Life after University: DON’T PANIC!

Ryan, an English and History student, tells us how he has come to realise that answering the question of what he is going to do with his life will take time ….

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As an English & History student in the early stages of my second year the time has come for me to confront the inescapable question that all students will have to address: “What do I want to do after I finish university?” This question is rather daunting for someone who is still coming to terms with the mystifying process of ironing. My first act was to make a list of the things that I truly enjoy: English and history (obviously), politics, music, Leadmill on a Monday and Friday, and playing FIFA. It became immediately apparent that the last two were probably not the ideal basis for finding a future career so they were put to one side.

One idea that has been floating around is to go into secondary teaching, specifically history. The Routes into Teaching event on the 6th October seemed like the perfect way for me to clarify my position on going into teaching. It started off well enough as I spoke to an English teacher from the Sheffield area who talked me through the PGCE Secondary English and PGCE History courses. Great, I thought, this is exactly what I need to know to help me decide if teaching is for me. However, the event hastily became a free-for-all of information as leaflets and jargon-filled persuasive speeches were thrust towards my ‘deer in the headlights’ person. I left the event overwhelmed and somewhat flustered, with as many pages of information to fill a short novel.

To try and make some sense of all of this I arranged a meeting with Bob Freeborn, the Employment Advisor here at Sheffield Hallam. This is something that I would recommend to anyone who is unclear on their future after university. We discussed teaching generally and another potential career path, journalism. With this we formed a seven point ‘action plan’ on which to act upon until our next meeting. This plan contained ideas such as starting up a political blog, establishing links with local newspapers such as the Sheffield Star, and gaining classroom experience to expand my ideas on teaching. It’s amazing how useful a single piece of paper can be.

What I have taken from the past few weeks is that the question over what I will be doing in the future is not something that is going to be conquered overnight. It is something that needs to be approached methodically and with an open mind. The most significant lesson that I learnt is DON’T PANIC! There are several people around our university, like Bob Freeborn, who will help you with your worries about life after university and entering the ‘real world’.