Saturday, 15 September 2018

Post-grad life - am I doing it right!?

It’s coming up for 4 years ago that I graduated from the University of Winchester with a pretty sweet 2:1 in Drama and Creative Writing BA. It was October 14th 2014 when I got to walk up onstage to collect my certificate in that beautiful cathedral, then walk out of the big red doors to crowds of smiling friends while a funky band played. It was gloriously cheesy, and I really felt the enormity of the achievement, that day – so much so that I burst into tears several times and hugged everyone in sight a little too hard. 

But… what have I achieved in these past 4 years? How have I used the degree that cost me over £10K!?

(I am so happy I was in the last year group that paid £3,500 per year, because geezz the interest is a killer 4 years on.)  


(Photo: Erin Veness)
(jumpsuit and earrings from JOY)


The biggest thing would definitely be the blog. I’ve kept this lovely little space of mine up and running since before uni, and it was while I was studying that I truly realised how beneficial it could be for my writing style(s), and how effective it could be at then getting my writing out into the world – it didn’t just have to be an online diary crammed with far too much info about cute boys I fancied and mean girls who picked on me. If you’d told me back then that someday it would be something I was recognised for, and got me all kinds of cool jobs, I’d have freaked OUT.

I’ve written for other websites too, such as Huffington Post and We’re All Mad Here – as well as JOY as part of a huge style collab recently, and Curvy Kate and Neon Moon, after modelling some of their latest lingerie collections. I was also the manager of the Scarlet Ladies blog, and was trusted to start up their (brilliant) Scarlet Ladies Talks To interview series, which was always fun to do. 

Another way I’ve drawn on my CW degree in these last few years would have to be the fictional projects I’ve worked on, and my knowledge of and interest in the publishing industry stemmed from the wonderful lecturer Ness’s talks about ‘what to do next’ that we all begged her for in third year. 


(Photo: Erin Veness)



Speaking of publishing, my book blogging definitely improved with half a Creative Writing degree under my belt (and this eventually made me realise I’d love to work in the book industry). I remember being so excited, sitting in lectures with a crowd of like-minded people who loved nothing more than a night in reading books and then having long discussions about them the following day over coffee, or in seminars.



I won’t lie, I also use my CW degree to back me up when I correct family members’ grammar or phrasing. No, really. I literally say ‘Creative Writing degree’ then sashay away when I’m done correcting Mama’s broken English (bless her, she’s an Aussie). 



I guess I could attribute some of my Social Media management skills to the degree too – and not just because I’d spend the odd lecture scrolling Tumblr when I got bored of Gothic fiction. Seriously, improvising Instagram captions and composing tweets takes a lot of effort sometimes, as does selecting the perfect photo or gif to promote a blog post or just make a particularly sassy point. Right!? 


(Photo: Erin Veness)



My Drama degree has been put to good use in the last few years, too. I’ve appeared in vlogs with friends and presented/acted in videos for folks such as The Mix and The Brain Tumour Charity. While I feel I come across better written down, not on film, I can’t deny I have always felt comfortable on a stage or in front of a camera and it can be fun to do when I need a break from sitting on the sofa staring at Word docs.



Then of course the two sides of my BA have come together in some areas, like the theatre reviews I do for companies both locally and in London, and book events I’ve hosted with authors in Waterstones. I remember people always joking that my combined honours meant I’d someday write tragic plays or run table reads for sitcoms – but really, those aren’t the only ways Drama and Creative Writing can be combined.



I feel one of the biggest achievements that’s come from my degree would be being asked to return to my alma mater to lecture. I’ve led several seminars over the past couple of years in blogging and digital marketing for all year groups at my beloved Winch and while I’d never dream of going down the teaching route, I definitely enjoy lecturing, if only because I feel I can be me, talk about things I know really well and care about… and swear, and dress however I want.

I’ve also given a few speeches in the years since graduation, a couple of which were at my high school, others at events in London. It really is true what they say about Drama students being super employable, if only for our confidence in front of crowds (not so much for our tendency to fib, or keep you up all night). 

So, yeah, I guess I’ve done a fair bit with my degree in the past 4 years. It’s been a foundation I’ve been able to bounce off and build from, etc. etc. What’s funny though, is I wasn’t sure I’d made good use of those 3 years and £10K until I really broke down what I’ve been up to recently and read it back. I suppose you’d expect studying a Drama and Creative Writing BA would lead to book deals, freelance journo gigs and recurring roles in Eastenders or presenting Channel 4 documentaries – and anything less than that level of success seems like a failure. But really, 4 years is just starting time, and who’s to say what ‘success’ even is?

How do you feel about your degree – or degrees in general? Are they useful? Have you done anything with yours? Comment or tweet me plz, I love hearing stories about this kind of thing. No joke, I have a friend who did a degree in Economics and Politics and now works as a skydiving instructor – another did a BA in Film Studies and now works as a professional baker/froster at Cupcake Berlin, doing translation on the side. It’s pretty cool where life itself can take you, not just your degree… 


4 comments

  1. Love this post. Recently I have been in a pool of fear about graduating this upcoming year. Hope you are having a lovely post grad day :)

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    1. Thanks, my love. I know you're gonna smash post-grad life. x

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  2. I studied Architecture and from second year in knew I didn't want to be an Architect. But the fees of my degree already at £18k+ I continued with my degree thinking about what other options I had in my life. My university gave me no other options in what to do with my career other than becoming a writer focusing on Architecture... Which my heart wasn't set on. I thought a lot about becoming an Arts Administrator.. but didnt know where to start. I'm two years in since graduating, working as an Architect and volunteering continuously in Arts organisations I'm currently working at the Southbank Centre (in the property department)(my degree got me somewhere) and I'm working at the largest Arts centre in Europe!

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    1. Oh wow, Sarah. I totally get that - I had so many friends who switched courses or dropped out mid-uni, because they weren't sure of the direction they were going in. It sounds like you have a kick ass job now, though! xo

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