Graduating Soon-Now What?

Graduate scheme? Job? A black hole?

The time of the year when every lecturer and parent is making it seem as if getting a job in your chosen field is a piece of cake.

The uncertainty after University is real. As soon as University is over we are expected to find a role within the subject we have graduated in. If you graduate in Business Marketing, you are expected to at least be a Marketing Assistant; if you graduate in Hotel Management like I did, you are expected to run a Hotel because apparently, it’s that easy. It is so easy for every adult to say what you should be doing because it sounds like a good plan to them. Well, let’s just say, even at age 24-25, 90% of graduates I know are still trying to find their place in the world. Some have chosen gap years…that have lasted 3 years, others chose to push back adulting and do Masters Degree due to not finding work or not knowing what to do. I started applying for work and graduate schemes two months before I left University. I believe I applied for well over 200. Unfortunately, no Advisors/Staff on campus informed me or my intake that we were applying for graduate schemes at the wrong time. In my head I thought ‘ok it’s March, if I apply now I could start in the Summer’ but that wasn’t the case. By the time I started looking at graduate schemes I had missed deadlines and would have had to wait another few months to apply for the next group intake.

Point– Research graduate schemes and find out the opening and closing times for applications.

Fortunately, I was pretty confident back in University and instead of waiting for opportunities, I emailed companies directly. This led to me finding paid work experience in Central London, starting the very next day after completing University.

The truth we need to take into account when searching is: the location we are looking to work in, the economy and timescale. We must also question what level/role we want to start in. Even today, with all my qualifications and years of experience I still tend to pick entry-level roles because rejection plays heavily on my mind; entry-level roles provide a sense of security.

I advise you to start thinking about your career towards the end of second year. Gain knowledge, base your dissertation on the area you are interested to go into. The research you find for your dissertation we show how you actually feel towards the role you are looking into; whether you are passionate, find it boring, find some hidden statistics. Make use of your career advisors on campus and network amongst lecturers and students. There’s always one lecturer that you click and have banter with. Question them. Ask what they have done in their career, who they know, what they think about your career plan or lack of career plan so far. Network on social media as there are always people looking to hire or collaborate.

You don’t have to go straight into a career. Think about travelling, work experience/internships or simply combine the two and work casually abroad. Give yourself enough time to work out what path you want to go down and write out your plan. Don’t be afraid or feel guilty to change/amend the plan multiple times.

If you need a mentor/coach based on the topic above, please contact me directly via Instagram (Solobutterflyy) or the Let’s Talk button.

If you need assistance creating or changing your CV and with Interview techniques, please contact Mimi’s CV; Instagram mimiscvs or email mimiscvs@gmail.com

SPEEDY EXPERIENCE

So we went speed dating for the 1st time…

As this experience includes a close friend who did not want to be named, she’ll be called Miss X.
Me: What words would you use to describe our speed dating experience?
Miss X: Just weird.
Both: (Laughter)

Surprisingly for an unsuccessful first time, I would try it again, just not the same one. It was a strange experience but I went not expecting it to be anything other than awkward and left feeling socially confident and with that warm feeling of accomplishing something new.

The event was located in Brighton and hosted by a local organiser I called Love Doctor (purely because I forgot his name and I’m sure he said people call him that). The concept was to spend 6 minutes with each guy and after 6 minutes, we had to text the Love Doctor yes, no or coffee; coffee meaning, hmm I’m not too sure but about you, maybe we should meet again. Unfortunately, when we entered the room there was only two other women and seven men. Being a small group we could tell this would be over soon but looking around the room the saying ‘the sooner the better’ came to mind.

Before the event Miss X and I agreed we would make this into a fun social experiment and write down 1) Who we both would like (to see if we liked the same guys) and 2) Words we thought best described the experience. As you can tell from the beginning of the blog, the only answer I got was ‘Just weird’ and I agreed. Once all was over and done we both looked at each other, laughed and called an Uber as soon as possible. Sadly, none of the guys left a memorable mark. Miss X found a few cute in an ‘I feel sorry for you way’ whereas, due to my blunt personality every guy was a straight NO for me. Some came dressed very casual and didn’t seem very interested in holding meaningful conversations and others seemed like this was a night out for them and somewhat full on. I personally wasn’t attracted to anyone there physically or mentally and felt as if I had to drive all the conversations just to give through every 6 minutes.

So, you are probably thinking, Nadine why would you go through this again. Well, never let one experience prevent other experiences similar to it. Maybe if we went to a speed dating event in London, hosted by a bigger company, had a different target audience or a different theme it might have been more interesting and successful for us. We didn’t meet anyone we would have liked to meet again but we felt happy knowing we put ourselves out there and gained confidence, speaking to people we would never speak to in general. Mentally it was a success.

I would 100% recommend leaving Tinder, Bumble, your multiple boyfriends/girlfriends for the night and have some fun speed dating. You might not leave with the person of your dreams but you will leave laughing with your best friend and making memories. You never know, you may find someone you like and end up exchanging numbers or continue drinking throughout the night.

Little Note! I know people who have done speed dating with a twist by going to a Dating Against Humanity or Jenga event – give these a go! I will be next time.

Preparing myself.

“Single black female addicted to retail”- Kanye West

Amongst my friends & I, we are always in discussion about the struggles of being a black British female. We as a close group have exceeded OUR OWN expectations by going to University, doing a degree or two, gaining further qualifications, seeing the world and proving ourselves in work, but still, we fail to find love.

Are men threatened by our achievements? By our independence? As black females are we stereotypically portrayed as ‘too much’?

The real question is, why are we questioning the above in the first place? If men are threatened by growth and a woman exceeding them, then they’re not for us and it’s their loss. 🤷

I personally tend to fill all voids with going overboard on ASOS and spending my payslip on bodysuits and dresses  I don’t need; reminding myself I’d be more broke if I had a man. However, this is a force of habit I’ve managed to kick and I would not advise meaningless spending or thinking “well if I was out on a date I’d probably be spending £30 so I might as well spend £30 on myself and this cute shift dress”. My friends and I have half truth banter “when will you marry?!”, “if I don’t laugh, I’d cry lol” but on a serious note, being black and single in London is tough. We can feel pushed aside as if we are being stereotyped and sometimes as if we are not good enough. Our achievements and beauty don’t seem to be recognised in the mainstream. I believe this is due to social media’s such as Twitter and Instagram selling body images of Kardashian wannabes and cute relationship stories, however, in truth we are enough and we do better personally and professionally each day. When we stop focusing on other people and social media it means we have time to focus on ourselves build on our own confidence.


Here are some ways to deal with this:

  • Spend time alone: Don’t jump into any relationships just because. If you have spent most of your time focusing on your career, education or other aspects of your life you probably haven’t had much time to focus on relationships. Get to know what you like, what you want from a partner and what you want for yourself. Do you want a family person? Someone that supports your money moves? Someone who accepts your Netflix binge? And what do you want from them personally? Ambitious? Cultured? Educated? Once you ask yourself these questions you will know to not settle for less or settle just because. In addition from being alone, you will gain confidence and a ‘bad bitch’ mentality (I know from my friends’ experiences…including my own).
  • Confidence: If you are at the confidence stage, what is stopping you from putting yourself out there? Maybe you don’t want to physically go out and meet someone alone or like me, you don’t want to waste time and money dating the wrong one or maybe hearing too many Tinder nightmares has become off-putting; if you don’t put yourself out there you will not find what you are looking for. Personally, I am not a fan of Tinder, Bumble, Plenty Of Fish etc as they don’t seem to work for me, however, you don’t know until you try it. If you are not ready to date, use online dating as a platform just to start talking to people and boost that confidence. If online dating really isn’t your thing, grab a friend and go to a dating/social event or trying joining an activity group.
  • Stop Planning: Five years ago if you asked me where would I be I’d say at 23 I’d be with the love of my life, expecting baby number 1. I’m near 25…man-less and child-less. We as women need to stop putting pressure on ourselves to get married, have kids, have a mortgage. Continue to live your best life and go with the flow!
  • Most Importantly STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF: Nowadays woman being too ambitious and well educated is still seen as a flaw, however, embrace it! You work hard for a reason; when you meet the person of your dreams they will love and appreciate your drive just as much as you appreciate yourself.

The right person will come along when you least expect it.

If you would like to discuss this further or need advice, feel free to go to my “Let’s Talk” and schedule in a session.

Date Night Suggestions 💖

Its a little attention to detail that shows you care.

Whether you are spending Valentine’s/ date night with your main or side partner, friends or even alone, here’s a list of suggestions.

  1. Crazy Golf
  2. Evening at the theatre
  3. Romantic dinner with an amazing view (can’t go wrong with a rooftop)
  4. Chocolate making workshop
  5. Cocktail making at a bar
  6. Valentine’s swing boat party (London, UK)
  7. London Eye- Cupid’s capsule/Champagne Experience/add a River cruise (London, UK)
  8. Afternoon Tea at a 5* Hotel
  9. Spa day/Massage
  10. Exhibition (eg. The Equality Exhibition)
  11. If you are always out & about, Netflix and chill. Add a takeaway or cook a romantic meal
  12. Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festival (Open from 9th February)
  13. Eurostar (day trip to Paris or Brussels)
  14. Private booth in a bar
  15. Romantic stroll (simple things, make a big difference!)
  16. Back to where you first met (if you have good memories)
  17. Hotel getaway
  18. Museum
  19. Dinner on a river cruise
  20. Get baking together
  21. Go-karting
  22. Road trip
  23. Rent a cabin for the night
  24. Salsa dancing
  25. Wine tasting
  26. Comedy club
  27. Jazz Cafe
  28. Zoo
  29. Gig/Concert
  30. Picnic in the park
  31. Games Cafe
  32. Adult ball pit
  33. Shard- Champagne Experience (London, UK)
  34. Go on a hike
  35. Trip to the seaside/Pier
  36. Spend the day shopping
  37. Ice skating
  38. Poetry reading
  39. Cinema
  40. Sushi making workshop

Whatever you do end it with dinner; everyone’s happier when they are fed!

Work-Related Stress

“If it wasn’t for my team I don’t know how I’d survive”.

That’s a saying I’ve heard from so many around me and I’ve said too many times myself.

Whether you are part-time, 9-5 or a manager of your own company, we’ve all experiences work stress at some point but the question is, how has it affected you?

When I am worked to the bone I keep going for months then all of a sudden I’d wake up one day and say “I can’t today”. I’d lay in bed for 40mins thinking about how drained am I. My body shuts down; I get flu-like symptoms and the thought of getting up and going to work makes me sick. After 2 days I’ll feel back to my usual self and re-energised. This happens once or twice a year due to the busy environments I’ve worked in. I am not alone. I’ve known people to gain acne, rashes, sleepless nights and much more due to the pressures of working life. On top of work stress, we sometimes feel judged for taking annual leave or taking a sick day; adding more stress to the situation. Work-related stress creeps up on us in different ways, however, it’s about how we deal with it.

I was stressing over a role and industry I had no interest in. The stress of my manager, other employees and the daily tasks overall was unbearable. On top of that, I was putting pressure on myself to move jobs and begin my desired career. Due to putting up with this stress for so long I decided to stop working completely, for a month; enough was enough. Bearing in mind I’ve been in constant work since I was 17 and now I’m 25, it was hard to switch off and just do nothing. I got into part-time work that allowed me to pick my hours and I took up volunteer work. I stopped applying for jobs and looking at job sites. From this break I can honestly say I’ve never felt better; I became more focused on me and my health. Yes, I was anxious to wake up every morning without a job but I was also relieved and excited because I was open to opportunity and change.

Recommendations:

  • Try to leave work at work- As soon as you leave work, focus on you. If there’s work you have not completed, don’t dwell on it; work is not the end all. Go home, run a bubble bath, connect with friends/family/partner(s) and deal with it tomorrow.
  • Fight for your annual leave- Sometimes it’s a struggle to get the days you want or you are unable to take annual leave due to a busy period at work however don’t let this stop you. Read through your contact, speak to HR if needed and make sure you make use of what work offers and make sure you know your rights in terms of annual leave and working hours.
  • Unwind- Don’t be someone who gets into the pattern of work and sleep. Being outdoors whether you are casually walking around town or cycling around the park has huge mental health benefits. If being outdoors is not your thing…do what you love. If you love spending your weekend playing video games, watching movies, cooking; make sure you put time aside for this.
  • Talk about it- Sometimes we love a good rant. I literally feel a weight lifted off my shoulders when I rant. I strongly advise you don’t rant to your manager or anyone you work with but, talk to your friends/family/partner(s) and let off some steam. Never bottle up your feelings otherwise you may turn into a walking timebomb at work. If the situation at work is bad and you want advice, talk to HR or occupational health, they are there for a reason.

Work is a replaceable element, always put your health first!

LESSON ON DEPRESSION

It’s not that deep until it happens to you.

I read that once and it’s so real. We sympathise, listen and nod along but never fully understand or ‘get it’ until we ourselves have been in that position.

I am so glad there is now a bigger awareness of mental health. Looking back, I first started getting depressed during my first year of University in 2012. At the time I didn’t know I was depressed and blamed it on low moods and change of environment; thought it was just a late moody teenage phase. If there was more of awareness back then I believe I could have dealt with it a lot differently and my life choices overall would be a lot different.  Instead, I left University, got a job to keep busy and went back to another University several months later. Things got better but with the ups and downs of life, the depression always followed me. It took 5 years to finally seek professional advice and to finally tell my friends and family. Instead of constantly replying to messages saying “yeah I’m good thanks, you?” I was actually expressing myself better and able to say ‘you know what I’m actually not good today and here’s why’.

After seeking professional help I realised University wasn’t the reason for the depression; it played a minor part however, I was triggered. In the year 2014-15 statistics show 1,180 students left Universities in the UK due to mental health (1). Shocking right? And we can only assume today that number has increased. I have always been bubbly, somewhat life of the party but when you’ve been depressed for so long your mind adapts and learns how to act around other people; its hard to know what someone is going through under the exterior.

I have dealt with people who have been depressed due to family life, being unlucky in love, not being able to find work and people who genuinely haven’t worked out why they feel this way. As mentioned before, you will never be able to pick a depressed person out of a lineup, however, bearing this in mind we can work through this together to make life easier. During mental health awareness week, I tweeted about my issues and I’ve never felt so free it; to finally be open. Depressions job is to eat away at us, so don’t let it. Unleash your true feelings; even if you write it down and throw the piece of paper away- at least that’s a start.

Further recommendations:

  • Make use of my services. My service is real and relatable in comparison to someone who is talking from theories and studies. With my experience and knowledge, we will be able to make a strategic plan to be a better you.
  • Seek professional help. Contact your GP and they will be able to refer you.
  • Get reading. If you are not ready to talk to anyone about your feelings, a great start would be to understand your mind and how to tackle the issue:
    -Depression: A practical guide – The Flag Series by Dr Harry Barry
    -Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari
  • Stay active to keep your mind active. Whether you say yes to all social events or pick up a new hobby; don’t let depression know you’re sitting at home letting it get you.

For further assistance/advice on depression, please comment or click ‘Let’s Talk’.

Reference:

The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/23/number-university-dropouts-due-to-mental-health-problems-trebles

ANXIETY

Anxiety sometimes sees you moving on with life then taps you on the back again.

Anxiety can be formed from starting a new job to a developing fear (example, fear of flying on a plane). At times I’ve confused worry and anxiety so having anxiety attacks at 3am made me do my research. One thing I have noticed and studied, is worry can be defined as more verbal and within us whereas, anxiety is more mental imagery and takes a toll on us physically.

Anxiety is a tough topic and is something we all easily hide from the people around us but we must not be afraid to speak out! If you are not ready to speak the word anxiety out loud…write it down. You already have so much going on in your mind, a diary is a great way to release the tension.

One thing I have learnt from my past experience in therapy is to write down my fears and what I am thinking at the exact moment I feel anxious. Grab a piece of paper and write: What could happen vs What will happen and list all the things you can think of in relation to your anxiety. We don’t know what will actually happen as we cannot see the future, so why fixate on what could happen?

Ideas to take your mind off anxiety:

  • Keeping Active- Try Yoga, fitness classes or as I’ve recently done, join a gym. These are great ways to blow off steam and to put negative thoughts into something positive and life-changing.
  • Travel- doesn’t matter whether its a day trip to Brighton or a weekend in Spain. Get some distance!  I live in London and the busy of life here does begin to feel like a  game of mouse trap. As soon as I head away from London I  feel such a relief and the air feels clearer; travelling is not only an  escape but its  therapeutic whether by yourself or with friends/family. 
  • Try a range of herbal tea- Especially ‘night time tea’.
  • Meditate-  or have relaxing baths with candles. Alternatively (and a favourite of mine) go to a spa once in a while. Spa breaks are everything! In addition to having a massage or using the sauna, a lot of products used at spa’s have physical and mental health benefits.
  • Read- Spend time educating yourself on anxiety, or just read for pure pleasure and escapism. None of these recommendations will 100%  cure you of anxiety but reading or doing something you love is a good way to  switch it off for a while.

For further assistance/advice on anxiety, please comment or click ‘Let’s Talk’