For a while now I have been thinking about going travelling after I finish my final year at university. I saved up over my placement year and realistically I won’t get a better time to go because as soon as I begin work I will more than likely begin the cycle most go through of getting a new car then mortgage, then miserable about the prospect of working for the next fifty years of my life! So before I have to take the final jump into adult hood I think I would like to go travelling and experience different cultures and places around the world.
But where? I have thought about the typical travelling package for people my age where you spend some time in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia which does look incredible but part of me can’t help but think I would rather travel around America instead. I love how each state offers different cultures, foods, experiences and sights and feel like you would never get bored travelling from state to state.
However, ideally I would like to go travelling with someone but not sure if I have any friends who would want to travel America for a few months over the summer. I’m also not sure how much it would be travelling from state to state by myself. I could do a few Trek Americas but I’ve been told by a few people that whilst they are great experiences, it’s cheaper to organise it by yourself. Another route I could look into is graduate schemes in America however that would come with a lot of admin including looking for a place to stay and working visas.
So basically I’m stuck with what I should do, where I will go and whether I should go travelling for a year or just for a few months before my graduation ceremony in November! If you have any advice or recommendations please let me know!
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A conventional nine to five job might not be for me
My placement has been my first experience of a traditional nine to five job office job and whilst I have enjoyed my job and got on well with my team I don’t know if it is what I aspire for in the future. Knowing my placement is only for a limited time has been helpful on days when I feel unmotivated as I know I will be going back to university soon. However, the prospect of graduating and having a mundane office job where I sit at a desk all day staring at a screen fills me with dread. I still don’t have an answer when people ask me what I want to do with my life but I’m learning that I shouldn’t be in such a rush to figure it out. I have plenty of time to explore different avenues, make mistakes and learn along the way!
I want a job that incorporates creativity
I decided to begin blogging as my job didn’t have enough creative elements. Whilst I build websites with my team in numerous different languages there are guidelines we must stick to and our content management system has limitations with what it can achieve in terms of design. Blogging has allowed me to write content on different topics and I have been lucky enough to borrow a camera from my manager, learning more about photography. Trying new projects in my spare time has shown me I would love a job that incorporates creative elements. I would love to learn more about design with Photoshop and other programmes and continue to improve my photography.
I want to go travelling
I look forward to exploring different career paths in the future and hope to one day find a job that I love. But before I enter the world of work for good I’ve decided I would like to go travelling for a year or maybe more. I have been in education my whole life so I think embracing the freedom that comes with lack of structure or restricted holiday times will be exciting.
Every person I have spoken to has told me to go for it either saying they had the best time of their lives or they have always regretted not going. Realistically I don’t think I will ever get a better moment in my life to be able to go travelling. When I graduate I will have little responsibility holding me back. I haven’t made any concrete plans so far but I think Australia and New Zealand are on the cards with some stops around South East Asia as well. I would also love to explore some of America as I loved New York when I visited. For some reason the thought of having an apartment in Brooklyn and getting the subway into New York City each day sounds incredible!
A positive attitude is imperative
I have worked with a range of people over placement year from all walks of life who are motivated by different things. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is how valuable a positive attitude can be. In every job there will be frustrating aspects whether it be mundane admin jobs or software not working correctly but it is how you react to these situations that matters most.
In my second year of university I frequently focused on the bad aspects of my course allowing it to overshadow the parts I enjoyed and I definitely think my productivity and efficiency was affected. Being exposed to negative attitudes on placement year was a bit of a wakeup call for me. Moaning about something not working isn’t going to fix it. Arguing with people who cannot change the situation won’t lead to a different outcome. I have become more aware of how my attitude can affect others and affect the motivation of my colleagues. Whilst some have called me naive and told me my positivity will fade over time, I hope I continue to take a more positive and efficient approach in my final year of university and into my career.
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I recently watched the Fresh Meat finale and it made me think about university, my degree and what I want to do with my life once I graduate. The finale was infused with the humour that has graced all four seasons but also encapsulated the bitter sweet moment of the character’s finishing university and starting new chapters in their lives. This got me thinking about my own experiences with university and oddly made me dread the day all the exams, dissertations and coursework is all said and done and we move out for the last time. I haven’t always loved university but it is sad to think my final year of university may be the last time I spend time with certain friends I have made along the way.
Instead of looking at graduating as a step into uncertain times without security, I’m trying to see it as a time of potential where I will have different opportunities to try new and exciting things. I am planning to go travelling for a year once I finish university and have been using my placement year as a chance to save money. I haven’t fully decided where I want to go but I think it will be the perfect time to see new countries and cultures before coming home and deciding what career path I focus on. Part of me really fancies the idea of moving to New York for a year. There is something about having an apartment in Brooklyn and being able to get the subway into the city that really appeals to me.
Unexpectedly, my placement year has caused a major shift in what motivates me. I used to be very motivated by money thinking financial freedom would automatically make me happier. Whilst I think having money can give you more access to certain experiences and activities, my placement year has shown me it is not the be all and end all. I have realised a job I enjoy that offers new challenges and experiences has a lot more value than I first anticipated. Every job will have elements that won’t be thrilling but I hope to find a job that has the right balance.
I’m learning it is okay to not know exactly what I want to do with my life and have my career path set out and decided. I think there is a lot of pressure put on young people these days to make decisions about the rest of their lives before they’ve even got a chance to try different things. The year to come will involve a lot of planning for travelling once all of university is said and done but for now I will finish my placement year and focus on my degree and worry about my future later.
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A few years ago I used to take photos for my friend Ciara which she used on her fashion blog and I thought I would share a few of my favourite photos I had taken in the past. In a number of the different twitter chats over the past week a number of bloggers have discussed how important images are for them and it got me thinking about the use of photos in blogs. Whilst I think the most important part of a good blog post is the written content, photos can help reinforce the story you are telling through writing and can make posts more interesting and engaging.
I would love my photography to be better however sometimes feel limited, particularly if trying to take a chinsontour photo. The selfie camera isn’t the best quality and it can be hard to get the background and foreground to focus. I also don’t have a camera so feel limited with the photos I can take.
I have been considering going travelling once I graduate and definitely think I will buy a good camera before I go. I would love to be able to take good photos of all the different places I see and be able to blog about them! If you have any good camera recommendations please let me know! I don’t want anything to huge as I will be carrying it with me but want a camera that can take good quality photos!
I have included some of my favourite photos I took for my friend’s fashion blog. We would try different locations, angles and settings on her DSLR to try and get the best shot possible. For the second photo we made origami birds out of old beano comics then hung them from clear string to create the illusion they were floating around her.
Maybe 2016 will be the year I get back into photography! If not, I hope to I take lots of photos when I go travelling that I can blog and keep forever to remember my trip.
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