A First Class Degree and Now What?

Yesterday, I received my final results notification. I will be graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with first class honours in Business with Public Relations in just a few weeks’ time.

This means I’ve finished every one of my university years with a first – woop de doo. It’s only a piece of paper at the end of the day that has cost me £50,000 of debt and for what? In ten years’ time, will I have been able to end up in the same job with a 2:1 or 2:2? Most likely. From what I hear, just having the degree matters more than the mark you get at the end of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of myself for getting a first because I definitely worked hard for it, but I just don’t really see the greatness in the £50k of debt that I will never get back. My university experience has been priceless and the memories and friends I’ve made have been worth every penny – but the degree? I just don’t know.

Leaving Liverpool

For the past month, I’ve been trying to come to terms with leaving Liverpool, as I’m sure you’re sick of me mentioning. My leaving date was originally due to be the 6th of July, but with graduation being the week after, it made sense to extend it until the 15th of July. But even thinking about leaving on that date seemed too soon.

What would I be going back to? Living in the middle of nowhere, not being able to get up in the morning and walk to the gym or walk to the docks at 9pm to watch the sunset or just get up and go and do whatever I wanted to. Oh, and the bars back home close at 1.30am which I can’t be dealing with just yet.

I headed back to Lurgan last Wednesday as I was going to Dublin to watch Fleetwood Mac perform in concert (bucket list moment) and just driving into town from the airport, I knew that I couldn’t come home just yet and spend six weeks doing absolutely nothing. I’d probably be signed into a mental institution in the first week.

So two hours into being home, I emailed my landlord and asked to extend again, so I’m now staying in Liverpool until the beginning of August with no plans and no job whatsoever, but I feel a lot better about doing nothing in Liverpool than doing nothing in Lurgan.

Career plans

When I first started university, I remember people talking about the possibility of being headhunted at the end, when you graduate. I vividly remember thinking, Well that won’t happen to me – I’m studying a degree in PR and I’m not that special to be headhunted when there are so many people available to do that job.

I can hand-on-heart say that I never expected to be in the position that I am in now. I feel so lucky to have so many offers and emails coming my way for positions in London, back home and further afield.

I can say that I have only applied for one position back in March, of which I am (painstakingly) still in the process of and hoping that it will work out. But I am also now in the worst yet best position in that I’ve been offered my absolute dream job in London – which I can’t accept due to still being in the process of the above program.

Two dream jobs, one of which I have been offered and the other I am yet to know for sure whether I have got it. My dilemma is that if I don’t accept my dream job in London that I won’t be successful in the other program and end up with nothing. But then, if I do accept my dream job in London and then end up successful in the program, I will have lost out on that dream job a little further afield.

I know it sounds like a ‘first world problem’ and I am so grateful to be in the position of having my two dream jobs put in front of me, but not being able to accept one without knowing the outcome of the other is slowly putting me over the edge. I don’t even know when I will hear about the program so can’t defer or say ‘can I get back to you on this date?’ which is so annoying.

But, I always say what is for me won’t pass me and I never even thought the dream job in London would be available to me which makes it even harder not to be able to accept it straight away.

What’s meant to be will be, everything will work out how it should and I just have to trust the process. I’m a very impatient person so this not-knowing and waiting game is slowly killing me, but hopefully it will all be worth it. And hopefully I can be a lot less vague with you all in a few weeks when I (hopefully) eventually find out what I will be doing at the end of August.

Winging it first class style

I feel like I’m now the only person left that doesn’t have their future figured out. I graduate in a few weeks and then after that, I have nothing. Not even a part-time job or paying hobby to keep me entertained. The worst thing is that when I’m not busy, my blog falls to the wayside because I lose motivation.

I’m hoping to get my blog mojo back now and read a lot more to get more inspired and come up with new blog posts. If the program I’ve applied for works out you can expect crazy new content from me from August onwards. But if not, hopefully that dream job in London will be available to me and I’ll be back posting about mingling with celebs and living my best London life.

But for now? I have a first class degree in my back pocket and not much to show for it. I’ll be floating through life until I find out the outcome of the program and hopefully entertaining you all with more blog posts and opinion pieces until then.

I can only ask you to cross your fingers (and toes), light a candle, say a prayer or make a wish on 11:11 that everything will work out for me. I think I need all the positive thoughts I can get!

Stay tuned for more posts about my unemployed, uncertain and going-nowhere life for the time being!


A recent graduate of Business with Public Relations from LJMU, Orlagh works in the influencer marketing industry and has just returned to the UK after spending one year working in New York City.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram


  1. June 19, 2019 / 5:43 pm

    Congratulations. I never doubted you.

    Follow your heart next (not the money, yet). Find a place you enjoy working, are appreciated, and which offers you learning opportunities.

    The moment you feel learning is not happening, then it’s time to consider moving on. Again, don’t follow the money (just yet). Follow the experience!

    NB I was clueless in my 20s – but that’s when I did most of my learning. I turned to earning in my 30s.

    • Orlagh Shanks
      June 20, 2019 / 12:05 pm

      Thank you so much for the advice Richard – I definitely need all the advice I can get at the moment! The two jobs are definitely more experience based than salary as I want to learn as much as I can at this early stage. Fingers crossed it all works out!

  2. June 27, 2019 / 12:21 pm

    Congratulations on your first class degree! And best of luck for the future too. It seems like you’re in a great position to start your career.

    • Orlagh Shanks
      June 27, 2019 / 2:52 pm

      Thank you so much Francesca! I really hope so.

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