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 fifth interviewee to talk about #FinalYearFear is Lauren Magee, from my hometown of Lurgan. To say Lauren is an inspiration is an understatement. After a very tough few months, Lauren is on track to finish university and should be incredibly proud of herself as I know everyone around her already is.
Lauren is in her final year of the BA (Hons) Human Resource Management course at University of Ulster, Jordanstown. 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?
Lauren: Things are ok with me. I am going through a very tough time at the minute and it is that little bit more difficult to get to the end of final year. However, it is crunch time in the semester and the pressure is on. I have another deadline to meet and an exam in May. I just want to push on for the next couple of weeks and do the absolute best that I can!
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?
Lauren: Yes of course, there is a huge step up in final year in terms of the workload and the standard that is required. In saying that, final year has been my most enjoyable year at university – friendships are stronger after being back from placement, lecturers are always there to support and the modules are very interesting.
How have you found transitioning back to university life after placement?
Lauren: It was tough at first! I struggled to string a sentence together when writing the first assignment after placement. Although it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things. I think placement really helped my understanding of the topics which made it easier to settle back in and more enjoyable.
Now that you’ve experienced life in the corporate world, are you excited to go back or sad to leave university behind?
Lauren: I will be very sad to leave university behind! Education is all I’ve ever known and it will be very strange not attending classes or worrying about deadlines. However, I am very excited to kick-start my career in the HR industry and take on new challenges.
THE ‘D’ WORD
Have you had to write a dissertation this year? How’s that going?
Lauren: No, fortunately I was not required to write a dissertation! Our main project in final year is a management project which focuses more on the practical issues within an organisation context which is very interesting and relevant.
THE FUTURE AWAITS
What are your plans for the future? Have you secured a job/grad scheme? Are you planning to travel? Masters?
Lauren: At present, I am still working with Acheson and Glover Ltd., my placement employer. My plan is to stay with them until I secure a permanent graduate job. I am not looking to rush into something straight away, I want to make sure it is the right opportunity for me. I would like to spend a few years working in the industry before considering doing a Masters.
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?
Lauren: In 12 months’ time, I hope to be happy and healthy, firstly. I hope to be well settled into an organisation, expanding my network, enhancing my skills and abilities and making a difference to the team/organisation that I am in. I would like to progress quickly up the career ladder.
What’s the number one highlight of your entire university experience and why?
Lauren: The main highlight of my university experience is the social aspect – the nights out, lunch dates and meeting all the wonderful people that I have met. My friends at university are definitely friends for life and I will be making sure that we stay in close touch after graduating.
Obviously, my placement year was another highlight for me as it gave me a true insight into the world of work and HR which definitely made me feel more confident in final year and my graduate job search.
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to after graduating?
Lauren: Hopefully feeling satisfied with my classification, knowing that I tried my absolute best through a really hard time and hopefully I can make everyone (including myself) proud!
Also, I am really looking forward to starting my career in the HR industry and embracing the exciting opportunities that lie ahead of me.
What’s one thing you’re fearing about life after graduation?
Lauren: Not having as long of holiday breaks! Just kidding! The fear of not having education as a safety net anymore. Education is all I’ve ever known and whilst my placement year and working is great, I always know that I will be going back to university so I think it will be quite daunting to think, “this is going to be me forever,” which is also why I really want to wait and find a great job that I know I will enjoy.
“Life is too short to spend time doing something you hate.”