On Friday the 28th of June I graduated.
After four years, I finally got my Bachelors Degree with Honors in Filmmaking and Screen Writing.
It was a lovely day starting with pancakes in a quaint coffee shop here in Ayr, before heading to Troon Concert Hall where the short and sweet ceremony took place.
My parents, boyfriend, and university friends were all there, and it was great to catch up and celebrate our achievements together.
But I couldn’t help thinking: Now what?
It was equal parts terrifying and exciting as I was handed that piece of parchment.
My life plan was always to get to this moment: to get into university; to get a degree in something I loved.
I have that.
I have no plan for life after.
And it’s a daunting thing to walk off the stage and have life- real life- suddenly open up before you.
After I submitted my dissertation (finally!) in April and classes ended, I found I really struggled to cope with the sudden end of work, seeing friends every day and direction.
Combined with no idea what I wanted to do and needing to get a job before SAAS ended, I felt myself going a bit crazy.
It was three months of staying at home applying for jobs all day, having no money to go out, awkward interviews and rejection emails- a stark contrast to comfy student life.
Fastward and I finally got a glamorous job cleaning at Morrisons.
It’s not perfect but it’s where I am right now. And it isn’t where I plan to stay. But it is hard to look ahead to a future you have no idea about- particularly a creative career where the entry and progression aren’t as clearcut as some jobs.
If you did study a creative profession like me, the best thing I’ve found to do is don’t stop once university ends. Keep making things; art, poems, scripts, films, stories, photographs, mistakes.
Don’t let the post-uni slump ruin your creativity.
We will find a way to make a living from it. It will just take some time.
Zulie Rane wrote a great article on Medium called Listen, You Absolutely Can Create For a Living which I highly recommend reading if you’re starting to have doubts about which direction to take.
She says: ‘It’s bizarre, but writing is one of the few things that people tell you not to chase your dreams on. It doesn’t matter that writing is a great way to keep your memory or observation skills sharp, or that it delivers a much-needed boost of introspection into your hectic life. People will go out of their way to let you know that you’re not going to be the next J.K. Rowling.’
I feel this is the same for many creative professions.
But it doesn’t always come from other people; we often say it to ourselves. And I found, after university, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of believing those thoughts.
So my advice to anyone just about to graduate: when you receive rejection letters, silence that voice in your head that’s telling you you’re not good enough.
Silence it, then keep going.
It’s ok not to know. It’s ok to work a crappy job while you figure things out and try new things- so many new things. Your job is not who you are and, if you let it, your creativity will continue to guide you to where you need to be.
I’ve made a list of things I want to try- youtube, blogging, restoration business, publish a book, study makeup artistry- and I will keep trying each one until something works.
It’s all about the journey. So make it a good story.