Three years of my life as an EU student of English Literature at the University of East Anglia,England.
Today I went to the Recruitment and Opportunities Fair in the Sportspark! I’ve been quite stressed and worried recently about internships and my future in general as I explained in my previous article so I was looking forward to this event, hoping that it would reassure me a bit of open up job opportunities – and it did not. Instead, it made me feel even more confused.
There were lots of stands with people talking about volunteering, internships, training schemes and graduate jobs. They were giving out leaflets, cool stuff (free pens, sweets, chocolate and a stress ball which, I’m sure, will prove to be useful) and explained what they offered and do for students and graduates. The big problem is that careers related to English Literature (or the humanities in general) were very underrepresented: there was a lot about finance, accounting, marketing and even about the army! To be fair, there were quite a few people working closely with children or in education and teaching but not all English Literature students plan to be teachers. The friend from my course I went with to the fair had the same feeling. Another problem is that lots of opportunities, especially paid (or even unpaid) internships are not in Norwich. A lot seems to happen in London. Although that’s understandable, how are students supposed to pay for that, while paying for their rent at university as well? I know that’s just how it is and there’s nothing to do about it but that just seems so unfair and impossible to me.
I’m trying to be as open as possible about these opportunities so I asked a lot about teaching but to be honest, I don’t think that’s the right career path for me. I won’t exclude this option for now and need to read more about it. An employer was telling me about what they do to help children in poorer areas and that the only requirement is to have an undergraduate degree, which is great because I do not plan to do a postgraduate degree or a PhD. I’ll keep that in mind!
I went to talk to one of the career central advisors present in the Sportspark to answer questions and I asked about my plans to work in the translation industry or in anything that may involve some translation, literary or not… The answers I got were not satisfying at all since both women I talked to seem to know less than me about this.
One thing that’s really been bothering me recently is the realisation that I’m very unlikely to get the dream job early in my life, or to get it at all. That’s fine, that’s life and I have to work gradually towards my goals and explore different things. However when I go and ask for advice with a really open mind, saying that I’d be happy doing any type of internship even loosely related to English, translation, writing, teaching etc., advisors seem disappointed that I don’t seem to have clear career plans. I do have plans. But I don’t want to close some doors and miss opportunities.
I am very disappointed about the lack opportunities to do with English today to be honest. I’ll probably learn a lot more if they do another “Working with words and languages” event like they last February since it will be much more specific. Meanwhile, I’ll keep reading about internships (paid or unpaid) that could help me gain valuable work experience because it seems like it’s absolutely necessary everywhere.
At least the highlight of the day was when some girls started telling me about the Puppet Theatre in Norwich and how they worked with kids in schools and all and ended up asking me if I wanted to sign up for their newsletter. I had to admit I wasn’t interested and couldn’t do it anyway because I’m scared of puppets. They laughed a lot.