In 2007 I finished high school and headed off to University for the first time. I had been accepted on to the Film and Television Studies course at Glasgow University, and I spent four incredible years studying something I loved, with an amazing bunch of people. My undergraduate years had such a positive impact on my life, not only in terms of what I learnt, but in the way it helped me grow in confidence.
Fast forward to 2011. I graduated with a 2:1 MA Honours Degree in Film and Television Studies. When I graduated, I’ll be completely honest – I had no idea what I really wanted to do. I think this is something that a lot of people go through. Deciding what you want to do with your entire life when you’re seventeen and applying to uni for the first time isn’t easy, and most of us just have to go after something that piques our interest at the time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about that right now, don’t panic – we’ve all been there! I realised after a while that in order to get any sort of decent job in film and television, I would probably have to move to London, which was something I wasn’t ready to do. I had had such an incredible time at uni, and had loved being a student so much, that I contemplated postgraduate education at that point, however, I had to accept that without knowing what I really wanted to do, and that was probably a poor decision.
While I was at university, I had accidentally stumbled across the beauty and lifestyle blogging and YouTube communities – it was a lovely little bubble to escape into when taking a break from the books, and I’d always had an interest in makeup. I started my own blog and channel, and completely fell in love with it. I found a brand new professional makeup school in Glasgow, and went on to do one of the courses there in October 2011. When I told the director and head makeup artist at the academy about my passion for blogging and social media, she asked if I would be interested in helping out with the social media for the makeup school. This led to me spending a year running their Facebook, Twitter and blog, and that experience helped me gain some freelance work and another couple of valuable social media internships. I finally felt like I might know what I wanted to do, and that was exciting!
By the end of 2012, I’d taken on various paid and unpaid work experience, and was ready to look for a full time job. The problem was, every interview I went to turned out the same way – I was told that my CV was really interesting, and I had some great experience, but other candidates had a marketing qualification. This period of time was somewhat disheartening, and eventually, in December 2012, I decided it was time for a change. I bit the bullet and did something I’d always wanted to do – booked a ticket to Australia!
I spent March and April of 2013 travelling, and had the most incredible time. I came back feeling ready to start the job hunt once again, and naively hoped that my time away would have made some sort of difference. Sadly, however, that was not the case! I landed a part time job at a magazine, but finding full time employment in a social media marketing role without a marketing degree at that point was proving to be impossible. It was then, during a conversation with my parents, that the idea of doing a postgraduate course came up once again. In a last minute decision, a week before the closing date, I threw myself into applying for an International Marketing Masters course, and before I knew it I was armed with my new stationery and back in the classroom. It was the best decision I ever made.
It was, without a doubt, the most hectic year of my life – doing a Masters is not easy, especially when you get used to the routine of an undergraduate degree! Depending on your undergrad subject, you might be in class for just a few hours a week, with a lecture here and there and plenty free time, which makes the transition into a postgrad a bit of a shock to the system! My Masters was pretty much a 9-5, Monday to Friday affair, with seven modules carried out between August and April, and a dissertation to write between June and September. The workload was intense, with regular presentations, almost 30,000 words worth of essays and reports due in over the space of a couple of weeks in April, and lots of group projects. I went home every night exhausted but loving every second of it, and made some great new friends. I had the opportunity to work on some exciting projects, like being part of the social media team for the Glasgow Caledonian University Fashion Show, and designed my dissertation to explore what had pushed me on to this path – the beauty blogging community. I loved my research, and to my absolute delight, was awarded a prize for best dissertation – I think this just goes to show what can happen when you study something you really care about! What it really showed me though was how suited I am to an educational environment, and how passionate I am about studying, learning, and the entire university experience.
My Masters gave me a renewed sense of confidence and focus. Being a graduate in today’s climate doesn’t mean leaving full time education and walking into a job the way it used to. Jobs aren’t easy to come by, and it’s a transitional time in your life, with countless different paths you could choose to go down. If, however, the path you are considering is a Masters, I would recommend it wholeheartedly. Not only have I found that the response rate I get to job applications has risen significantly since I added that to my CV, but it is a time in your life where you can really focus in on what it is you want to do, and what career path will make you happy. At the end of the day, your happiness is the most important thing!
I’m now running a blog and YouTube channel called The Student Switchboard, which is dedicated to student advice, covering a wide range of topics! So if you’re a student or graduate, or you’re heading off to college or University this summer, I’d love for you to stop by!