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 fourth interviewee to talk about #FinalYearFear is Annie Newland, who just missed out on being interviewed for my #PlacementProfile series, due to not handing her homework in on time. Annie is however, one of the funniest, loudest and most confident people I know and I’m so glad to have her in my life.
Annie is in her final year of the BSc Business Management course at the University of Southampton and carried out a placement year at Coty Inc, London.
Orlagh: Hey stranger, how are things with you? How are you finding final year at the minute?
Annie: Really great thanks, really enjoying the social aspects of finishing uni and the long Easter holidays. However, dissertation is a total drag at the moment and honestly the worst piece of uni work I have ever done. I would advise anyone to avoid it if the could!
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?
Annie: I would say although it’s a similar set up (except for diss) it does feel like the pressure is on a lot more. Mostly that comes from my friends and course mates working a lot harder and putting pressure on themselves however with this year being double weighted compared to last year, it is more important.
I guess although I don’t think the work is that much harder, there is just more of a worry that I could ‘mess’ [another word was used] it up compared to my approach to work in second year.
How have you found transitioning back to university life after placement?
Annie: In all honesty, this was tricky. At the start, I was just absolutely appreciating the free time and flexibility that uni offers (which I really think should be exploited whilst we have it) but once deadlines come around, I found it very hard to motivate myself and get back into writing essays. I really do miss the routine of a 9-5 job and can’t wait to have evenings and weekends free of guilt and not working!
Now that you’ve experienced life in the corporate world, are you excited to go back or sad to leave university behind?
Annie: I will be gutted to leave uni for the social aspects – I love living with my friends, I will miss my netball club more than anything and I love being a student and all it entails, however, as I said above, I can’t wait to get back into a job and also move back to London. I have missed the city so much more than I thought I would!
THE ‘D’ WORD
Have you had to write a dissertation this year? How’s that going?
Annie: Yes – shocker! I have found it so demotivating because it’s the concept of writing 10,000 words for the sake of it rather than because I feel it’s necessary or beneficial. I am not Stephen Hawking and my dissertation isn’t going to change the world – it’s instead, utter bullshit that I’m hoping will get me enough marks to scrape a first.
“I am not Stephen Hawking and my dissertation isn’t going to change the world…”
Do you think you could have approached it better? Any advice for those going into final year of when they should start their project or how they should approach it?
Annie: Urm, I was advised to start my dissertation ideas whilst on placement which I think is ridiculous. I’d say as long as you meet your supervisor and get ideas going at the beginning of the year, you can be pretty relaxed until the Christmas holidays about the whole thing.
My advice is, if it optional – avoid at all costs. If not, think about your data collection when you have initial ideas and don’t be too ambitious as it just gives yourself more jobs in the second semester.
THE FUTURE AWAITS
What are your plans for the future? Have you secured a job/grad scheme? Are you planning to travel/take time off?
Annie: I secured the Procter and Gamble sales graduate scheme in December which I was absolutely chuffed about, and I am very lucky that they offered to defer my start date to March 2020. So I am planning to get in a bit of travelling around Europe, maybe South America and hopefully some time working on the slopes before I start!
How did you find the application process? What it similar to placement applications? Why did you choose to do a grad scheme?
Annie: The application process started off similar to placement (online tests, Skype call etc.) but to be honest, P&G’s process was quite vigorous as it went on to involve a face-to-face interview and more tests and then a three day assessment centre in Harrogate.
Now that I’ve got the job, I will say that the experience is great and it gives you a great feel for the company and the true feeling that they got to know you properly. However, it was a very tiring process of not just working hard but also socialising and being on your best form for three days straight.
Having initially decided I wanted a gap year after university, I applied to the grad scheme way too late, so I would advise for people applying (especially if you don’t know what you want so will apply for a few) to start looking in August/September.
I chose a grad scheme because I personally think it’s the best training and start to a career that anyone can get. I believe it will also make me a lot more employable in the future if I was to leave P&G, as the scheme is well regarded so other firms are assured I’ve had great experience and training.
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?
Annie: In 12 months’ time, I will probably be sat at a desk in Weybridge hopefully working on an account or brand that I’m really excited about. I hope to be enjoying work, have made some great friends in the office and already be making a small difference to the team I am in!
What’s the number one highlight of your entire university experience and why?
Annie: 1000% for me it is being part of SUNC (my university netball club), being part of a BUCs sport team made my university experience and I would recommend it to everyone! So all the wins, varsities, socials and summer balls that came with that were huge highlights!
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to after graduating?
Annie: Never seeing my dissertation again, freedom and summer! I don’t want to put anyone off final year as the hard work will be worth all the rewards of a degree, but yes I am looking forward to finishing.
What’s one thing you’re fearing about life after graduation?
Annie: Nothing really – I can’t wait to chill out, travel and then move back to London and restart work. I reckon if I didn’t have a job lined up I would probably be getting a little agitated about the prospect of being unemployed, but in all honesty, being 22, graduating with a 2:1 or even a 1st and having so much ahead of us (job or no job) is bloody exciting!