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 seventh interviewee to talk about #FinalYearFear is Ciara De Carteret, who spent her placement year with Gordon’s Chemist back in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ciara is now in Liverpool in her final year of the BA (Hons) Marketing course at Liverpool John Moores University. To find out about her placement year, you can find her Placement Profile here.
Orlagh: Hey gal, how are things with you? How are you finding final year at the minute?
Ciara: Things are pretty hectic at the moment – I’m currently on my 7th hour in the library for today, so I’m sure you can imagine what life is like right now! I’m finding final year pretty tough – the sheer amount of assignments and exams is ridiculous, along with the added stress of worrying about life after university and my future!
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?
Ciara: I have absolutely noticed a difference! My first two years of university consisted of four nights out in a row every week and barely paying attention in class and lectures. This year has been a complete 180; I have barely missed any classes, I’ve been getting better grades and enjoying my work a lot more!
I am so glad I took a placement year, because if I didn’t I probably wouldn’t be as motivated as I have been this year. The funny thing is, I’ve still been able to have somewhat of a social life – but uni work is ALWAYS on my mind.
How have you found transitioning back to university life after placement?
Ciara: I found it very hard at first. I didn’t realise how much I would forget after only a year away from study. It’s like when you go off for summer holidays in school, and you go back and it’s like a whole new place with all new faces. It’s that, times 1000000!
It took me a few months to get back into the swing of things. I actually forgot how to write an assignment (lol) – but I eventually got my head round it again!
Now that you’ve experienced life in the corporate world, are you excited to go back or sad to leave university behind?
Ciara: I’m excited to have money again! I love university life and the freedom that you have (I can go for a chippy at 11am just because I feel like it) but I’m very excited to get back into the industry and work on a career that I love.
I feel like I’ve always been the type of person that would probably stay in education as long as I could, but with what I want to do and achieve in life, that’s just not for me right now. There’s potential to return in a few years to do a Masters degree, but only if I’m not satisfied with where I am. But I’ve a good feeling that I’ll be ok – positive mental attitude!
THE ‘D’ WORD
Have you had to write a dissertation this year? How’s that going?
Ciara: With my degree, we were given three options for our final piece of work: a Marketing Project, Dissertation or a Consultancy Project. I chose to do a Consultancy Project, which is an opportunity to learn independently and show that you can identify, define and analyse problems and issues and integrate knowledge in order to solve/create a problem/opportunity for a live client.
We had to source this live client ourselves – which is a challenge in itself. I have good connections with PrettyLittleThing from previous experiences, so I contacted them and asked would they be interested – luckily they said yes! They gave me a brief to come up with a Market Entry Strategy for the German market.
They then invited me down to the PLT HQ in Manchester (which was AMAZING) to present my findings to the marketing team. It went well and they were impressed, so right now I’m just tying up lose ends on the boring report side of things.
If anyone has the opportunity to do a consultancy project, I highly recommend it. It’s great to put on your CV for work experience as you get to work for a live client whilst also completing a module!
Do you think you could have approached it better? Any advice for final years writing one next year?
Ciara: I got lucky with my final project because I was already very interested in the company itself and it was really interesting to research an international market that I didn’t know too much about.
I would just say to make sure that you pick a topic that you will enjoy learning about – otherwise you’ll be spending most of your time being miserable! Also – start as soon as possible! One of my worst qualities is leaving things to the last minute and I absolutely hate myself for it. It’s better to do bits at a time rather than having to write thousands of words in one sitting!
THE FUTURE AWAITS
What are your plans for the future? Have you secured a job/grad scheme? Are you planning to travel? Masters?
Ciara: I’ve actually got a job interview in a few weeks for a company I really want to work for (I don’t want to jinx it!) but if that doesn’t work out, I plan to stay in Liverpool until my rent is up while working at my part-time job and just enjoying my summer while I can!
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so I don’t really like to make long term plans because I genuinely freak myself out thinking about the future. If it’s meant to be, it will be!
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?
Ciara: That question freaks me out even reading it! In 12 months time, hopefully I’m working for the company that I’m interviewing with and progressing towards a promotion. But overall, I just want to be happy with whatever I’m doing, wherever I’m doing it. Even if that means I’m not doing my dream job.
What’s the number one highlight of your entire university experience and why?
Ciara: Omg – there’s too many to name! I would definitely say working with PrettyLittleThing on my consultancy project. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences so far! I would say the biggest highlight is meeting lifelong friends – especially in final year. I have met some of the most amazing people and I honestly couldn’t have gotten through university without them. Shout out to my Old Framework baddies!
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to after graduating?
Ciara: I’m just excited for my future in general. I’ve been pretty lucky with the experiences I’ve had in life so far and I’m interested to see what else the universe throws in my direction! Bring it on!
What’s one thing you’re fearing about life after graduation?
Ciara: I think the one thing I’m fearing the most is where I’m going to be. I’m such a family person and they are the most important people to me, but in terms of the career I want – it doesn’t involve me living in Northern Ireland. I’m sure you can relate to this! However, I will never say never!