Dealing with Life as a Graduate

The end of Summer means only one thing, the start of school/university again. Yet this year, for the first time in 18 years I will not be going ‘back’ anywhere. Life has truly begun. I’ve graduated and no longer have the security and stability that full time education provides. How scary.

So far, this blog has captured my move to London, how I’m finding hunting for a job, dealing with rejection and just generally getting out and about exploring the city. It is such an exciting time in my life. I’m planning to move in with my boyfriend and cannot wait to find the perfect job for me! But damn, graduate life is not easy.

I recently went along to the first Gals Who Graduate event hosted by Bronte King. After leaving university, she realised that so many girls were struggling and not quite knowing what to do. Whether that’s how to cope moving back in with their parents after the freedom of University, dealing with that overdraft that is supposed to be decreasing yet seems to be impossible to defeat, or the difficulties in finding a job in the competitive graduate market. So she decided to set up the Gals Who Graduate platform for girls to come together, share advice and discuss their problems. The first event was held at Kalifornia Kitchen on Percy Street (the food was INCREDIBLE!) and there was the best atmosphere of support and solidarity amongst all the girls that were there.

Very quickly I learned that I was not alone. Everyone was somewhat struggling to deal with the highs and lows of graduate life. There is so much pressure to know what you are doing as soon as you leave University, to get a job and not move back to the family home. To show on Instagram that you are living the high life, free from education and your parents. However in reality it’s a lot more lonely than that. Constant job applications leave you dealing with a lot of rejection, quite often moving to a new city where you know very few people and struggling to find financial balance after the drain of student life.

Ultimately, there is no correct path. I met girls who had moved country to find their dream job, girls who had moved back in with their parents but were loving their new job, girls who were still looking for a job, girls living with their boyfriends, friends, strangers, girls who had absolutely no idea what they were doing and just came to meet new people. It was so refreshing. I had met nobody there before, but it didn’t matter. There was a strong sense of community and I left truly feeling that I had a great support group of other girls who would be there if I had a question, even if they were just online!

So if you’ve just graduated, a massive congratulations! University was hard, but I think life as a graduate might be slightly harder. Most importantly though, you’re not alone! Reach out to your friends, chat to the other graduates you meet in your office, try and put yourself out there to meet new people, because chances are, they are feeling as nervous and overwhelmed as you!

Gals who graduate logo, Bronte King

Dear Diary… Getting Back Up Again

Ahh rejection. What a glorious feeling.

If you’ve been following my blog or have read any of my recent posts then you’ll know that I’ve been in London recently for two interviews for what was essentially a dream job. It involved blogging, events, digital marketing and communications and I really thought my interviews had gone well.

In fact, they did go well! I came second, losing out to a candidate that had three years of experience in those fields. As a graduate there is potentially nothing more soul destroying than losing to someone with experience. I understand experience gives the company that sense of reassurance but when you’re on the other side of a rejection simply due to your age it can be pretty crushing. I have never let a lack of experience daunt me, because let’s face it. 90% of people probably had no idea what they were doing when they first start a job, no matter how much previous experience they have had. Every job will require slightly different skills, use different platforms and have a totally different working environment. So even 50 years of experience wouldn’t necessarily prepare you for that first day.

Now I don’t want to come across as bitter, because I am most definitely not! It’s still a dream company to work for and I’m going to keep pursuing jobs with them, so take this more as a lamentation for how frustrating it can be as a graduate fighting for that first big break. If you read my post on hunting for a job in London you’ll know just how overwhelming it can be, with so many opportunities simultaneously feeling like nothing being available.

However, in this moment of defeat (albeit a small moment of defeat) I am more determined than ever to grab a break and get the London city life I’ve been dreaming of. Whilst it throws our plans of moving into a flat into complete disarray, I guess I will just be even more prepared when the time does come. As a true millennial, I live my life by a great series of inspirational quotes.

What’s for you won’t come past you.

If it’s meant to be, it will be.

As one door closes another one opens.

So here I am checking in, down but definitely not out! I guess if it was easy there would be no sense of achievement and that is my whole motivation for moving to London in the first place.

Barbican conservatory

New Girl at Camden Market

Camden Market in London, looking across the canal

When I was trying to think of what to do with my friend from uni who was down visiting, my mind initially jumped to where we were going to eat in London. Obviously…

I had been to Camden market before a few years ago and remembered it having an amazing mix of street food and various stalls, so after looking it up online and finding out that they had a stall selling yorkshire pudding burritos (yorkshire puds are in my top ever foods) I thought it would be the perfect place to have a wander.

After taking the Northern line out to Camden town station, we walked through the crowds to Camden lock and crossed the bridge into the street food market. It was absolutely jammed with people and stalls and there really was something for everyone. If you want a full list of what’s available you can find one on the Camden Market website!

Other side fried buffalo chicken strips from Camden Market

Whilst there really was so much to choose from, there was never any doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be getting a yorkshire pudding burrito after I’d basically dreamt about it the night before. I went for chicken and it came stuffed with chicken, roast potatoes, spinach, stuffing and honey mustard sauce and it was absolutely divine. You can see the look of love in my eyes. However, it’s definitely not one to eat standing up and it dropped out everywhere and made such a mess, so maybe try and secure a table before you try one!

Ed went for the other side fried buffalo chicken strips that came topped with parmesan. Whilst the parmesan and buffalo was a new combination for me, Ed absolutely loved it and said it satisfied the buffalo sauce cravings he’s been suffering from since our trip to the US.

However there is so much more to the market than just the food stalls, as the stables market also has an incredible array of vintage shops, decor, jewellery, art and more! There are so many beautiful stalls but our favourite was To Home From London! They had a great selection of cute cartoon-esque art and homeware and we both loved the prints of London landmarks and are seriously considering getting some pieces for our new flat (when we get it…) I love the idea of putting little bits of London into the flat to really make it feel like our city pad!

The entrance to Camden market, wearing new look floral playsuit
Playsuit – New Look

Camden Market Top 5 Tips

  • Don’t go on a Sunday! I had read that Sunday was the best day to go to Camden as it was the day that was the busiest and therefore had the best atmosphere but as we were there at lunchtime it really was just too busy. There was barely even any room to stand to eat never mind space to sit down! Whilst the concept of street food is obviously to be able to eat on the go in the streets it was just that little bit too busy and bustling so I would say Sundays are to be avoided. We were there from around 12 till 3 and it didn’t show any signs of quietening down.
  • Bring hand wipes!! Most stalls offer napkins but if you’re eating after exploring the market stalls or planning on having one of those dreamy yorkshire burritos, I’d definitely recommend bringing some form of hand sanitiser or hand wipes!
  • Check out whats on offer before you commit! If you walk in across the bridge over the canal, you may think that the first section is all there is, but the food market extends so much further than that! Walking around before you decide what you want is a must as there is simply so much choice.
  • There are more tables further in to the market, so if there isn’t one available right beside the canal then if you cross into the second section of the market then you will find more. We didn’t realise this initially and probably could have saved ourselves a lot of mess and standing if we had walked a little more.
  • Finally, wear comfy clothes! Bit of an obvious one perhaps, but the ground is not suited to heels or wedges of any kind and trainers are essential. I’d also encourage food baby friendly outfits as you are guaranteed to find something tasty!

Have you ever been to Camden Market? What was your favourite stall/dish? Let me know in the comments because there’s no doubt I’ll be going back!

Exploring Camden Market in London; pinnable graphic