The Edinburgh community and me
Connecting with other alumni, accessing online libraries, using the careers service - some recent graduates tell us how they've navigated the past year with the support and resources that come with being part of the University of Edinburgh community.
Michael is an Economics graduate and is currently finishing his master's in London. He's keeping his career goal of working in International Development on track by connecting with fellow graduates already working in that field.
Constantly living in uncertainty has been difficult, particularly when a large share of my career goals involve gaining work experience abroad. The pandemic actually motivated me to bring my master’s degree forward by one year when I had initially planned to complete it after a year of work experience.
I've been using Platform One regularly and this has been great for building relationships with other alumni, many of whom were in my position not so long ago. It is very reassuring to hear their experiences and I know that they can provide great advice and guidance during my pursuit of my career goals. Maintaining these relationships and also connections to Edinburgh gives me a great sense of community and I want to be an even more active member of it when I settle in my own career.
To help realise her dream of becoming an educational psychologist, Nicole came to Edinburgh to complete an MSc in Inclusive Education. Now back in her native Malta, she's still using the University's digital resources as she embarks on her full-time dream career.
As soon as I returned to working after my studies in Edinburgh, I had to quarantine again for two weeks, the timing was horrible- I had just finished working on my dissertation, hadn’t been meeting my friends much because of my dissertation, and just got back to work and had to tell them that I needed to quarantine, which I felt pretty guilty about. Even though I thought I'd find it really hard to get through, it turned into the perfect break between my year of studies and returning to work. I read, relaxed, caught up on series, listened to music and found time to really reflect and de-stress!
As cheesy as it sounds, I’m really proud of myself for managing to cope and get through the rest of 2020 and beginning of 2021, as well as for using all my newly learned knowledge and skills to my advantage at work and in my everyday life too. Being part of the Edinburgh community has allowed me to continue accessing research papers, articles, books etc, which have been greatly beneficial to me this past year.
There was a point where I questioned why I didn’t just quit my job and travel the world but when I stopped and thought about all my life choices, I realised that this was just me reacting to the overwhelming emotions that Covid-19 brought up. I say, don't let self-doubt and fear control you - believe in yourself!
Originally from Iraqi Kurdistan, Barav came to Edinburgh to study International Relations. Immediately enamoured with the city, he credits his time as a student with revealing a better, more ambitious version of himself. He has now taken this positivity back home as he embarks on a career in local government, and still feels connected to the University community through Platform One.
The University of Edinburgh was like a portal to an extraordinary version of myself. Coming out of there was an ambitious, well-equipped person with the knowledge to help make a change in the world, and with the constant desire to be a better version of myself in all aspects of life.
The Edinburgh community of alumni, students and staff inspires this in me, too. It's nothing but supportive. I joined Platform One, which is kind of like the University's own social network. You can message people working in certain careers, ask for one-to-one support - that kind of thing. It's brilliant and can connect you to people you don't know but who have shared a very similar experience to yourself.
Emma has been using the confidence she built up while studying at Edinburgh to take part in some worthwhile volunteering activities during her first year as a graduate:
I've been in the lucky position to be able to live at home and consider my options without rushing into a job that may not be right for me. In the meantime, doing voluntary work for SolidariTee (a student led charity offering grants to refugee legal aid clinics), and The Ampersand Project (a social enterprise working to improve the mental health of young people in Scotland) is allowing me to enact change while earning money as a nanny.
Alfio graduated in Economics and relocated to London. Here he tells us about why he then joined the University's London Alumni Network.
After moving to London I really missed the connection to Scotland that I felt through the University and all those cultural and social opportunities that I mentioned. I found out about the London Alumni Network. It's a well established group of Edinburgh alumni based in London who organise events, panel discussions and social occasions with the aim of connecting alumni to each other and creating a strong support network for Edinburgh graduates who have moved to London.
"The network is a wonderful group of people who come from several backgrounds. I've found it to be a really helpful way to meet new people, discuss career development and really make even more use of my status as an Edinburgh graduate. Throughout the lockdowns we still planned online events, including a virtual pub quiz, and we're developing more ideas for activities in partnership with the Scottish museums.
"Moving to a new city can be challenging but the London Alumni Network is a group that I have been able to rely on. If you have recently relocated or are planning to, wherever in the world, I would recommend looking for a local Edinburgh alumni network - or even think about starting your own!