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 sixth interviewee to talk about #FinalYearFear is Lucy Hayball, who was the 2017 winner of the #BestPRBlogs competition, being named the UK’s Best PR Student Blogger for that year. I feel like I’ve been on a long journey with Lucy from second year, through working for similar companies during placement year and now both feeling the same struggles of final year and we are yet to actually meet! I’m very excited to see what the future has in store for Lucy as I’m sure it will be a very bright one.
Lucy is in her final year of the BA (Hons) Public Relations course at Bournemouth 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?
Lucy: I am writing this post having survived deadline week! Things at the moment are manic, so much work to do! Final year is going well on a whole though. It’s crazy to think that there are only a few weeks to go until the end – it’s come around so quickly.
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?
Lucy: Definitely! Each year has presented its challenges and the first two years were mainly me finding my feet and confidence. Placement year then gave me the confidence boost I very much needed and helped me to see where I could be post-graduation.
Since coming back, I have been much more disciplined with myself and how I’m spending my time. I feel like I’m working a lot harder than I ever have which can only be a good thing, right?!
Seeing where I could be and experiencing it for a year is providing all my motivation for this year. Having that industry experience means that what you are learning seems more topical and I’m constantly relating back to my placement year.
How have you found transitioning back to university life after placement?
Lucy: I actually found the transition harder than I initially thought. I’d go as far to say that I found it easier to go from university to work than work back to university. I absolutely loved my placement year which I don’t think made the transition any easier; I really struggled. It just felt weird to go from earning money and 9-5 ‘work mode’ back to the laid back student life. Work stress is a whole different ball game than deadline stress.
My first assignment back was a shock to the system – how do you reference again?! I’ve tried to stick to the ‘treat university like a 9-5 job’ approach most of the time which seems to have worked fairly well.
Now that you’ve experienced life in the corporate world, are you excited to go back or sad to leave university behind?
Lucy: I am so excited to go back to the working world! Don’t get me wrong, student life has its perks. You aren’t tied down, you can do what you want when you want and the student discount is a big win.
Whilst I have enjoyed my time at university and looking back recently, it has been an incredible journey, I am so excited for the future. Like I said above, I have seen where I could be and can’t wait to get started in my career. I feel like it’s the right time.
THE ‘D’ WORD
Have you had to write a dissertation this year? How’s that going?
Lucy: Yes, I am well into dissertation writing now – six weeks until deadline day! Stress! My dissertation is about the credibility of Instagram advertisements posted by influencers so very much linked to what I did on placement. It is going ok(ish) I think. It is just one of those things that you need to keep yourself disciplined with. I’m hoping it remains steady…
Do you think you could have approached it better? Any advice for final years writing one next year?
Lucy: Hindsight is a wonderful thing; I could have definitely approached it better. I got so caught up in placement and summer that I didn’t really sit down to properly plan out a topic and the time crept up very quickly – considering your topic early is my biggest tip.
Never underestimate how beneficial keeping tabs on what you have read can be too – I ended up reading a tonne of literature but luckily I noted it all down with key themes etc. which made writing my literature review much easier.
Oh and be organised. It is incredibly time consuming so the more organised you are, the better.
THE FUTURE AWAITS
What are your plans for the future? Have you secured a job/grad scheme? Are you planning to travel? Masters?
Lucy: I’ve decided against a masters at the moment. I feel like I’ve had a great educational journey but the thought of continuing my university education right now is not even a thought – I’m ready to go and try something new!
I haven’t secured a job or grad scheme yet which does slightly scare me but I know the right thing will come at the right time. I’m a firm believer in the fact that the role needs to be right for me, doing something in somewhere I am passionate in. I would love to travel eventually but I don’t know, I just feel I’m ready to start my career now and I’m not fussed about having a break.
Are you worried that you have nothing arranged or planned after graduating?
Lucy: I am completely panicking that I do not have a plan. When searching for placements, I secured L’Oréal in December and had six months to arrange the big move to London so I think that is why I am slightly panicking. It feels wrong to not have a plan.
I am actively looking at the moment with a few exciting meetings lined up over the coming weeks so I can only hope that I have some good news very soon to stop me stressing.
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?
Lucy: Without sounding cringe, in twelve months I just want to be in a job and a place that I’m happy. I would love to be approaching a promotion or increased responsibility with clear key wins. I want to feel like I’ve made a difference.
What’s the number one highlight of your entire university experience and why?
Lucy: I’ve recently been drafting my ‘final university post’ reflecting back on the past four years and to be honest, I’ve really struggled with this; there are so many! If I had to break it down into my top two it would be:
- Placement year – I learnt and developed more than I thought possible in one year and I will forever be grateful for every opportunity that came my way whilst there.
- The people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made. I have met some incredible people along the way – we’ve seen each other at our most stressed and our absolute best and I can’t wait to see what we all get up to after university. I’m so grateful to have met the people I have. We’ve had some amazing memories over the years.
University is a journey that if done right will be an entire highlight on its own and I’m so thankful for each and every opportunity and person along the way who has made it what it is.
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to after graduating?
Lucy: I’m looking forward to finally starting my first job and starting a new chapter in my life. University has been a massive part of my life for four years and I cannot wait to see what I get up to. I’m looking forward to starting something new.
What’s one thing you’re fearing about life after graduation?
Lucy: Not being good enough? I think there is so much pressure surrounding that first graduate job and this is something that I am very much aware of. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best that I can be and the fear of going into a job and not being good enough scares me. Oh, and the price of London rent.