Okay so I set up this blog a few weeks ago and have since found myself at a loss as to what to write about. I am not a writer. I think I probably enjoy the notion of being a writer. I quite often imagine myself in ten years time sitting in the conservatory of my beautiful country cottage, over looking the stream that flows passed the rear garden and penning my third best selling, Pulitzer Prize winning novel with golden retriever puppies asleep at my feet. (The dogs have nothing to do with the writing, I love puppies and any vision of my future includes them.) The length of the previous sentence probably shows you why this dream is probably not for me. I am not a writer. I love good writing and I love reading good writing, therefore I am pursuing a career as a literary agent. Swap the writing part of my fantasy future with reading unsolicited manuscripts and guiding newby authors through the treacherous world that is the publishing industry. Now that is more me.
Soon I will graduate from my post graduate degree in publishing and once again be plunged into the real world to try and find a real job. I think I had probably forgotten how difficult and scary this is. Being on a post graduate course will tell you that I have been there before. I graduated from my under graduate degree when I was 21, a whole 5 years ago…
Growing up I found a love for drama. I was an awkward teenager who nobody understood (what teenager is understood?) Acting and drama classes built my confidence. I was good at it and people in those classes would respect me because I could do it. So, in a career session at school I told the advisor I wanted to be an actress and that was me set on the path to West End fame and fortune. I studied drama in school, an Acting Course at College and eventually Theatre at University. I didn’t notice until my final year, at the age of 20, that I didn’t want to act anymore. Being a good actress at high school was very different to being a good actress in the real world and I could no longer cut the mustard. What had really changed though, was my desire and drive to succeed in an industry of long days, a lot of waiting around, instability and low pay. The rewards no longer outweighed the sacrifices.
Unsure of where to turn, and not qualified for anything else I found myself in Retail Management. I even found a job in a shop I loved working in, beautiful flat and great friends. However it wasn’t right. Something was missing. I was a graduate with a degree that could not be adapted to any other industry and I was trapped. Stuck in a rut. I was also pretty sure I was not the only graduate in the same position, unable to find work.
I spent the four years in between degrees trying to figure out where I belonged in this world. With so much time and effort put into the decision I know I am on the right course now. I can’t wait to graduate and get a real job. Then I read Ali George’ article Confessions of a Penniless Graduate and suddenly I am faced with the prospect of going back to the world of retail. I may have sorted my life and my head out. Decided what direction I want to go in and forged ahead to make this happen. But there are countless graduates living in Edinburgh right now trying to get work in their chosen industry and instead are working in a job they are vastly over qualified for to pay the rent just and no more. Studying at Masters Level should give me the edge over my competitors in the industry, but how many other undergraduates will have had the same idea? There are around 50 students on my course alone at Edinburgh Napier (more than last year’s class due to an overwhelming number of applicants this year!) not to mention those studying the same course at other institutions such as Stirling University. Realistically, what are the chances that my dreams will come true? My vision of my future may involve the country cottage with the conservatory on the back over looking a stream with golden retriever puppies asleep at my feet, but instead of writing or reading the next Pulitzer Prize winning novel I will be writing up rotas and planning sale launches for my job back in Retail Management. With only a piece of paper with my name and ‘MSc’ written on it to show for my dream.