University: University of Portsmouth
Degree: Media Studies
Why did you choose this degree?
Why did you want to go to university?
I’ve always had a passion for the media and communication. My A-level in Communication Studies developed this further and cemented my reasoning to continue finding out about how the media works, who is involved and how things go from an idea to output. It combined theory with practical items and enabled me to gain a job in marketing and communications, along with many work placements on commercial magazines.
At the time it was the next natural step but I wanted to do something more vocational than academic as I’m a creative. The idea of a 9-5 didn’t appeal when I finished my exams and I felt that the media and peers, family and tutors encouraged me to aim to go to university as it would give me a better career in what I wanted to do.
Are you glad you went? Why?
Yes, it was the best decision I made as I’ve had so many amazing opportunities through it. This included editing my university’s magazine, Pugwash, for two consecutive years, during which I was awarded twice for my commitment. I also made some amazing friends and have learnt and developed so many skills for my working life.
When you were at university, what did you want to do as a career? Did that happen?
I wanted to go into magazine journalism. It happened through work experience but it’s not what my job is at the moment. It’s the wrong time to start a career in that industry because everything is going online.
How did you go about getting the job you have now?
I looked on my university careers website and saw it. It was for a schools liaison officer and involved pr, marketing and most of all copywriting. This is why I thought it would be perfect as it’s more varied that being sat in an office writing stories. I get to go to schools and help young people develop and encourage them to further their education. It is so rewarding, yet challenging and I’m always doing different things.
Tell us a little bit about your experiences getting a career.
I kept looking on graduate websites, my uni careers website and websites relating to journalism jobs. I kept writing articles in case anyone wanted to see a portfolio and gained advice about applications from lecturers and careers advisers. Talk to anyone you know in the industry and keep in touch. I’d been offered two lots of paid work in mags/online since I got this job so sometimes the timing can be sod’s law but I wouldn’t change where I am now for anything.
What do you do at the moment?
I work in a college as a Schools Liaison Officer.
If you could do it all again, is there anything you would do differently? What would you tell your 18 – 21 yr old self?
To have got better A-level results so I would have got on media the first time I applied. It would have saved me the hassle of doing an A2 after work.
What advice would you give other students / graduates?
Never give up. It’s easy to say that but it’s only with sheer determination and drive that I am where I am today. I didn’t get a job I really wanted and the one I’m in now I didn’t expect to get an interview for. When the time is right something will happen. Keep plugging away and depending on the industry you want to get into, practice, practice, practice. I went to any networking event I could, set up a blog and website to showcase my work and did as much voluntary stuff I could at uni as it was free and gave me loads of experience.