May 2017: Looking to the future

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That’s it! Semester 2 teaching complete, and boy can I tell you that it doesn’t half fly by.

Looming on that fast approaching horizon is the scary (for some) thing called the future. You’ve invested your heart, inputted your soul and left behind blood, sweat and tears to successfully get to this point.

At this time of the year it’s good to sit back and reflect upon your accomplishments to date and put your Masters back into perspective as to why you embarked on an opportunity of a lifetime. Things are so fast paced and you will likely be feeling slightly overwhelmed with a mountain of deadlines across the last 10 days of term that you’ve somehow managed to submit on time… then in the last class of the term someone asks you out of the blue, “how are the job applications going?”

An onslaught of panic and guilt quickly slips into consciousness which you quickly dismiss. You’ve been so focused on your course and enjoying the year that it’s unthinkable to add the job-hunting grind to your balance alongside classes, assignments, readings, revision, travels, the odd night out and part-time work. However, no need to go into full-time meltdown mode…it’s ok!

An inspiring thing about your Masters year is that everyone is on their own path and you should remember (or at least try and envision) what that path is for you at the start of the course, and then support or celebrate your fellow classmates progress on their journeys throughout the year.

Me? I left behind employment in a bid to change careers using this Masters course as a mechanism to do so. I recently received positive news on my year-long application for a residency visa over in Canada which also permits me to work, so I can now begin to execute my job strategy ahead of graduation in September. Meanwhile I’ve taken a part-time weekend job to start saving some pennies and as an outlet away from the pressures of this exam filled part of the year.

To give a snapshot of fellow classmates’ paths:

  • Some have been balancing flexible internships in Semester 2 with companies based in Manchester to build experience and their personal networks.
  • Some aspire to move here to the UK and are looking at VISA’s and exploring the different cities across the country.
  • Some have been proactive, with their stress at the end of Semester 1 of meeting graduate job scheme deadlines in November now being rewarded as they have successfully progressed through application centres to final interviews with large multinational firms.
  • Some are trying to figure out whether a post-Brexit and relatively uncertain Britain is a country they wish to be a part of.
  • Some are (starting) searching for their masterplan of a career strategy and making best use of all the services at the dedicated Postgraduate Careers Centre at the University (CV Checking, Mock Interviews, Application Guidance, General Advice etc.) – even at this stage of your Masters it’s still ok not to know your next move as not many of us go straight into work upon graduation. (Recommended Article: “Students Shouldn’t Worry about Finding a Job While Studying”, Says UCAS Head)
  • Some are continuing work for their previous employers during their Masters or plan to return to companies which have provided a scholarship for them to study here in Manchester. Equally, some students are fully focused on completing their degrees and returning home where they’ll assist with family-run businesses or start a domestic job search.
  • Whilst some of us are planning a years’ travel post graduating or embracing the weekend warrior title by city-hopping across European cities using the super-accessible Manchester or Liverpool airports and the well-priced Interrail train tickets between European cities.

Ultimately there is no right and wrong. Stay true to yourself, embrace your experiences and use every day as a learning opportunity. Personally, I’m one to believe that everything happens for a reason and if you force a matter that doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t right for you.

For a different perspective, check out the University’s Central Student Blog: Not Knowing What You Want To Do Is Okay.

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Will McGlynn

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