First things first, how has life been after Durham? What have you been doing since graduating in 2015?
Life has definitely been a lot quieter since Durham, but to be honest I’m quite enjoying the chance to catch my breath after the whirlwind of coursework, exams and the year abroad. I’ve mainly been looking for jobs. I’m now working as a Content Writer for a travel start-up, which is exciting, but not before receiving a couple of ‘interesting’ offers including writing content for a company which specialises in escort websites.
Did you know what you wanted to do before graduating? Do you have any advice to undergrads interested in pursuing a career in your field?
Since I got involved in student media from second year onwards (including the Definite Article), I knew I wanted to work in journalism, publishing or translation – anything to do with words, really. I would advise getting as much experience as you possibly can if you’re looking for a career in this area: message websites you’re interested in to see if they’re looking for contributors, write your own blog, get involved in student media in Durham. Rather than my actual degree, I found it was my experience in writing and editing that impressed employers and, ultimately, helped me secure the job I’m working in now.
Anything you miss about being a languages undergrad? Have you found that your languages degree has helped you in your career?
I miss so much about being a languages undergrad! What other degree is there where you can talk to people, watch films, and listen to the radio as a legitimate form of revision? Durham is such a brilliant place to be a student that you can’t NOT miss it – I especially miss my friends and the fact that I was learning every day. Although it is brilliant having a bit of disposable income, there’s a certain amount of freedom about being a student that disappears when you’re working.
I definitely feel like being a languages student has helped in my career – certainly it has helped with my writing skills, and I find that languages students in particular are precise in the way they express themselves that other graduates aren’t. We’re trained to notice the small things – the tense, a pronoun – that don’t seem incredibly important at the time, but can alter the whole meaning of a sentence – and this is what’s important in a field like content writing or marketing.
Do you have any words of wisdom for any finalists still uncertain about what they want to do in the future?
Do. Not. Worry. It’s incredibly scary leaving Durham with no job or grad scheme in place, but that’s ok. If you’re not sure about you want to do, then don’t rush – do some soul-searching, experiment a little bit. Even though it feels like it now, there really is no rush and it’s better to wait and figure things out than hurry to take a job you end up hating. Make sure you make the most of Durham though: it might be stressful now, but you’ll miss it when it’s over, trust me!
Any advice to undergraduates at Durham?
You’ll no doubt have heard this a million times before, but make sure you get involved in stuff. I found what I wanted to do through my extracurriculars, and you’d be surprised what people have gone on to get involved in through a club or society they were part of. Like I said earlier, it’s the extracurriculars that employers tend to notice as they often reveal your passions and interests far better than your degree – although it helps if you love doing that too! One more thing I would say is enjoy Durham. Spend time with friends, go to Klute (if that’s your thing) rant about how horrible Elvet is… the fact is that you might not have this opportunity again and there really is nowhere like it.