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    Without trying to sound too dramatic, the title says it all really.
    I'm one of 4 sisters in my family, all of the others have a direct path plotted out (or achieved) from school through to graduate job. One is doing Languages, one has done medicine, one has done engineering, the latter two are now qualified and working in their field.

    I graduated with a 2:1 from Durham in 2009, did Politics & Philosophy, and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life.
    If you were to ask me why I did my course, I have no idea.
    My hobbies are certainly nothing to do with it - I would rather have done design, but was too easily swayed by family at the time when they told me there was no point in doing it at University.

    I have been travelling for the past 18 months, lived and worked in 10 different countries, done temp work all over the world, office work in Sydney, Volunteering in Asia, Summer Camps in America. Thing is, all this on my CV just makes me look like a flake who hasn't really done much of anything. And I'm getting the feeling in interviews that there's such a thing as 'too much' extra curricular.

    I've had quite a few stabs at applying for Grad schemes wholeheartedly - because anyone I speak to says that a good degree from a good uni has to count for something. I've spent the past 2 weeks applying for everything that I could find - and to no avail.
    I managed to get a place on the GDL for September, but I've been turned down or unsuccessful in all work experience / intern applications I've made, and I only really applied for it, because I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one in the family who's not actually doing something with her life.

    I've got no cash, and I'm starting to feel like no prospects.
    Any advice would be much appreciated -- and I'm not looking for a pat on the head - I truly feel like I have no direction. Has anyone been here before? How did you get out /away from this feeling? Where are you now?

    suzi
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    (Original post by suziQ)
    Without trying to sound too dramatic, the title says it all really.
    I'm one of 4 sisters in my family, all of the others have a direct path plotted out (or achieved) from school through to graduate job. One is doing Languages, one has done medicine, one has done engineering, the latter two are now qualified and working in their field.

    I graduated with a 2:1 from Durham in 2009, did Politics & Philosophy, and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life.
    If you were to ask me why I did my course, I have no idea.
    My hobbies are certainly nothing to do with it - I would rather have done design, but was too easily swayed by family at the time when they told me there was no point in doing it at University.

    I have been travelling for the past 18 months, lived and worked in 10 different countries, done temp work all over the world, office work in Sydney, Volunteering in Asia, Summer Camps in America. Thing is, all this on my CV just makes me look like a flake who hasn't really done much of anything. And I'm getting the feeling in interviews that there's such a thing as 'too much' extra curricular.

    I've had quite a few stabs at applying for Grad schemes wholeheartedly - because anyone I speak to says that a good degree from a good uni has to count for something. I've spent the past 2 weeks applying for everything that I could find - and to no avail.
    I managed to get a place on the GDL for September, but I've been turned down or unsuccessful in all work experience / intern applications I've made, and I only really applied for it, because I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one in the family who's not actually doing something with her life.

    I've got no cash, and I'm starting to feel like no prospects.
    Any advice would be much appreciated -- and I'm not looking for a pat on the head - I truly feel like I have no direction. Has anyone been here before? How did you get out /away from this feeling? Where are you now?

    suzi
    Marriage? :ninja:

    Or, you could maybe take some of the extra curricular stuff off your CV? :confused:

    _Kar.
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    (Original post by suziQ)
    Without trying to sound too dramatic, the title says it all really.
    I'm one of 4 sisters in my family, all of the others have a direct path plotted out (or achieved) from school through to graduate job. One is doing Languages, one has done medicine, one has done engineering, the latter two are now qualified and working in their field.

    I graduated with a 2:1 from Durham in 2009, did Politics & Philosophy, and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life.
    If you were to ask me why I did my course, I have no idea.
    My hobbies are certainly nothing to do with it - I would rather have done design, but was too easily swayed by family at the time when they told me there was no point in doing it at University.

    I have been travelling for the past 18 months, lived and worked in 10 different countries, done temp work all over the world, office work in Sydney, Volunteering in Asia, Summer Camps in America. Thing is, all this on my CV just makes me look like a flake who hasn't really done much of anything. And I'm getting the feeling in interviews that there's such a thing as 'too much' extra curricular.

    I've had quite a few stabs at applying for Grad schemes wholeheartedly - because anyone I speak to says that a good degree from a good uni has to count for something. I've spent the past 2 weeks applying for everything that I could find - and to no avail.
    I managed to get a place on the GDL for September, but I've been turned down or unsuccessful in all work experience / intern applications I've made, and I only really applied for it, because I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one in the family who's not actually doing something with her life.

    I've got no cash, and I'm starting to feel like no prospects.
    Any advice would be much appreciated -- and I'm not looking for a pat on the head - I truly feel like I have no direction. Has anyone been here before? How did you get out /away from this feeling? Where are you now?

    suzi

    Join the club. I'm coming up to graduation and have ABSOLUTELY no idea what want to do afterwards. I have no plans except that i don't want to do law (which ain't too helpful with a law degree!)

    People keep saying you can do alsorts with a law degree but I'm struggling for anything really. Might do a PGCE or something.
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    1. Go back to university and attempt another degree ( A viable degree )
    2. Speak to the careers advisor at your previous university
    3. Contact a previous tutor you've had and ask for some help or contacts they may know
    4. Contact a student who was in your year on politics & Philosophy, ask what they done since graduating
    5. Volunteer in your field to gain relevant experience
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    Don't do another degree. Unless you decide you want to be a doctor or something. Your degree is perfectly valuable. The only "problem" with it (though some would think this an advantage) is that it doesn't lead directly to a specific career path, which is why you're feeling a bit lost. I did English Literature (at Durham as well, actually) and felt similarly. The thing that helped me was deciding what it was I wanted to do, because then I had something to work towards. So I think this is what you should work on. Do you live with your parents? Are you able to do unpaid work experience as a "taster" of something you might like to do? (I didn't do this, so it doesn't have to be a problem.) Otherwise, just do a lot of research. Speak to people, post on fora, read up on different sorts of careers and why they might be good or not. And remember, you are not limited by your degree subject in the vast majority of careers. People were constantly telling me I should do publishing or advertising, but they weren't for me.

    By the way, two weeks is really not that long! Don't despair. It is really demoralising looking for a job right now, but if you keep plugging at it something will come along. Chin up And regardless of how it has affected your degree prospects, you should feel proud of all that traveling experience! Sounds amazing.
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    Two weeks is not long at all. I did a history degree which also doesn't lead to a specific vocation so I am 'floating around' at the moment. I have part time work (which I really enjoy) but its not enough to be independent so I am living with my parents.

    Your travelling experience counts for so much - I am hopefully going travelling sometime soon. It shows your independence, organisational abilities, financial awareness and so much more.
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    (Original post by Jelkin)
    Don't do another degree. Unless you decide you want to be a doctor or something. Your degree is perfectly valuable. The only "problem" with it (though some would think this an advantage) is that it doesn't lead directly to a specific career path, which is why you're feeling a bit lost. I did English Literature (at Durham as well, actually) and felt similarly. The thing that helped me was deciding what it was I wanted to do, because then I had something to work towards. So I think this is what you should work on. Do you live with your parents? Are you able to do unpaid work experience as a "taster" of something you might like to do? (I didn't do this, so it doesn't have to be a problem.) Otherwise, just do a lot of research. Speak to people, post on fora, read up on different sorts of careers and why they might be good or not. And remember, you are not limited by your degree subject in the vast majority of careers. People were constantly telling me I should do publishing or advertising, but they weren't for me.

    By the way, two weeks is really not that long! Don't despair. It is really demoralising looking for a job right now, but if you keep plugging at it something will come along. Chin up And regardless of how it has affected your degree prospects, you should feel proud of all that traveling experience! Sounds amazing.

    Degree is valuable... if it was so valuable s/he would of got a job instantly, when s/he graduated. When I stated "Go back to university and attempt another degree ( A viable degree )" it mean't to advance further in the field. Or as a last resort, do something a course that will get you employed nonetheless a good paypacket.

    Without money how was she going to pay for univeristy fees for a new course? Hence further into the field, some PhDS, Masters get you paid.

    The fact is your were 18 at the time, and should of made the choice yourself, you had advisors at hand at univeristy, and I;m sure you had a careers advisor/placement co-ordinator. What went wrong there..

    Travelling isn;t a expense we can all afford to take, Career comes first not travelling, you can do enough of it when your retired.

    The truth hurts, suck it up!

    My dentist went back to A-levels at 24.. then done dentistry after and then a phd.. now thats balls..grow some.
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    Umm, Blindside, another degree either in the same or a different field is not necessarily the answer.

    To the OP, it's still less than two years since you graduated so the first thing you need to do is take the pressure off yourself. It can be tough to do when you come from a family where you perceive everyone to be successfully pursuing their path, but if you make your decisions out of fear of losing face or feeling like a failure, you will be more likely to make the wrong decision and regret it later on.

    So the first thing is just relax and realise that what is important is not how well you do compared with your family but how happy you are in whatever job you find. So I would recommend to either:
    (a) look for some more basic jobs (office admin etc) while you figure out what you want to do - this gives you the money you need to live so you can make your decisions without immediate financial necessity clouding your decision-making process. OR
    (b) if you can afford it and have some ideas of areas you would like to work in, apply for low-paid or unpaid internships. Based on your degree, you would be a great candidate for positions in politics or think tanks. The problem is most of these look for people with some experience which often requires unpaid internships.

    When I left Uni I spent two years working in a call centre because I stayed in the city where I went to uni to organise a large extra-curricular event I'd been involved in before I graduated. I then moved to london and have spent eighteen months in an office job at a Uni...so I know a little something about feeling like you're just drifting with no direction.

    The other thing to realise is that not everyone has a set career path. There are some people who live to work - they know from an early age that they will be engineers, or lawyers, or investment bankers, or firemen or whatever. But there are others, and plenty, who work as a means to an end. You should always strive to be happy in work, but what you're describing is despair at not having a clear 'career path'. Perhaps you should consider that you're not meant to have one?

    Perhaps you're more suited to working as a means to an end, enjoying your work and getting on with your colleagues, but leaving the workplace at 5pm every day and living your life? Perhaps the specifics of what you do aren't as important as how you build your life outside of work and perhaps the despair you feel now is not so much because YOU want a career, but you feel you should have one and that you're a failure if you don't.

    So first step is relax.

    Second step is to identify whether you feel like you do because of your own preferences or because of what you think you should want.

    Third, once you figure that out, you can then start to figure out what you want to do. It may be another degree, it may be a grad scheme, or it may be just getting a regular office job and deriving your life satisfaction from the relationships you build in life, your activbities outside of work etc.
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    (Original post by Blindsidev1)
    Degree is valuable... if it was so valuable s/he would of got a job instantly, when s/he graduated. When I stated "Go back to university and attempt another degree ( A viable degree )" it mean't to advance further in the field. Or as a last resort, do something a course that will get you employed nonetheless a good paypacket.

    Without money how was she going to pay for univeristy fees for a new course? Hence further into the field, some PhDS, Masters get you paid.

    The fact is your were 18 at the time, and should of made the choice yourself, you had advisors at hand at univeristy, and I;m sure you had a careers advisor/placement co-ordinator. What went wrong there..

    Travelling isn;t a expense we can all afford to take, Career comes first not travelling, you can do enough of it when your retired.

    The truth hurts, suck it up!

    My dentist went back to A-levels at 24.. then done dentistry after and then a phd.. now thats balls..grow some.
    Wow. Your 'viable' degree comment and the advice to 'grow some balls' really helps me out.
    Amizin.

    I funded my travel through working at the time - I only ever fronted the £300 for the flight to the US, and travelled at the end of each stint of employment, so I disagree with you there - I'm certainly not a silver spooned kid who was thrown a wedge to go and sow wild oats away from M&D. I landed in most countries with equivalent to £40 in my pocket and my passport.
    I also disagree that travelling is something to save until you're retired - but I'm well aware that opinion leaves me open to the suggestion that perhaps that's why I feel lost now, as opposed to when I'm wearing dentures and slippers.

    As for the jibe about being 18 and me making the choice for myself, I weighed the pros and cons of an academic degree from a good university because I had the grades to get there, and did well. Almost everyone I spoke to advised me that it was something of an opportunity and would stand me in good stead alongside my other skills. I was 18. I took some advice.

    I am not the first creatively-inclined person to struggle with wondering whether academia or seemingly vocational-creative courses are the way forward.
    And tbh.. I pretty much admitted the uncertainty stems from there.


    Nevertheless.
    Yours is certainly an opinion I was expecting.
    thanks.. I guess.
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    (Original post by livingston)
    Umm, Blindside, another degree either in the same or a different field is not necessarily the answer.

    ....

    Perhaps the specifics of what you do aren't as important as how you build your life outside of work and perhaps the despair you feel now is not so much because YOU want a career, but you feel you should have one and that you're a failure if you don't.

    So first step is relax.

    Second step is to identify whether you feel like you do because of your own preferences or because of what you think you should want.

    Third, once you figure that out, you can then start to figure out what you want to do. It may be another degree, it may be a grad scheme, or it may be just getting a regular office job and deriving your life satisfaction from the relationships you build in life, your activbities outside of work etc.
    thank you, that is good advice.
    I hadn't considered that maybe I'm thinking too hard about having a path, but that's probably due to being compared to my sisters all the time. None of them have travelled / left Europe, and I've been the only one who's spent longer than a few weeks away from home.

    I have gone the route of admin / office jobs, I've been managing property for a letting agent, but again my fear is that this just adds to a string of unlinked experience on my CV.

    Thinking I do just need to chill out a bit.
    Thanks for advice.
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    I know what you mean. But at the end of the day those positions are linked - you develop team working, logic, organisation, workload prioritisation...all those generic skills most jobs look for. Very few jobs will give you the exact experience you'll need for the next one - what's important is that (as much as possible) they give you some generic experience and teach you how to work effectively.

    Of course if and when you decide you do want a specific career path, you'll want to specialise and develop skills specific to that area then, but for now the skills you are getting from the jobs you described sounds fine for your stage of your working life.

    And it may be a case that you continue to do admin-related jobs, or you may end up deciding on a path related to a job you find purely because you enjoy it. On the other hand you may wake up some morning and decide that what you want is to be a teacher, or an accountant, or a civil servant or whatever - if and when that happens, the experience you gain now will help you to go about achieving that goal.

    The main thing is that either option is fine
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    "Wow. Your 'viable' degree comment and the advice to 'grow some balls' really helps me out.
    Amizin."

    Grow some balls, the statement is to prove, that even at age of 24 and over, it's never to late to go back and change your career path, take part-time work ( even if it was McDonalds...), and bust your balls to make it.

    "and travelled at the end of each stint of employment", Why didn't you stay in your home country and apply to everything, even work for free.. Never heard of "Experience pays".. and don't tell me a company is gonna say no, what company would refuse slave labour.....

    Wether you were a silver spoon kid or not has nothing to do with it, a mere excuse for lack of ambition and drive. You sat the same tests as everyone else. Lack of grades, no excuse if you had sisters round the same age to help you prepare.

    The travelling in regards to retirement, I didn't say you couldn't travel until your a pensioner. Of course you can still travel on your holidays breaks... Just not to be taking massive gaps in the year of travelling that is irrevelant to your degree.

    "As for the jibe" , Clearly those who advised you are wrong? Pro & cons you weighed up.. If your academic grades were so good before you applied to your degree. You didn't weight your options correctly. Unless you had poor results and selected the best you could apply for then fair enough, re-sits should of been an option..

    The fact that very few people know what they want to do at the age of 14+, it's more than likely you've mis-understood would exactly was gonna happen, granted you were given poor advice when applying. May I ask what A-level/Techinical college grades you gained?


    Some opinions are wrong and right.
    Some don't like the truth.
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    You weren't necessarily given wrong advice, Suzi. If you don't know what you want to do now, you sure as hell didn't at 18. So regardless of grades, if you'd ended up doing something more vocational and becoming a doctor or lawyer or engineer, there's every possibility you would have made the wrong choice and hate it, but have very little chance to change because you would have a highly specific education that trained you to do one thing in particular.

    In the situation, you made the right choice. What you've got instead in a training in how to think and how to approach situations which has been augmented by your experience to date. If (and I stress again that it is an if - there are plenty of people for whom a 'career' is less important than life, and who just want to have a job they like) and when you decide you want to pursue a specific career, your education will be the best foundation for it.

    It may well be once you make that decision that you will need further, more specific training or education or qualifications, or you may need to get in at the bottom and work your way up. But you don't get a good degree from a good university and manage to support yourself through a year of travelling with not much cash to start with without having the ability to work hard and build what you want.

    So ignore the naysayers - you were right not to fix on a specific career at 18, and the year travelling has not done you any harm at all.
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    (Original post by suziQ)
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    OP, although I haven't had as much worldly experience as you have, I know the feeling. I made this thread earlier today because of the way that I'm feeling.

    I really don't think that you should become disheartened. You're simply suffering the same difficulty of thousands of other young people in your position in getting a job/experience.

    If you are going to do the GDL however in September, then I really don't see the problem. You can carry on applying for experience now and even if you don't get it then at least in September you'll be making your first steps on the ladder to career in law.
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    (Original post by Blindsidev1)
    Degree is valuable... if it was so valuable s/he would of got a job instantly, when s/he graduated.
    Thoroughly idiotic. The jobs market is horrendous right now, and anyway, the OP went travelling and did other kinds of work. She's only tried applying to grad jobs for a total of two weeks. I did English Literature at Durham - presumably useless by your standards - and I am starting as a trainee actuary in London in September, with an excellent starting salary. I'd like to add, not as a boast but to further prove my point, that the company called me up the day after the assessment centre to offer me the job, whereas most if not all of the other successful candidates (all of whom did maths or actuarial science, apart from one who did Chemistry) had another interview. So the company clearly thought my degree was fine, and while it won't be directly useful for the job, it was extremely useful to me in getting the job. [The HR guy told me my arts degree skills were evident in one of the written exercises we had to do.]

    Travelling isn;t a expense we can all afford to take, Career comes first not travelling, you can do enough of it when your retired.
    I seriously doubt the OP will fail at life just because she took some time out to go traveling. It might be more secure to secure an autumn-start job and then go traveling, but employers understand that young people want to see the world before they settle down. Yes, she went for a long time, but it's not like that short period of her life will prevent her from doing very well in the future.

    What educational stage are you at, anyway? If you've been to uni I am surprised that you don't know she would need pretty good grades to do P&P at Durham.
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    Part of the jobs market nowadays is skills. In fact, that's most of the job market. A lot of people don't have the specialist knowledge to do something but if they've got the basic skills there then they can be taught the knowledge quickly to become efficient at their job.

    I would suggest that if getting into a grad scheme is something you really want to get into as some kind of start on a career ladder that you start looking at your travelling and other work from a positive point of view rather than as something you did whilst you didn't know what else to do. For example, travelling: you've had to become independent and live and work in other cultures so if your job could involve going abroad that's very good. Your office job has given you responsibilities to be in charge of important data in a professional manner. I'm sure at uni you helped with things so spin those in a good light. Even the most wasted summers can be made to look good. I didn't do anything one summer apart from piss around on the internet but I made a website so that became 'self taught knowledge of website building and maintenance' on my CV.

    Anyway, I wouldn't worry about not feeling like you've got an aim. To be honest, I'm there still and I'm staying on at university next year to finish my 4th year even though I could graduate now and would actually like to because my degree isn't quite what I want to do. As long as you're doing something, even if it's getting a job in an area that you realise you don't like, that's better than nothing. Give some things a try, maybe with unpaid/low paid internships if you can afford it. Keep life finances ticking over with whatever work you can get but keep on trying those career paths. Who knows, you might find the best job ever on an unpaid internship and then because of good performance you get a job 2 months down the line in something that you really really enjoy.

    Good luck.
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    (Original post by Jelkin)
    Thoroughly idiotic. The jobs market is horrendous right now, and anyway

    When did she finish her degree? Do some basic math, the market was extremely good at the time, and read the second post I threaded.
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    (Original post by Blindsidev1)
    When did she finish her degree? Do some basic math, the market was extremely good at the time, and read the second post I threaded.
    No it wasn't a good time for employment. 2009 was when the downturn was well and truly in motion.
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    (Original post by Kowa)
    No it wasn't a good time for employment. 2009 was when the downturn was well and truly in motion.
    2011-4 years thats definitely 2009 :clap2:
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    Umm...

    I graduated with a 2:1 from Durham in 2009
    Perhaps you should actually read the OP before being so unpleasant.
 
 
 
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