The Graduate: One year on

A year ago, I became an English Language and Spanish graduate from Bangor University. Fun story by Stephanie Clayton, aged 23 and 3/4. No but seriously, I spent four years preparing for this day (not physically- although if you’re wearing fake tan then preparing a few days before is key. Last minute tan+rain=disaster.) Anyway, let’s move on from the fact that I graduated with streaky legs. I think the reason that this day is built up so much is because the future is supposed to be so bright after this day. You’ll be able to walk into any job you want and actually be paid enough to actually start paying off your student loan because you’re a graduate. 

The reality is somewhat different. For me, my degree doesn’t naturally lead into a specific career apart from teaching or translation. I have no interest in translation and at the time, becoming a teacher seemed too daunting. I spent a lot of my degree believing I wanted to become a speech therapist but I became unsure about this as I decided, after presenting my work at a conference, that I wanted to be a lecturer instead. So as you can see, I was somewhat confused. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your stance), I had a baby around 9 weeks after graduating so I had some buying time.

It was during this time that I toyed with training to become a teacher but I heard so many stories about how much time it takes up/ how hard the workload is/ how many teachers quit/ more paperwork than teaching etc. I also don’t agree with how languages are taught in schools. I would rather teach a student how to speak the language than how to pass a language exam. Like I’m sure you’re new Spanish friend will be thrilled to hear you play tennis four times a week.

So instead, to buy time before doing a masters, I went back to the pub I worked in. Mostly because my maternity leave was about to halve if I didn’t but that’s not the point. I felt like returning made me a failure because I wasn’t going into a ‘graduate job’. I never planned for my dream career to change and it’s hard to accept this when you have been working towards something else for so long. But dreams change. Circumstances change and being at the pub, which has bought me so much happiness (I wouldn’t have my baby or half the friends I have without this place) isn’t the worst choice to make after all. I’m in a job that makes me happy and pays all my bills until I get to my dream career of becoming a lecturer.

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