I recently came across an online article about the most ridiculous ways some students have spent their student loans. This immediately brought to mind my own student days and I can still – vividly – remember the buzzing feeling of
seeing a huge balance on my bank account on the day the loan arrived. Luckily, I didn’t spend it all on an Elvis Presley bust (read the article below to find out more…). No, I was sensible and used it to pay for driving lessons. Well, I used most of it for that. The rest, well, goodness knows what I did with it. Honestly, I probably did a lot of ‘fun’ stuff (buying a lot of shoes comes to mind). And, since I did my degree in fashion, a big chunk of the loan was spent in fabric shops and the like – I am a self-confessed hoarder of all things crafty.
But, looking back now to my student years and the time I’ve since spent working, I can see a few things I would have done differently. Besides being wiser with my money, I would have definitely spent more time exploring different career opportunities. Doing a creative degree was great; three years filled with sketching, pattern drafting and sewing was heaven for me. But after the degree, I was none the wiser about what I really wanted to do with my life. It was so easy to just think about the here and now, and not plan for the future at all.
I ended up moving abroad fairly quickly after graduation – in fact, two days after! – which made it even harder for me to pursue the dream of working in a creative role. I never completely stopped using the skills learnt during my degree, designing and making bespoke dresses, and crafting in my free time, but earned my living by working in roles that were not that creative at all.
Do I regret not embarking on a creative career straight after graduation? Yes, sometimes I do. I wish I would have been a bit more sensible (yes, sensible) about the choices I made. But, on the other hand, I got to travel and live in some amazing places, and during my travels I grew as a person more than I ever would have if I had gone straight into employment from uni. So, if I could give my 20-year-old self some advice retrospectively, I would tell myself to at least think about different future paths during my studies, and to use holidays between studies wisely by experimenting with career options, rather than just lay on the beach. That way, my choices might not be any smarter than they were, but at least they would have been informed decisions, not wild guesses. But, I cannot go back in time or change the past. You, as a current student on the other hand, do have the opportunity to experiment with career options here and now. Be smart with those opportunities, just like you need to be smart with your student loan.
So, about that Elvis Presley bust… you can read about it here.
Your Placements Team x