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AIBU to feel like a complete failure since graduating

(53 Posts)
guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 18:34:19

I graduated from uni in June 2011 and ever since then feel completely lost. My degree was my focus and I gave it my all and graduated with a first. However, I studied the wrong subject- a creative one. I realised I do not want to go into that industry and I didn't have any luck when applying for jobs anyway.

Since graduating I have been changing my mind on a monthly basis about what to do with my life, I am on a masters doing something I would like to work in but the job prospects are utterly miserable (if I google 'job vacancies' in this area not a single one comes up for the UK, very specialist). The MA is 3 years long, I'm about 7 months in and although it is interesting, I just don't think the opportunities are there.

I am working in a very low paid position, term time only so have barely any money. I still live at home, have a young dc with no chance of moving out. I have an interview for a pgce coming up, but highly doubt I will get on as it's at a very competitive uni but the only one I can get to. I don't even know if I want to teach, it just seems like the only option. I have also been thinking a lot about a degree in nursing, but that's another 3 years of studying and I have a dc to support.

I'm so bitter than I have worked so hard but made all the wrong choices, I wish I'd studied something more academic. Everywhere I look I see people my age in good positions getting decent wages and I am so jealous.

complexnumber Wed 21-Nov-12 19:55:09

You are 23, and it's all about you... (that's very normal, I was the same)

You can google all the other info you need about nursing etc.

Becoming a nurse is a HUGE decision, and will imact upon every detail of your life. (That is if my mum's working career is typical)

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 19:56:30

I have an A-level in French (was doing it at uni until I became pregnant, only got a few months into the course), I'm not sure if the A level alone would allow me to specialise in a MFL PGCE but I know there is a 20K bursary for it. Any one know?

scottishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:00:40

congratulations on your academic achievements
art therapy career has dreadful prospects, jobs hard to obtain,too may grads.but the career prospects in art therapy are v poor

and psychotherapy long,costly and independently funded
if you want to use art as a medium why not consider occupational therapy, they do art and craft groups as part of OT?Can do as a 2yr grad course.I know the OT training is broad and they work physical,mh, and local authority. The primary thing in ot isn't the art groups at all.but there is some opportunity to use art and craft

OT as a postgrad

Nursing as postgrad can be completed in 2 years

FantasticMax Wed 21-Nov-12 20:01:10

I feel for you as I was in a similar position and struggled to get anywhere with my BA degree. I ended up temping and managed to get my foot in the door of a fairly prestigious company. But it still took around 3 years of seriously hard graft and proving myself before I considered myself in a 'graduate' job with a respectable salary. What I do now is a million miles away from my degree though - but the money is good and I'm happy with how things turned out.

My advice would be to think long and hard of the merits of completing the masters - though I would possibly at least complete the year. It does sound very niche. What are your fellow students' plans after graduation? Think about what you really want and if further study is not an option, be prepared to work your way up from the bottom - it can be done.

Good luck.

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 20:05:57

For the OT training and Nursing post grad wouldn't my degree have to be health related?

scottishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:11:34

youd need to approch the individual uni,but not necessarily as they are conversion courses

what is important is understanding of what the respective jobs involve, visit depts and meet staff

obviously with nursing you'd need to chose specialism eg Adult, paeds, MH
OT is generic training you can specialise on qualification

obviously nursing would involve shifts and work public holidays

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 20:16:17

If I complete 1 more module of my MA, I think I'd then have a diploma in Art Therapy, so wouldn't be walking away empty handed and may make me more likely to get onto an accelerated health related course? I live in the North West of the country, which always seems to lack opportunities re courses. I guess half my problem is I don't even know where to start looking!

scottishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:19:12

so stop gurning on mn! google graduate coyrses in OT, Nursing
time to stop all the what ifs and put some graft into lookin for courses
chose a course with prospects and good luck

complexnumber Wed 21-Nov-12 20:22:14

I'm not sure if the A level alone would allow me to specialise in a MFL PGCE but I know there is a 20K bursary for it. Any one know

I would hate you if you made any decision about being a teacher based upon the bursary alone

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 20:23:08

I had a look on the NHS careers website and the only short course available anywhere near me is in midwifery confused

scottishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:26:14

go google.there are lots OT and nursing Post grads

scottishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:38:13
scottishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:41:44
guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 20:44:12

Thank you scottishmummy I will check these out!

scottishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:46:20

good luck you have considerable achievement already,just need a break
hope it works out
be realistic and know what these careers entail

dontcallmehon Wed 21-Nov-12 20:48:53

I was the same as you at a similar age. Went into teaching. Hated it. Ended up trapped for ten years! I have left now, thank God, but still only have a vague idea of what I want to do. Teaching is not a career to go into halfheartedly, particularly if you lack confidence.

AlexanderS Wed 21-Nov-12 20:52:07

No, you don't need a related degree for either OT or nursing postgrad.

You wouldn't be able to do an MFL PGCE with A level French, you need at least a Joint Honours either in the subject you want to teach or a closely related one (for example, I read on here about somebody who did an English PGCE with a degree in Journalism (and one Open University module in English)). But is teaching French what you really want to do i.e. can you say you have a love of French? It sounds like you are panicking a bit, and suffering from what somebody wise once called 'the tyranny of should'. You are thinking about all the things as a graduate with a first you "should" be doing rather than thinking about what you want to do.

You are enjoying your Masters. For that reason alone I would not give it up if I was you. Life is about more than just work and prospects. Also dropping out makes you feel like a loser (trust me, I know only too well - I've dropped out of three undergraduate courses) and doesn't look good on your CV regardless of what you on to do and whether or not it is connected to your course (you want to look like somebody who finishes what they start).

Just after I (finally) graduated somebody gave me some excellent advice. He said you have to get yourself established in a career within three years of finishing university. If you don't do it in that time you never will (unless you go back to uni and do further study). I have seen this to be the case amongst my friends and acquaintances. Before you panic even more, this means you have until three years after finishing your Masters to get yourself sorted so you have plenty of time.

I get that you are impatient to move out of your parents' house. I'm sure you will get a job as a primary school TA once you have got more experience under your belt through your voluntary placement (teaching assisting is surprisingly competitive) and hopefully that will allow you to decide whether or not teaching is for you as well as enabling you to move out of your parents' house.

Like other people have said, don't compare yourself to other people, that way only unhappiness lies! I watched all my friends leave university and get good jobs but that was because they'd all done vocational courses like law, education and social work, unlike me (I did politics). I figure I'll do a postgrad vocational qualification at some point and catch them up, just like you'll be able to once you've finished your Masters and worked out what you want to do.

splintersinmebum Wed 21-Nov-12 20:53:44

Are you in healthcare, Scottish mummy?

AlexanderS Wed 21-Nov-12 20:55:51

N.B. Some postgrad nursing courses are for nurses who are already qualified, like that short course in midwifery you found. Make sure you are looking at pre-registration courses.

AlexanderS Wed 21-Nov-12 20:57:29

There are no acccelerated courses in midwifery, unless you are already a qualified nurse, you see.

You sound like me 10 yrs ago! I finished a degree in graphic design with a 1st (I assume from your post you have done an art degree?) I did not have the confidence/personality/passion/interest to become a graphic designer - I knew this by the 2nd yr of my degree but my tutors encouraged me to complete my degree- and I'm glad I did.

After graduating I did some temping and hated working a desk job (I wanted to be creative). I considered teaching but was worried my shyness at doing presentations etc would prevent this. I spent a few days in an art class at a local secondary school and really enjoyed it. I applied for a PGCE at a prestigious London uni and was shocked when I actually got on the course! It was the toughest and most enjoyable year of my life. I worked in an inner city comp with some great kids- it did wonders for my confidence to see them respond to me and produce their best work. I have been an art teacher ever since- I love it. Like you I was living with my parents.

Do some work experience, go for the PGCE interview (mine was terrible but I still got in the course- they must've read between the lines!) on the course it was said that if you get past Xmas you will make it! So only one term to waste to find out if its for you.

10 years later, I'm still a teacher. I love it and wouldn't change it for the world. I understand that the economic world is different now. It must be tough coming out of education and being faced with that. Your 1st will really help you stand infront if the rest. Try to get someone to have a look at your cv. Best if luck!

Phineyj Wed 21-Nov-12 21:38:38

Have you thought of becoming a play specialist in a hospital? It is just about the only role akin to arts therapy that there are paid roles in.

I did exactly the same. Graduated in June 2011 with a first in graphic design. Am still umming and ahhing about what I want to do. I have looked at all sorts of jobs but the ones that I am enthusiastic about are usually connected with animals in some way.

I don't have the massively confident and cut throat attitude needed from the industry I could have written your post.
I would still be interested in illustration type jobs but these are rare and I would need to revamp all my portfolio.

My life has been put on hold for a bit as my dad died on Saturday and I am sorting the funeral, finances and then clearing his house, so it will be a couple of months till I catch up with it all.

Good luck deciding what you'd like to do. This thread has been very interesting to read, as I thought people would think I was mad not to continue with design. I am however quite a bit older than you and haven't worked for quite a while.

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 22:02:14

My degree is also in graphic design! YouveCatToBeKittenMe so sorry to hear about your dad. I think people also see me as crazy for not wanting to continue with design, but as I said my personality doesn't suit it, plus I hate how web orientated it all is. Everyone else on my course is desperate to 'make it' in graphic design- and the irony is I'm the only one who got a first on the course! But my heart isn't in it. Play therapy is interesting but I'm unsure of the career prospects again.

AlexanderS thank you for some really thought provoking input, 'the tyranny of should' is a very relevant concept here.

deste Wed 21-Nov-12 22:22:32

I was a Computer graphic designer and I ended up teaching the subject at college. I loved every minute of it. If you do the PGCE it's for a very short time to get a qualification you can use, perhaps not now but something you could go back to.

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