Student Careerists

So I haven’t written in an AWFULLY long time and I decided to write this as it really resonates with a post I did before I went to university about  ambition and find what you love and do it, but upon embarking into the city of success, London (or not so much) I truly had these feelings. That there was opportunity abound and it was for everyone.

I’m fast approaching the final throes of University in my penultimate semester of my politics degree. This brings to mind many emotions. I’ll list a few

Petrified, nauseous, anxious, sad, confused.

Now, one would expect I would feel excited and thrilled at the prospect of entering “the real world”, about not being bound to the drudgery of the education system and so on. However, at this moment in time I can link none of these emotions to the event of finishing University. I say this not because of the fond memories, awesome parties and overdraft without responsibility but instead the prospect of struggling (as everyone but the lucky few has to, I appreciate that) for employment and the cessation of constant learning, which has been amazing in itself. However, instead of these emotions of elation I’m feeling crushed and suffocated by the expectations of how established we are supposed to already be for the working world and the meagre age of 21. This is in terms of Internships, financial considerations for further education, and not to mention examples of our leadership abilities, ability to cope under pressure, name a situation when you’ve led a group of people out of a burning building… and these are only a few of the questions you’ll be expected to answer in an interview for a pretty basic Intern scheme anywhere in London, by the way! Employers must know you’ve been test run.

One can accuse me of being bitter, so be it, but I am not. I’ve done my fair share of volunteering, interning and hard work, but I can’t help but feel the standard we are expected be at right now is dizzying. And how much clout should these menial positions we scramble over each other to get REALLY hold? An individual with promise no longer can truly envisage a future with promise and although there is the age-old claim that if you work hard enough, you will achieve what you want, the fact of the matter is there isn’t the quantity of Internships and opportunities to match the quantity of individuals with promise, and without this how an earth do you display in an interview, likely to be for another unpaid position, that you have been tried and tested to do administrative tasks in an office, regardless of the fact the education system is likely to have given us these much sought after competencies already. Our very social interactions, membership in clubs and abilities to pursue hobbies and finish a degree, as I had previously been mistaken about, hold some weight but nowhere near what is expected. Internships are very much a privilege in themselves, in the sense of having that extra experience somehow already to obtain them, and the financial stability to sustain yourself working in an unpaid capacity, as most of them usually warrant as a prerequisite as a result of being largely unpaid. But so long as students agree to fill these positions, there will be no incentive for companies or organisations to finance their student office lackeys, often working hours outlined as voluntary but with a covert expectation that you match the working week of any of their paid employees both in work load and hours for fear of not getting that gleaming gold dust reference.

For one who is a go-getter, it is difficult to summon an image right now of the getting aspect, as I have struggled all summer to update my work experience through numerous interviews for non-paid charitable positions and having little success. Instead I worked 45 hour weeks in a restaurant just to stay in London on the off chance something may come up, and while I recognise this was my choice the pressure I felt to stay and compete incessantly was overwhelming. Furthermore, I was often applying for positions I had no real passion for, which I fear will result in a generation of young people doing jobs “just because” for fear of not remaining competitive. Jobs and Internships are means to ends, but how much is expected before these ends materialise. Of course the world is not easy, but passion has been largely eradicated from the graduate world. The mantra of get by, keep your head down and eventually…just maybe…you’ll find a position which brings you actual joy. Get that CV gleaming young 20 something. You can play later.

More importantly, while we are all racing and striving, being involved in anything from voluntary organisations in leadership positions or student publishing outlets, there is a joy of being involved and knowing it MAY add to your employability (who even knows what the criteria is for valuable experience now), but also a sense of lost fleeting youth for an undoubtable existing proportion who are just…scared? You should love your job, but should a job be all you are and your whole life a culmination of making that job happen. I know few who are involved in straining volunteer roles with an actual  job in mind of which they see as their absolute life vocation which is worth blood, sweat and tears. For those who don’t know what they want in life really, nor see a definite path for themselves, it’s a dualism of am I doing this to keep options open, or am I contributing a sizeable proportion of my time to creating a means to an end for myself and in the process perhaps missing out on being young.

These are the student careerists, and there is no resentment or criticism of them, but a pause for thought that the expectations of “The Panel” has created a generation fixated on achievement without real aim, essentially a generational loss of passion in some instances. I may be missing a large part of the picture, and I’m sure someone will correct me if I am, but how much would you give for someone to tell you you’re enough?

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Breakfast with Audrey

A modern take on the beautiful timeless icon that is Audrey Hepburn..

 

SHIRT:URBAN OUTFITTERS                                                                                                   SKIRT:TOPSHOP

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COAT: JONES+JONES..

AND NEXT ON MY SHOPPING LIST!! <3

 

 

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THE DRESS!..

                                                      DRESS: HOUSE OF FRASER

 

COLLAR: RIVER ISLAND

 

LOVE NICOLE X.

p.s I know the formatting on this is ridiculously bad, but bear with me ‘cos I have 3 A-levels next week!

 

 

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It isn’t easy being me.

No I don’t live in a war zone, a famine stricken third world town or small dung hut on stilts over a river of malnourished crocodiles- but I feel really sorry for myself. In the words of a wise teacher, who fancied himself as a bit of a stand-up comedian, ” Let’s not have a pity party!”  But that’s exactly what I find myself doing so often. I have had a really lucky life I guess. I screwed up my younger years pursuing my teenage “sweet heart” (HA!) and still managed to come out with decent GCSEs. I realised I actually wasn’t as thick as I was perceived by some people. So, I decided to stay in school and did pretty well from there on!  AND..  As much as I will thank the education system in years to come for the great graduate job I may or may not have,I feel like my later childhood/teenage years have been snatched away from me.

So we start career planning in first year. Aged 11. Isn’t this just a little bit after we stop the replies of ” I want to be a princess/camel/popstar.” Mild exaggeration. But what I’m trying to say is that we’re made to look to the future from such a young age! It’s madness. Couldn’t we have retained a little bit of our blissful ignorance until our GCSE years?

And even now I feel as unsure as ever about what I want to do with my life. This absolutely GRIM economic climate has meant that it’s all about picking a job that’s in demand etc. Whatever happened to the good old, do something you love and work hard, then you’ll get a job? See, initially I had wanted to do something really creative such as… English and er, creative writing. I could well have done this. However, at every corner I’m being told that graduate prospects are poor, you won’t have a job, how will you feed your 17 children! Furthermore, Repossession on your house, no banged up Nissan Micra, no tesco value beans. LIVING ON THE STREETS! And before anyone feels I’m being insensitive, If that has happened to someone I am DEEPLY sorry, but what I am trying to say is that generalisations like this are ridiculous.

Odds are if you like something and are good at it, you will find your way in the world.. We can hope. I am now hoping to do a degree in politics. I do love politics and it was a sturdy choice for me to make. I can see myself finding a job I like from it.  BUT..*cue for a long list of what ifs*

I always wonder what would have happened if I had left post-GCSEs, as I had intended on doing, to take a course in Fashion and textiles. I’m sure I would have had a great time, and as much as I feel I made the right choice, I wonder if those careers advisors and pesky newspaper statistics would have been right in damning me to a life of poverty and no prospects, unless I am absolutely outstanding and basically the next Stella McCartney. Just because I don’t want to do law, or medicine, engineering etc, does not mean I am not going to do anything with my life. The world needs lots of different workers in different fields. We’ll always need bin men, postmen, nurses.. but we’ll always want the artsy types, too. Imagine a world without artists, or writers and journalists, musicians etc. Would be a pretty bleak place!

But yeah, I guess what I’m annoyed about is the fact I have to choose RIGHT NOW the moves that will determine the rest of my life. I can’t even choose between Deli sandwiches in McDonald’s without a certain degree of deep and intense thought. My mind changes A LOT and it probably will for a long time. Problem is that now changing your mind is an expensive activity. I’m sure a lot of people my age do feel like this. Pushed into a corner and trapped. It’s good to have direction, it’s just scary how quickly it all happens!

Now, I am going to take on the role of an elderly woman and say that I really hope things will be so much different for my children. They may have a nutter of a mother but I will always push them to take the route of what they love over what is construed as sensible. And if I forget this, someone send me this blogpost when I’m forcing them to revise 10 hours a day for a place in Oxford!

Love and good luck,

Nicole.

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In case you didn’t know.. I’m ginger.

Okay. So upon typing “ginger” into the Facebook search box here’s a few links that come up.

“Always be yourself. Unless you’re ginger, then be someone else.”

“Not paying child support because your kid’s a ginger.”

I’m not taking all these kind of groups thick, but when is the world going to get over their infantile view of a hair colour? I can take a joke, but I find it genuinely laughable when the only type of insult someone can yell at me is “Oi, Ginger!” Has no one noticed that this has basically been the YEAR of the red heads? Here’s a few to name.

Here’s Emma Stone for one who is absolutely rocking the Red Head look despite being a natural blonde. Might I also add she was voted sexiest actress of 2011 by Victoria’s Secret.

Another one. Nicola Roberts, after ditching the fake tan and going all out pale, has catapulted into a maybe not thriving, but a “getting there”, solo career in addition to launching a gorgeous new make up range “dainty doll” for fair skinned girls. She is quickly transforming into a prominent “Belle” of the fashion world, accumulating chums such as Henry Holland and the likes, AND absolutely bombing every glitzy event she attends.

Last but DEFINITELY not least is my absolute idol. For every aspiring ginger fashionista (hate that word but nevermind) there is no one else more worthy to look to than Miss Florence Welch. If you are looking for unique style indulged in vintage hedonism, with lace, velvet and every other risky fabric combination in one, but nonetheless a style that just WORKS, look no further than this fiery haired songstress. I’m getting carried away with it here but she is the reason I haven’t given in to the taunts of nasty 12 year old’s calling me all sorts that rhyme with “ginge” (really where do they learn this nowadays?) and dyed my hair.  Most recent Muse to the man himself Karl Lagerfeld, she is one-of-a-kind, and the ideal figure head for all GINGERS alike.

So for anyone who does get a lot of agro for being ginger, two fingers in the air to them my chums! You have the best hair colour out and don’t you forget it. When all your friends have gone grey, the odds are that you’ll have clung onto your precious colourful locks for a few years longer, and they’ll be going to the hairdressers to try and find a shade of auburn to cover their greys!

Love Nicole X.

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