Graduation and Growth: 2017 In My Words

The start of January has always been a strange time of year for me. The remnants of festivity are put away for another year and replaced with an awareness of where I am in my life and what I need to do to succeed in the future. I have never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions, firstly because I can never stick to such a rigid rule and secondly because I feel that it is reductive. At this moment in time there are many things that I wish were better in my life and there are also things that are better from a year ago. Therefore I take this time of year as an opportunity to reflect on the last twelve months, in order to move forward with my future.

I hate bringing out the old cliché but the last twelve months have honestly been a roller-coaster of emotions, starting with my university dissertation on the work of Alan Hollinghurst. His work spoke to me in a way that was personal and meaningful and my tutor had released critical material on Hollinghurst also, thus I was determined to do myself justice with this piece. Ultimately I wasn’t completely successful with this but as someone who didn’t completely grasp the knack of academic writing, I was proud of my efforts nonetheless. To this day I am continuing to expand my knowledge of his material, as I see his work to be a unique perspective on queer culture in the last century.

A few months later I was standing in a warm marquee, that honestly looked ready for a wedding, to take the last step on my university journey and graduate with an upper second-class honours degree. For all of the ceremony and inspirational speeches, this was truly a bittersweet moment. The area had become my home and the centre of my universe. So many memories had been made, people had become acquainted with and more, goals had been reached. Education had been my sole aim since I was 4 years old and here I was making the jump into the unknown, feeling as though I had been wrapped in porcelain my whole life.

The months following my graduation were honestly a struggle. I felt ill-prepared for the brutal nature of applying for jobs. Numerous personalised CVs and personal statements were issued out but replies were sparse, successes even more rare. My confidence plummeted as a result, feeling as though I was lacking in crucial skills and experience that would stand out to a potential employer. The enormity of the task in front of me was becoming ever more real and not even the supportive words and tough love of those close to me could pull me out of my rut. The lack of a goal post-university had left a large hole in my life.

Still, I carried on applying for jobs, more in desperation than actual hope. I was in need of money, experience and, most of all, something stimulating and productive I could focus all of my efforts into. Nearly three months after graduating, there was a bit of light in the shape of a job offer for a temporary position in a department store. Sometimes, even a small thing can lift you up. Through working at the department store, I gained my confidence and self-belief back and have been saving up for training courses and skills that would bolster the appeal of my CV to an employer in the media sector.

Reflecting on everything that happened in 2017 in my life, both good and bad, gave me belief that I am starting to build myself up again after temporarily losing my drive after university. I have big dreams for my life and my goals for this year will help me to take small but meaningful steps towards those dreams. No matter how bad things were getting, that faint hope of a dream kept pushing me forwards and that will continue to motivate me in 2018. This blog is no exception and I will continue to release new material in the year ahead.

I hope that all of you have a brilliant year where you manage to achieve the goals you have set out for yourselves. Bring on 2018!

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