Three years of my life as an EU student of English Literature at the University of East Anglia,England.
Over the past few weeks, my life has been a series of unexpected and amazing news! To be honest, I still have trouble believing this is all real and worry that one day I’ll receive a phone call telling me it was all a joke (I’ve read too much Kafka).
I have only submitted my very last essay a little over a week ago and university already feel very far away from me. I’d decided to finish all my projects before applying for graduate opportunities because I was already busy and stressed enough about everything so I didn’t need to add even more pressure. However, during the Easter break I started hearing about lots of very interesting and fun internships, either part-time or full time, for various periods of time, with UEA or elsewhere, through the Career Central and their internship newsletter. I realised I could not and did not want to miss out on those opportunities.
One of them particularly interested me… It was with Big C, a cancer charity located close to UEA, next to Norwich and Norfolk Hospital. The position advertised regarded their vision and strategy development. The role would involve research, presenting and a lot of writing, among other things. Reading the job description – and being very interested in working in the third sector – I thought this would be perfect for me. What made this particular opportunity stand out was the fact that it was full-time, paid and 9-month long!
Basically, if I got it, it meant that I would not have to worry about what I would do after university anyway. And if you know me or read my blog regularly, you probably know how much that worried me – especially after not being accepted for any of the graduate schemes I’d applied to last semester.
With my inner strength and the amazing support I get from my boyfriend and from the Career Central at UEA (who give feedback on CVs, cover letters and give mock interviews), I sent an application I was pleased with. Throughout my time at university and especially this last semester, I’d gained so much varied and transferable work experience. Moreover, I was able to demonstrate a clear interest in working with charities (being a volunteer for two charities, Norwich Mind/The Wellbeing Service and Banana Link) and in educating people, what they were looking for (showed through my work as an Ambassador and volunteering experiences).
And I was invited to an interview! I’d already done a few interviews before (fairly recently) but they were rather relaxed and short. I was intimidated by the fact that I was going to be interviewed for 40 minutes in a big charity but, strangely, I was very relaxed during the interview. To be honest, and it’s not something you’ll hear me say often, I felt confident. I knew that being invited for an interview was a good start, that I had gained a lot of relevant experiences and that if I wasn’t accepted it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I felt like the interview went really well, despite fearing that I’d made a terrible impression by almost arriving late after getting completely lost on my way there (typical me – and I’d left home SUPER early!).
When I got there, I was welcomed by a very nice woman who talked to me a bit to relax before taking me to the interview room. I thought the interview had gone really well and was proud of myself for wearing my most classy outfit ever (so not that classy). I wouldn’t say very often that I think something went well so it must have meant something! Afterwards, the lady who’d welcomed me showed me the place and introduced me to the whole team which I did not expect.
And then I made my way back to UEA without getting lost!
They said they’d get back to me later that week or early the following one. You can imagine my mixed feelings of surprise, horror, shock, stress, joy when I received a call from an unknown number the following day…. And
I GOT THE INTERNSHIP!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀
I could not believe it and I was so shocked and relieved and happy and proud that my hands were shaking so much, my heart beating so fast. Honestly I wanted to cry and I thanked the woman on the phone so many times. This was the end of months and months of stressing about finishing my degree and ending up all alone with no job, nothing to do, no friends or family around and no home. And there I was, in the Arts hub, learning that I’d got the internship and that they wanted me – ME! – to work with them!
So the first thing I did afterwards was ringing my boyfriend, then my parents, and later my grandmother, and I also messaged my closest family members!
I could finally start imagining a future and looking for a new house in Norwich. Luckily I found one quickly through Facebook and the house is on my street! I told you, things are way too perfect at the moment – this is very odd. Another thing I was worried about was moving to another city because it takes me ages to get used to change, new places, and new people (also because I have no car and had no intention to spend a fortune on moving house). Unfortunately, this doesn’t bring me closer to Joshua who’ll be in Southampton for another year, but staying in Norwich means I can continue to live in a city I adore, that I have one extra year to make the most of what’s available here and that I can continue to enjoy its reasonable housing prices. And even better: I will cycle to work every morning through UEA! Amazing.
It all happened very recently, so this was before I’d submitted all my essays which was perfect. Things couldn’t have worked better. What is happening to me? Succeeding at so many things all of a sudden? Feeling confidence? Becoming a REAL adult in the REAL world!! (This last sentence is obviously very sarcastic; I can’t stand it when people talk about after-university as entering the “real world.” Did you think I was dumb and living in dream-land before?) Not only am I a REAL adult now, but I can also show people that you don’t necessarily end up unemployed or working at McDonald’s with a literary/arts/humanities degree (at least for now)! I’m living the dream. #YOLO.
Earlier this week I finally received a confirmation letter, which I eagerly signed and returned! I am already a bit stressed about starting the new chapter of my life and about how I will adapt to it but I am also very very very excited to start working with them! The best thing is, they accepted that I start the internship in September which means that A) I get to go back home to France in August and spend a lot of time with my brother and family (can’t say how happy this makes me), and, B) I know I have something to do until June next year (and after that I hope that Joshua and I can move to London together and find a really cute—erm sorry, I meant overpriced extortionate exorbitant flat there).
I’d planned an article months ago (which I never had time to write) that I wanted to write and release after finishing university. It was going to be called “Who am I going to be?” and was inspired by a poster I’d seen at UEA that had haunted me for ages (and still does). Who am I going to be? Where do I see myself? What do I want to do with my life? Will I have regrets? How to ensure that I will be happy? Most importantly, this question linked back to another one I keep asking myself: How can I make a difference in this world? That’s why I wanted to work with charities so much. I am so happy I am given this opportunity now!
I do not know if I will continue to write regularly on my blog after the summer but one thing is certain: my blog and the three years of my life it represents won’t disappear from the surface of the web, so I might give updates about my time at Big C – and after! 🙂