Imogen quickly found a job in London after graduation, but after realising that office life in was not for her, she has now chosen a new path – teaching.
|Year of Graduation||2015|
Why did you choose the University of Edinburgh?
I chose Edinburgh because I fell in love with the city. The fact that it was a leading Russell Group University was of course a major bonus but I just loved the idea of living and studying in such a beautiful place. Like many, obtaining my place at Edinburgh was not easy and I started my first year quite overwhelmed by the number of confident and intelligent people I was joining in lectures and tutorials. I made some great friends in first year, and began to hit more of a stride. By second year I had branched out to sports clubs and working with charities. I didn’t know that by participating in societies in second year I would later take on roles within the committees of the History Society and a charity called Mary's Meals.
Being engaged with sports teams and societies really shaped the last two years of my time at Edinburgh. A notable experience would have to be hitchhiking from Edinburgh to London to raise money for Mary's Meals. My friend Francesca and I will always remember the dodgy petrol stations, isolated towns and lovely people we met along the way during that event. Equally the time I spent as captain of the History Netball Team is filled with fond memories, from big nights out to winning matches, and lifelong friendships.
I was involved in a lot of the above because it was fun and it was what I enjoyed but what I have learnt since is that these experiences are what shape you and are what people, including employers, will ask and pick up on when they meet you. I worked part time jobs throughout my time at university including an August working the Fringe Festival with EUSA, which I would highly recommend anyone to do, but overall it's the time I spent with friends outside of lectures that really made my university experience so memorable.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
Currently I am about the start the second and final year of the Teach First Graduate Scheme, teaching science in a secondary school in Essex. (Although I studied history, I have three science A-levels, and the Teach First scheme has a focus on recruiting STEM teachers).
However, a little over a year ago I was living in London and working in a UK start-up in an office in Westminster.
When I graduated, I panicked. I panicked because I had previously turned down an offer to join the Teach First scheme and the thought of being idle and not having anywhere to be terrified me. I threw myself into interviews and within four weeks of graduating I had accepted an offer to work for a small private tuition company and had moved to London.
I wanted to be independent and I wanted a job. However, I made these choices so quickly I did not consider what would happen if things did not work out. Evidently the role I had taken within this new company was not a graduate position and my experience at work deteriorated after the first few months. I found London quite isolating as a city and it was also very expensive. At the end of my six-month probation period, I ended my time at the tuition company.
Subsequently I re-applied for the Teach First Graduate Scheme as a science teacher and was offered a place in their 2016 cohort. I had learnt through my short time in London that I wanted to be valued in the job that I do and I want a challenge that will push me and develop me in new ways, and an administrative job in London was not going to give me that. I do not regret going to London because even though it was hard I learnt so much and it put me in a far better position to take on something like teaching.
Believe that things will work out for the best and they most likely will.
Graduating is an emotional and physically draining experience. You will likely be leaving friends behind, moving away from somewhere that has been home for more than four years, and possibly having to reintegrate with family. I certainly felt like I was losing some of my independence and the community that we all build at university. I therefore rushed into a job and a new city because of the pressure I put on myself to try and get that back. This will work for some, but certainly not everyone. My advice to many would be to be patient, take your time adjusting to life after university and choosing a job that you really want to do. Lots of recent graduates keep their part time work while they are job-hunting for months after they graduate and in my experience these are usually the most relaxed and happy of all graduates, especially when they eventually land a job they really want. You do not have to have a master plan: believe that things will work out for the best and they most likely will.