A Journey of Resilience

After 3 years studying English with Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University, Olivia left with the dream of moving to London and starting a new life down there. Things didn't workout quite the way she wanted and she decided to document the whole experience on her personal blog. Now she's moving on, once again, she thought it would be apt to share her story of resilience...

Graduation Day
Olivia on her Graduation day.
July 30th, 2016

"Upon leaving university, I started interviewing for Graduate jobs in Recruitment, attending assessment days and interviews for some of the top companies in London. The offices were stunning and I felt like a tiny fish in a huge, business-fied pond!  It's a shame the people I came across weren't as impressive as the buildings they were based in...

I didn't get on well with the companies. They were very cut-throat and everyone was in it for themselves, which isn't my personality. The feedback I got from most of the interviews was 'you're too nice'. I decided that I wasn't going to change an attribute that I think is a positive one. Really, how can you be too nice?

Getting a graduate job in London
Your first option isn't always the right one.
Honestly, I left this experience feeling so disheartened. It wasn't all negative, though, because I learnt how to interview in the most competitive environments in the country which can only be helpful for later life!

No matter how hard I had tried, how much I wanted it, I didn't have a job and had no money. It was clear to me, that my dream of living in London wasn't going to happen at this point in my life.

I have applied for so many jobs, some that I'd love and some that would literally pay the bills.

I do get down and frustrated when things don't happen the way I want them to, especially when it's out of my control, but I think it's important to pull yourself out of a negative mindset quickly! I like to think of all the things I do have... A supportive family, friends and boyfriend. I have a place I can call home and go back to at any time and the fact that I actually have the choice to study, get a job and move where I want to! So I couldn't afford London? I'm 21, just graduated and inexperienced!"

August 13th, 2016

"I am glad to say that thinking positively and keeping going has worked out for me and I am so happy to write that I've got a job! I know it's cliche, but it really is my perfect job.

The job title is 'Creative Content Developer' for the Outreach department at Nottingham Trent University. One thing they stressed at the interview is that it's a job where I will be able to take full creative control, which is so exciting! I will be in charge of social media, blogging, vlogging and I can write as much as I want! What I produce on these mediums will aim to inspire young people to take the route of higher education. Anyone who knows me would say that this is a perfect role for me...

I travelled up to Nottingham the night before my interview and stayed in my friend's flat. She had not long moved in and the flat already looked so good! (We're are looking at getting a place there, too!) We had a huge catch-up and then went up the pub for some food and a few drinks! 

Good luck on your graduate job
My friend's good luck note on the morning of my interview!
The morning of my interview I woke up early (I was scared of being late) and forced some breakfast down. I really hate eating early in the morning but I knew I needed brain power!

Sunrise on the morning of my job interview
The sunrise on the morning of my interview: it was going to be a good day!
We walked to the interview and we were so early because I'm always paranoid about being late for important meetings like that! I waited in the hallway and was met by one of the interviewers... It was three hours long because I had to do tasks, a presentation and a formal interview and I did, actually, enjoy it!

I left the interview feeling quite confident but also didn't get my hopes up! They said that they would ring me and let me know the next day whether I'd been successful...

Back at home that afternoon, I was watching TV and the phone rang. It was them! They phoned me that day and told me I had the job! I've never felt such a relief after months of stress and uncertainty.

I'd done it! I'd finally landed myself with my dream job! I can't wait to begin and I'm sure it will live up to my expectations!"

August 21st, 2017

It's really strange to read back on how I was feeling before I got the job as 'Creative Content Developer' also all of my expectations before starting! It's safe to say that the job role, the people I've worked with and the opportunities it has given me really has exceeded all of my expectations.

The freedom, variety of work and creative responsibility I have been given has made it the most enjoyable job ever! I am so aware that, as a graduate, I have been really lucky to be trusted with making decisions and not only am I encouraged to try new things but I'm assured that if they do fail - that's OK.

As I sit here now, a year later, entering a new chapter of my life - I can honestly say that this role and the support I have received from my colleagues has put me in the best stead for whatever I do next. I have learnt so many new skills and actually have the experience to take me forward into new roles.

Graduate Dream Job
There aren't many jobs where you can decide
If I could give one piece of advice for a graduate looking for work it would be to try jobs, fail or succeed but most of all learn as much as you possibly can along the way. It's easy to get disheartened and frustrated at why employers won't give you a chance but there honestly will be one somewhere that wants someone who is fresh and enthusiastic.

My advice for an employer? If you have a graduate who is so willing and enthusiastic to work hard and learn as much as they can - give them a chance. I heard countless times "We'd have you in a flash if you had experience" and it's so frustrating because if no one gives you that chance, how are you going to gain experience?

I was lucky that I applied for a forward-thinking place that really does want the best for young people and gave me that experience to better myself and carry on my journey positively.

Also, if anyone's reading this and fancies the role (which I would recommend with all my heart if for anyone who's creative), follow this link for the details of how you can apply!

I would also like to say a massive thank you to SCCO for giving me the opportunity to work hard, learn, try new things, gain experience and for honestly being the best department I could have dreamed for my first real job to be in!

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