reproductive health and malaria prevention. I may not have gained anything from it financially but the mind-set I developed there you can’t put a price on. I’m aware of how clichéd many of this will sound but I can’t emphasise enough how true it is. This hits you hardest when you return as you feel ready for any challenge and many problems that seemed important to you before are exposed as completely trivial.
However after my three months in Uganda were up it was time to come home. So what now? I considered a number of options and came close to joining the RAF however part of me had always wanted to continue my studies. My undergraduate was very theoretical and it was hard to convert this into a practical employment setting. During my research I discovered the course that I’m currently doing. I had heard about RGU’s phenomenal graduate employment rate and realised that their courses were based on the needs of industry and providing you with the vocational skills that employers are actually looking for. Six months in its going great and I have learned so much in topics such as Digital Marketing and Broadcast Journalism.
I’m reaching that point again where it is time to graduate. I believe that my MSc will be a useful advantage in my quest for meaningful full-time employment. Additionally with the skills gained from my course I feel far more ready to enter the job market than I did in 2016. It goes to show that there is no need to panic when finishing your degree. There is no immediate rush and it pays dividends to take your time and work out what you really want!