Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


This is a title

This is a blog post. You are a person reading this blog post; you may be skimming through or reading every word as carefully as it was written. You may be letting these words wash over you or may be letting them sink under the skin to settle.

I am a girl. I’m trying to become a journalist. Right now, according to society, I am a nobody. My box according to the world would be ‘graduate: potential journalist.’ I’m sitting in my garden lacking inspiration, being frustrated at continuos application forms and cover letters that need to be filled out or written, all essentially wanting to know who I am. What I can do for them. What makes me special.

How can I explain something like that? How can I summarise in a letter or a box that allows for only 200 words that I should be hired above the other hundreds of applicants? Where do I even begin?

I am like everybody else. Because everybody else is trying to be different and I am trying to be different. We’re all trying so hard to stand out and get ahead that we all end up on the same start up line. We are united in wanting to be individuals. There are only so many words that can be used to describe myself, even obscure words are in limited number. A language, although constantly evolving, is not quite infinite. So how can you show you are more hard working, more passionate, more determined than everyone else if there are only a certain amount of words to use and everyone else uses them too?

The thing with applications, CVs and cover letters is that attempting to make them stand out to a company that probably sees thousands of these documents a year, makes the task very, very hard. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible of course. Nothing is impossible.

I received all the documents for my journalism course starting in September. They mentioned work experience and I know that you just can’t stop trying. It doesn’t matter if you’re being boxed in and labelled as whatever hole it is that society is trying to mould you into.

It is what it is. You are what you are. The words you put on the paper are much like the words I’m typing into this blog post. They could be skimmed over, ignored, read over and appreciated. Either way it’s a hit and miss thing when you’re writing something to someone that has never met you and doesn’t know you. The best thing to do is keep trying, you’ll get someone that really does let your words sink in and sit in their brain. They’ll be the ones that will see the difference in your overused words on an application form. They’ll feel the emotion behind the typing (hard to do but it’s true) rather than just take the words at face value. They’ll have mastered reading between the lines and if they feel that you’re different, even though we’re all the same, just trying to be different. Then that’ll be the moment. The one you’ve been waiting and working for. The moment that changes things, that creates ripples.

We’re just people. These are just words. It’s all trying very hard to stand out and still to connect with someone.

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1 more graduate in the world

On the 19th July at 4pm my graduation begins. Three years are coming to an official end and I will be handed a piece of paper by an apparently important man wearing some robes and told ‘Congratulations.’

I don’t really know what to make of being a graduate, I got my results whilst in New York and I’m happy. Obviously, because I am not a decedent of Einstein’s, I did not get perfect marks. Due to lack of perfection, it took me roughly 24 hours before I could be fully happy with my 2:1 degree.

I ordered my gown, hood and mortar board yesterday. It was expensive just to hire it for a mere two hours. To buy the damn thing was extortionate: the hat alone (effectively just a cardboard square wrapped in black cloth) was £105.00. Insanity; you’d think after putting me in thousands of pounds of debt they could at least give me the hat. Jerks. At least I’ll feel like Harry Potter in my graduation robes; that, at least, gives me some comfort. I’m not even ashamed to admit that.

But I can’t help thinking that university is a much smaller deal than many people make it out to be. Especially in today’s society where jobs have double the amount of applicants; and unemployment is such an over talked about subject that people have just accepted that that’s the way things are. University and getting a degree, like I’ve said before, are just stepping stones. It’s good to have for the experience and the opportunities it has for you when you’re there.

I don’t think it should be sold as the best experience of your life though. If university is the best time of your life, that means out of the 80 or so years of your life expectancy. Only three near the first eighth of your life have been worth it. How silly.

When I graduate, I’ll be feeling proud. I’m coming out of these three years with more experience and more confidence in my ability. But that hasn’t just come from my course, that’s come from living away from home, from falling in love with the boy and from falling out and making new friends.

Many of the things I studied will probably be little use to me in terms of subject matter. In terms of teaching me how to learn, investigate, research, revise and ask for help however; they have done a lot for me.

Graduation is a lovely ceremony to have at the end of university. An accumulation of recognition for the three years of hard work that I have put into my degree. However, like the rest of the university bubble, I cannot help admit that it is over expensive (tickets cost £15 each) and a little superficial considering that I will be handed my certificate by someone I have never even met. That is likely to not even know my name.

I’m nervous and excited about graduation. My brain still can’t quite comprehend that it is just next week and although I may criticise university and it’s capitalist ways, I’ll be throwing my little black hat in the air just like everyone else and I’ll be one of the happiest people in the world come Thursday 19th July. Even if I am just another graduate in the world.

I MUST remember to get a photo like this.

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Unpaid work – not volunteering – just unpaid work

I have officially finished university, I’ll be throwing my little mortarboard in the air come July and being very proud of myself for having been able to do what many have done before me: graduate. So now what?

I have lined up an NCTJ course which I begin in September, it’s only 6 months long because I figured if there’s an intensive option I’ll always pick that, why waste time and drag something out longer than it needs to be dragged out. Hopefully alongside that I can work for my local newspapers; and after the six months is up, find something either through local newspapers or internships or graduate schemes or contacts or whatever. I’ll probably have to work for free. I probably don’t have a choice in terms of that. The work I will hopefully do at these unpaid internships or work experience placements is worthy of being paid, to be honest, I’ve probably done something similar at university and been paid.

The thing with internships is that people are so desperate for the experience that they are willing to work for free. A lot of jobs that I know I could do (and that’s not arrogance, I promise), I’m not qualified to do because I don’t have the two years of experience they prefer. It doesn’t stop me from applying but I’m obviously dismissed. The only way to get to those jobs is to get those unpaid internships and even those you can be rejected from.

It’s a vicious cycle and gives employers more power than they should over an individual. I am fully prepared to work for free and have another job to help me pay for my outgoings but I know that I could go into another career (maybe one that isn’t as heavily saturated or used to taking advantage of people) and be paid, not much but paid, for the entry level jobs that I am gunning for as a graduate. Free internships are a way of taking advantage, much like when you’re forced to do work experience at 15. For my work experience, I went to a school and spent two weeks sharpening pencils, trying not to get headlice and being poked by a very fat eight year old boy; it was horrific.

Yes an internship may be unpaid but it gives you that crucial experience and that foot in the door. But maybe it would be more productive to branch out on your own, or be brave enough to demand that your skills are worth some sort of money even if that request is after two weeks free work. The things you’ll do in your unpaid internship or during your work experience are likely to be the same things you do when you get your first job in whichever career path you’ve chosen. At least that ensures a quick promotion, right? Maybe that’s an awkward question to ask actually. After all, people that have been doing the job for years are more likely to be promoted even though technically you’ve been doing the job for just as long although half the time it was for free.

Unpaid internships don’t even have the feel good factor of being volunteering. You’re doing it for selfish reasons, effectively so all sense of smug pride and being so nice is automatically taken away. Unpaid internships are like volunteering but not volunteering just working for free. Free work. We’re effectively asking for employers to give us the opportunity to do anything we can in their offices that would be helpful. We are like puppies looking for approval with big eyes, cocked head and a pleading look.

Us in puppy form. He’s a little cuter and a little less desperate though.

Whatever. It’s frustrating and just another obstacle for anyone wanting to get anywhere in professional circles. On that note, and however unfair it actually is: I’m off to fill out another tedious application form that doesn’t actually show anything about me with the same mundane questions. Wish me luck.

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What’s a human to do?

I’m out of ideas guys. My brain has been consumed with pointless essays that I am essentially paying people to give me by choosing a university degree. If it isn’t ridiculously lengthy essay questions then it’s mountains of revision or having my money taken from me because I work too many hours for a student. It’s getting an essay back and told that my ideas are so good that I don’t need to use fancy language. What if I like fancy language? What if I want to work all those long hours? What if I have an amazing answer to a far simpler, but just as meaningful, essay question that doesn’t exisit?

What’s a human to do?

I have two more essays before my final deadlines and then a few more exams before the end of term and graduation. Before then I will continue to work my butt off for a piece of paper and some recognition that yes, I can survive university. Not necessarily that I can survive in the real world, but university? Yep got that covered.

I have reached a point where I cannot help but question what I am to do when people tell me to do one thing then tell me I’m wrong for listening to their advice. What confuses me most about this conundrum is that I am taking advice and feedback from people that are wiser, smarter and have been playing the university game for longer than anyone would wish to be a part of it. The government encourages people to work, they want unemployment to decrease, they want students to study and yet if you try to do both things: work and study, then you can’t without having something taken away. If you work too many hours, there’s a tax for that. If you study at a certain place or want certain books, then there’s a price for that. Yes, we pay because it benefits the country: free healthcare (or cheaper), transport, blah, blah, blah. But at the same time, I’m just a student. I barely count as a human at all, apart from as someone to milk money from. My rent is huge, my books make me research how much I can sell a liver for on the black market and the cost of my education alone means that I will be forever in debt and if I’m lucky, at age 95 will see the debt cleared.

My brain has had enough. It doesn’t want me to do anymore work. But it’s the final frontier, I’m so close to the finish line I can smell it. Or taste it. Or see it. However the saying goes. Motivation is scarce right now but what’s pushing me through is that come September I’ll be doing a 6 month course (not out of academia yet! I’m crazy I know) that will set me on my chosen career path. I will continue to work hard so that one day, I am creating the game, not playing it. That’s what keeps me going. So in answer to my title question (which no-one actually asked me) just keep going. It’s worth it because when you relax you can feel satisfied of your productivity. It means in the long run you’ll have that freedom that is promised but not quite true just yet. So if you’re also suffering through countless deadlines and exam period: just breathe and focus. It’ll be worth it.

The simple things right now are keeping me going and will continue to help me through the battlefield of exam period: cheesecakes, the boy, the Stereophonics and pretty pictures online. Soon this will be done and I’ll be a free, very poor graduate! Hooray!

Okay, pep talk to myself is over. Wish me luck. Over and out.