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.
The first interviewee to talk about #FinalYearFear is Kiri Paul, who was lucky to spend her placement year working alongside me in the Luxury department at Coty (I’m kidding) ((not really)). Kiri had the very glamorous job as the Marketing intern for Gucci, Chloé and Tiffany & Co. among others.
Kiri is in her final year of the BA (Hons) Fashion Marketing course at University of Arts, London. To find out about her placement year, you can find her Placement Profile here.
Orlagh: Hello stranger, how are things with you? How are you finding final year at the minute?
Kiri: Surprisingly, everything is going great with me at the moment! I thought going back to university was going to be a struggle but so far it has been fairly smooth *touches wood*. I am very close to the finish line and I can’t quite believe how quick the past couple of months have gone.
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?
Kiri: Definitely. In first and second year I was definitely trying to find my feet and understand my ways of working but having taken a year out for my placement and coming back to university, my mindset and approach has transformed. I believe I am much more positive and possess a can-do / get-stuff-done kind of attitude. I am much more organised with my time which means I have much more free time and I’m not as stressed.
How have you found transitioning back to university life after placement?
Kiri: It’s been hard – I was so used to the 9-5 routine that the flexibility of my university schedule threw me off a bit. However, because I enjoy a routine and structured day, I have continued this throughout my final year. I study 9-4 Monday to Friday which means I have the evenings and weekends to do as I wish.
Now that you’ve experienced life in the corporate world, are you excited to go back or sad to leave university behind?
Kiri: A mix of both. I can’t wait to get into the world of work, start earning a proper salary and developing myself professionally and personally. But at the same time, I really like how much free time I have at university. I can plan my days as I wish, go out when I want and binge-watch several Netflix series and not feel guilty.
THE ‘D’ WORD
Have you had to write a dissertation this year? How’s that going?
Kiri: I have opted to create a marketing development report, which is equivalent to a dissertation but is more creative and visual which I think is better suited to me. I am near the end and again because I managed my time so well I haven’t yet panicked or stressed out about the deadline or workload. Fingers crossed nothing changes in the next couple of weeks.
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?
Kiri: My top tips:
- Prep early, try and finalise your subject topic, methodology etc. as soon as possible as it makes the process so much easier.
- Create a schedule / calendar of key deadlines and when you want to complete certain sections by. This helped me to keep my project on track as well as manage a part-time job and ensure I made time for myself and social activities.
- Utilise your resources, especially the people you meet on your placement. Your colleagues have a great depth of knowledge and insight that can really add value to your dissertation. Ask for their help, opinions and general support.
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?
Kiri: Yes, I have secured a job at POPSUGAR as a sales planner and I start in May. I have chosen not to take any time off as I feel like I am ready to begin working towards my goals.
I also didn’t apply for any graduate schemes as I didn’t find any roles that I liked or companies I was completely passionate about. I think when looking for jobs after graduation it is very important that you are invested in the role and company as it makes the responsibilities much more enjoyable.
How did you find the application process for your graduate job – was it similar to your placement applications?
Kiri: The application process was slightly easier than my placement process as I didn’t have to participate in any assessment day and didn’t have the pressure of meeting other candidates. I was interviewed twice and had to create and present a presentation about a marketing campaign I liked and thought was successful.
I started applying in February but found a lot of the roles were looking for someone to start immediately, so I paused and began applying again in March.
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?
Kiri: Within a year I would like to think I am in the same company but progressing towards a promotion or just generally feel like I’m developing. I would like to have more responsibility and input within the business and feel like I am adding value.
What’s the number one highlight of your entire university experience and why?
Kiri: There is too many! I definitely think it’s all the work experiences / jobs I have obtained during my studies and the people I have met. I learned so much from the people around me and created some amazing memories.
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to after graduating?
Kiri: Working in an industry I am passionate about and working towards my goals.
What’s one thing you’re fearing about life after graduation?
Kiri: Less holidays – not sure how I am going to cope!