…What next? | Graduate Diaries

What next, indeed?

That question is thrown about at the dinner table more times than I care to count. It happens at the family dinner table. It happens at the friends’ dinner table. At the girlfriend’s family table. At the car-boot-sale-table. Any table, in fact.

Over 99% of a graduates’ day is faced with the same question: ‘What next?’ This is made all that much worse by the depressing fact that the vast majority of us will be unemployed. We’ll spend days at home, applying to jobs, hoping for the best, and practically begging employers to take us on. It makes it that much easier for the family to question us on our plans for the next 44 years of our lives. And it’s hard to decide on what’s next, too, because committing to a lifetime career is a huge ask. You need to make the right decision – and make it count.

That’s why, three months after completing my course, two months after moving out of my student home, and a month after graduating, I am without a job – but not without hope. I have goals, desires, career ambitions, and I’ve been making some serious plans.

Working it out

man lying on rubber mat near barbell inside the gym
100% me in a few months

Plan #1: the peak of physical fitness. I’ve rejoined my local Taekwondo classes, attending twice a week to hone my martial arts skills. I missed these classes so much while at Uni, so it’s a blessing being able to train again. I left after having achieved a 2nd Dan Black Belt, and attended whenever able during my visits home. Taekwondo is great for all-round fitness, but its twice-weekly classes are limiting in what I am able to push my body to accomplish.

That’s why, after getting a job, I plan on joining a gym (so any experts on the best/cheapest gyms in Cheltenham, hit me up). During the Third Year of my degree, I was able to attend the gym every day before lectures and seminars, and it felt incredible making such a positive start to my day. I’d like to commit to that regime once again, with the aim to decrease my body fat percentage to just 12% by the end of May, 2019. Attending a gym is always a great start to controlling your health, but without a goal like that, it’s easy to fall off the bandwagon. That’s why I’ve set an attainable goal. With the recent changes I’ve made to my diet, I know that this feat is achievable.

I need a dollar…

But first: an income. I’ve applied to various jobs, attending interviews and writing covering letters for internships, but none has peaked my interest so much as my most recent application. It offered good hours with opportunities for overtime, and is a field I’d be genuinely interested in working in – for the meantime. One reason it’s so suitable is because of its nature as a part-time role.

‘Part-time?’ I hear you cry. ‘But you’ve graduated, Josh. You need a full-time position!’

You’re not wrong, generic reader. But to have a full-time job, you need to be working towards a career that you can see yourself staying with for a good few years, at least. Applications that I’ve made to other full-time positions have been because I need a job, or because I’d like experience to determine whether it’s right for me. Up until now, I hadn’t conjured-up a solid career path that I was genuinely interested in pursuing.

Up until now being the key phrase here.

Now, I want to give teaching a go. For anyone who knows me, they’ll understand how dead-set against that job I was. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, I think it was because teaching always felt thrust upon me. As an outgoing, confident guy who’s good with young people, and fancies himself to be a bit of a leader, I fit the stereotype nicely while growing up. Choosing to study English and History only added fuel to the fire, because teaching is seen as such a popular path following an arts and humanities degree. Worse so, housemates joked about my inevitable fate on multiple ocassions, resulting in my complete write-off of the career.

Now? I’ve changed my mind. It was unbelievably stupid to refuse to consider teaching as a possibility. Now that I have a year away from education, I’m going to get experience at as many schools as possible, to determine whether that path is right for me. The one thing I don’t want is to rush into anything, which is why I’m glad I’ve got this year to weigh-up my options. I’ll shadow History teachers as much as possible, to see if I like the sound of teaching kids about one of my passions.

In the meantime, I need to earn some cash. I’ve been writing as a freelancer for Campus Society for over a year, and aim to continue doing so. I’ve also recently joined Deliveroo – but both jobs are only casual work. I also need a part-time job to maximise my income, to earn as much as possible in the lead-up to a few adventures that I’ve got planned in the coming year.

One of those adventures involves Japan.

black and white mountain over yellow white and blue sky

But more on that later.

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