Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Graduate to Grown-Up: Vicky

Vicky, age 34.
Studied Business Management at the University of Hull,
graduated in 2009. 

As a fresh faced graduate, what did you want to do?
I actually wasn't that fresh-faced, I don't think I ever was, as I didn't go to university until I was 21. I had originally been accepted to study law at the University of Leeds following my A Levels when I was 18. However, as the summer passed, I decided that university wasn't right for me at that time. I, therefore, got a job at the local council in the mail room and, over the next three years, I worked my way up into a position that at 21 I considered pretty good. A job came up in my department which meant a big pay rise and lots more responsibility; however, I needed a degree to even apply for it. It then dawned on me that every job above my pay grade required a degree. However, none of the jobs specified what degree.

As I wanted to progress I felt that I had to go to university and, by 21, I felt ready. As I had a job and had just bought my first house, there was no way I could go to university full time or out of town. Therefore I checked out the university of Hull's website to see what part time degrees they offered. I eventually decided on Business Management as it seemed like a degree that I could use for the job I wanted, and also for many others if I wanted a change in the future. As I had studied and enjoyed Business Studies at A Level, it seemed like the right choice for me.

I did defer a couple of modules during my degree as my mum passed away and it hit me hard. But I managed to get back on track and graduated in the summer of 2009, aged 26, with the rest of my class. Although I didn't actually go to my graduation as I couldn't get the time off work. 

I had my now husband, Chris, during the time I was at university and we were living together so there was no way I planned to move away. Instead, I waited patiently until a promotion came up at work. I applied and got it. 

What do you do now?
I am now a Senior Emergency Planning Officer. I write emergency plans for flooding, fires, terrorist attacks etc, and I really love my job. 

Has it been a smooth journey to get to that position?
Once I had my degree, yes it was. In fact, I have been promoted twice since I graduated. But I think that it mainly because I was in the department already. I imagine that after graduation it can be a struggle to get a job in the industry you want to work in with so many graduates vying for the same positions.

What's been the biggest lesson and the biggest regret?
A big lesson for me was learning how to juggle my time, working full time and studying for a degree. It was hard work but I think that it helped my time management skills a lot, and maybe that's why I manage to work full time and run a blog now. Sometimes I regret not going to university full time when I was 18 and living the true student lifestyle. However, I know deep down I just wasn't ready. I didn't have the motivation and I know I wouldn't have tried my hardest and probably ended up regretting my time there. I was also lucky that at 21 I was considered a mature student(!) and, because I didn't earn that much, my university place was funded by the government, meaning I left university without any debt. I don't think the scheme exists any more, and for the opportunity I was given, I feel very lucky. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time?
That's a tough one. As a travel blogger - maybe travelling the world full time with my husband in tow. Maybe a stay at home mum with a couple of kids and dogs, or maybe still doing what I'm doing. It's not that I don't have hopes and aspirations, it's just that I'm happy doing what I'm doing now, and having worked hard to get here, I'm going to try and enjoy it for as long as possible. 

Do you have any advice to someone struggling through their twenties?
So much advice, but how much of it is good advice I don't really know. I loved my twenties, yes there were ups and downs but apart from losing my mum - the most inspirational woman ever, it was a pretty good decade. I worked hard and I certainly partied hard. My main advice is to learn to say yes, kiss the boy (or the girl), travel if you can, live your best life, take your make up off before you go to bed and remember tomorrow is another day. One mistake or mess up doesn't mean it's the end of the world, although it might feel like that at the time - I've certainly been there. Focus on what you want and strive for it, even if you don't get it just try your best because that's all you can do. Oh, and let your personality shine, it's something that can and will set you apart from the rest of the crowd. 

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