Welcome to our newest alumni

Opportunities, obstacles... and Bake Off

In his own words, Andrew Lin (Chinese and History, 2020) was born between two cultures and is living between two continents. He has a passion for adventure and challenges, and tells us how he's faced the challenge of being a new graduate in 2020 through resourcefulness and keeping up with the University community.

Andrew Lin
Andrew Lin

It’s hard to pinpoint a definitive moment for me when I stepped from university into the outside world as I never had a graduation ceremony. In fact during this period of protracted Covid restrictions, I would say everything feels like its been in a suspended state of animation since March.

Initially I felt relief - relief that I wouldn’t have to join the London rat-race; relief that I had managed to finish my coursework and exams despite the library closing and classes being cancelled; relief that I could take a breather after 17 years of full-time education, especially as I had the added pressure of working as a resident assistant in the University's halls of residence throughout lockdown.

Since then, there’s been a pervasive sense of malaise and anxiety that has grown as the pandemic worsened and unemployment skyrocketed in the autumn. After enjoying the summer sun, the hard, practical questions about earning a living have started to weigh in. I’m not one to lament my own situation, but it is the inability to crack on in life despite my own best efforts that is getting increasingly frustrating.

Ship shape

I’m at home on Universal Credit. I have used the Careers Service a lot for the last few months, and they’ve been really helpful with getting me ship shape for the job market. I’ve sent out dozens of job applications, primarily aimed at graduate level positions or training schemes, and it’s been heartening that I have so far been accepted for 3 interviews and an assessment centre.

Keeping up with the University community has helped too. I joined Platform One, the online network, because I’ve come to realise that there’s more than one way to get into a career. Speaking with people, spotting opportunities, and simply putting yourself out there has helped me better understand the jobs market and how to get my foot in the door. Graduate schemes are great, but they’re not for everyone, and there’s no problem with feeling that way.

For me being part of the Edinburgh community is all about gathering intelligence and building a better picture of the sorts of opportunities and careers paths that are available. Edinburgh graduates are talented people, so they’re great for gaining insight about their successes in their chosen career if and when you reach out to them. My alumni mentor, Betty, who is currently in the Civil Service, has given me invaluable insights and coaching which I wouldn’t have been able to get elsewhere.

Who I am

Looking forward I’d like a role that uses the skills I learned from my degree and gives me a strong sense of purpose. I have mainly focused on public sector jobs as I am most interested in them, but I have also applied to some private sector grad schemes that I have found interesting.

International travel is currently limited of course, but I’d like my role to encompass an international dimension too. I was born in Taiwan to Scottish and Taiwanese parents, grew up in the South of England, just finished my university education in Scotland studying a modern foreign language, and spent my exchange year at Peking University in China - so that fits well with who I am.

We also asked Andrew to tell us what has helped him navigate the challenges of 2020:

Staying fit and eating well:  Not being able to access the University’s gym and sports clubs has been a challenge, but I got a LesMills On Demand subscription on discount through the Sports Union which has been great for losing weight and getting fit. Admittedly, this has been somewhat thwarted by my enthusiasm for baking during Bake Off season!

Gathering intelligence: I'm spending time building a better picture of the sorts of opportunities and careers paths that are available.

My careers adviser: Rebecca from the University's Careers Service has been a great help to me this year, prepping me for job hunting.

My dad: He puts a roof over my head!

Platform One

You can find Andrew and other fellow graduates on Platform One, our online meeting place for University of Edinburgh people:

Log-in to Platform One

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