The future's bright: how to manage your time
After a difficult few years at university, all I hoped was that things would get better when I finished. I was going to get what I had longed for during all those nights spent writing essays alone in my room: I was going home! But left emotionally, physically and intellectually exhausted it was going to take longer than I expected to feel better, while friends at university were still wrapped up in moving house, travelling around Europe and taking plays to the Edinburgh Fringe.
What university hadn’t prepared me for was the intense pressure to compete, and my own nagging determination to do something with that degree I’d worked so hard for. I got a part-time job in retail but I was shocked by how much was expected: heavy lifting and perfect customer service with one break which barely allowed me to eat enough to keep me going during the day. I’ve finally decided to take the pressure off, and make use of the last of my student loan to have a proper rest and rediscover activities I’d forgotten, like reading for pleasure, cooking, lying out in the garden, going out with friends.
The first thing I have realised is not to neglect your social life. Most people still get a ‘leg-up’ onto the career ladder via someone they know. The second is that it’s OK to spend time doing things you enjoy. There is more to life than work, and faced with so much competition for jobs it is even more important to be true to your ambitions, individual interests and talents.
So often when I look for jobs I can tick the boxes until it comes to that special requirement for fluent Italian, sporting ability or a proven interest in sculpture. This is what makes them right for only a few people and I’m confident that the right role is going to come up for me too…or maybe a few wrong ones that will allow me find out more about myself while building up a lot of useful experience.
I have to be honest about how much energy and drive a demanding job will take. Whereas I would like to work in the performance industry, this requires complete dedication (not to mention very long hours for very little pay!). I simply don’t have the mental resources to do that right now. I hope with time I will be back to my old self, ready to take on any challenge that is thrown at me. As long as I stay truthful to who I am and what I really want, I know it will be ok.