In two weeks time it will be a year since I turned 23 and sat sobbing in a pub, having cracked under the months of degree and life related pressure. I felt fragile, weak and ashamed at such a public display of emotion. But for me it was reaching boiling point; having worked incredibly hard for three years and sensing the end of something I was so emotionally and intellectually invested in. It all paid off: I managed to receive a First Class Honours degree, something which was, and still is, such a massive personal achievement. In the end the sad little tears which rained on my birthday were ultimately worth it.
Having finished my degree I rushed to find a job – any job – which would allow me to continue living my dream in London. I luckily found a job in retail pretty quickly, although not my ideal area of work, it was something which would allow me to live in London whilst continuing to try and achieve my career goals and fulfil my aspirations.
Nearly a year on and I’m still, frustratingly, in the same place. I still work in retail, and whilst it pays relatively well for the job that I’m doing, it’s still not enough to realistically – in the long term – live in London. The longer this persists, the more my confidence in my ability to succeed continues to fall. I know I’m not stupid, but I can feel any intelligence that I did have crumbling away. I don’t feel as capable or as knowledgeable as I did whilst studying for my degree. Just the other day a customer didn’t want to “deal with me” as I was “just a shop assistant” and although I know there’s nothing wrong with being shop assistant, it was still somewhat demoralising.
My search for a more degree related job has been consistently rumbling in the background, now and again coming forward whilst I apply for possible new jobs. It’s a lengthy and sometimes, tedious, process. But it’s one which I hope will eventually pay off.
Writing this blog post is something I’ve been putting off for months on end. I haven’t written properly since my degree and the thought of tapping out words and posting them for all to see is slightly anxiety provoking. But I feel ready; I’m finding my feet and using them to run for the first time in a year. I want to succeed and I want to feel a sense of pride. This feels like the first refreshing step.