Hello and welcome to a new series! Yes, another one. If you’ve been around for a while, you may remember I interviewed a lot of students on various placements around this time last year. Now that they’re all back at university and almost ready to face the big, bad world of life after graduation, I thought it a good idea to check back in with them.
This series is going to re-visit the past interviewees and see how they’re getting on, their thoughts on final year, plans for the future and what they make of the Diss.
What I’m most hoping for is that they’re all as clueless as I am when it comes to plans for the future – but that may not be the case. So stay tuned for further interviews with all of the final years and in the mean time, you can check out their placement interviews here.
My eighth interviewee to talk about #FinalYearFear is Monique Gillies, who studies on the Business and Public Relations degree at Liverpool John Moores University alongside myself. Monique spent her placement year with Poker Stars back in the Isle of Man, where she’s originally from. You can read all about her PR placement here.
Orlagh: Hey gal, how are things with you? How are you finding final year at the minute?
Monique: I’m good, and surprisingly to me so is final year! It’s all starting to become a bit surreal that it’s over so soon, but I’m just making the most of it.
Have you noticed much of a difference between final year and your first two years at uni? Is there a lot more pressure and work to do?
Monique: Oh yes, definitely. The workload is definitely harder and I’ve noticed how much pressure I’m putting on myself during every assignment, as I’m working towards getting a first.
I do think coming back from placement year has made me more prepared for it though. In terms of going out less… I’ve cut it down a little compared to the first few years, but I can’t say I’m not still enjoying myself whenever I can!
How have you found transitioning back to university life after placement?
Monique: Actually a lot better than I imagined! I spent my placement year living and working back home, so I thought I’d miss it much more moving back to university, but that wasn’t the case. I’ve loved moving back to Liverpool and getting back into the student life for one final time.
Now that you’ve experienced life in the corporate world, are you excited to go back or sad to leave university behind?
Monique: I’m definitely ready for the next stage of my life, but I’ll miss university a lot. The freedom you have at university is great. I’ve loved having time for myself that isn’t at 7pm when I’m knackered after work, but I am ready to get back into a proper routine, and I’m going to be working back at the company where I did my placement so that excites me, as I loved it there!
THE ‘D’ WORD
Have you had to write a dissertation this year? How’s that going?
Monique: Yes, I did. I recently submitted a few weeks ago. The feeling you get after submitting it is great, it’s such a weight off my shoulders. It was definitely harder than I imagined but so rewarding once it’s done.
Do you think you could have approached it better? Any advice for final years writing one next year?
Monique: I know everyone says this, but starting early is the best piece of advice I could give. I started my final year with the idea that I’d have loads of my dissertation finished before Christmas, but when other assignments got in the way, I only began in semester two… It hasn’t been the end of the world starting later but it would have 100% taken some of the pressure off if I had started earlier.
THE FUTURE AWAITS
What are your plans for the future? Have you secured a job/grad scheme? Are you planning to travel? Masters?
Monique: I’ve actually managed to secure myself a PR Associate role in the company I worked for during my placement year! I’m going to work there for a while and then my plan is to move to Australia. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while so when I have some experience and money, I’ll be off!
Where do you see yourself in 12 months time? What do you hope to have achieved by then and where would you like to be?
Monique: I can really only see two options for me right now. The first will be living in Australia traveling around and enjoying myself whilst I’m young, and the other will be working in a PR role either still in the job I have after university or in another company. As long as I’m happy and doing what’s best for me, I don’t mind what happens!
What’s the number one highlight of your entire university experience and why?
Monique: I’d have to say the free trip to Amsterdam we went on earlier this year, as part of our Events Management module was probably the best! Also moving to a big city has been such a great experience, coming from a small island it’s so refreshing to meet so many new people and just experience city life.
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to after graduating?
Monique: Just being able to start the next chapter of my life, I’m so excited to see how everything pans out!
What’s one thing you’re fearing about life after graduation?
Monique: I think knowing that I’ll be completely done with education is scaring me a little! I’ve been in school since I can remember and knowing that part of my life is over is quite scary and sad.