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My Life After Kingston

Posted 4 Aug 2014 by Timea

 

I can't remember the exact date but it's about two years since I handed in my last paper. Time flies and I miss education!

Despite the fact that I have always known what I wanted to become, and have always envisioned a specific career path I wanted to follow, when I finished my studies I became one of those alumni who lost direction and was reaching out for something to hold on to. Many graduates just want to find 'a job' when they finish their studies but I needed a few months to narrow down the list of positions I truly wanted to apply for.

I was lucky enough to land a Project Manager position in the furniture and interior design industry - a position that I have held for more than a year and a half. I quickly fell in love with interior design and found myself working in a very colourful environment in which I saw endless possibilities. My responsibility is to deliver interior design and refurbishment projects to clients, making sure that the projects are kept within the specified budget and time frame.

Kingston University has had a great impact on my development as a student as well as an individual and I gained invaluable skills that have allowed me to excel in my job. As a Project Manager I have to be very organised and focused. I find myself more efficient when I work under pressure, thanks to my beloved professors who knew how to make me reach my potential during stressful exam periods. Nobody likes problems, but I learnt from the industry I work in, that there are problems everywhere and what differentiates us, is the way we deal with problems and handle stress.

Even if I don't work in the industry I graduated in, I still find myself very interested in Economics and I am truly happy I gained an understanding of the mechanism of the world economy. My degree also helped me in having the capability of developing a thoughtful conversation over current business and economic issues, which often allows me to have a conversation with more senior people than myself.

Looking back at my time at Kingston University, I am happy I got involved in the Students' Union and the Student Ambassador Scheme as well as in other extra-curricular activities, which all together shaped the person I am today. I am still in touch with two professors who kindly helped me with reference letters for my job applications and my application to pursue a Masters programme.

Yes, I decided to return to education! Because I feel that now is the time I can still absorb information and, frankly, I need to feel that I am using my neurons again ;D On the other hand, studying is great but higher education can't teach you all the skills you need in a client-orientated and profit-driven business environment. Therefore it's important to get the most out of education as well as practical work. The downside of the story is that I see many of my fellow graduates settling for lower skilled jobs that do not develop their professional practices further. So the moral of the story is, don't settle for less!

I applied for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship in Strategic Project Management and was readily accepted. I will be studying in Edinburgh, Milano and Umea (Sweden) after which I will receive a diploma from each university, as well as a diploma for undertaking an Erasmus Mundus programme. I was one of the eight lucky candidates (from 1,500) and I know that without my strong foundation from Kingston University, and without my professors I wouldn't have been able to achieve such results. I feel I am now ready to return to the academic world for further growth.

 

Monday

I like to make the most of my holidays so I decided to set today aside for some research. I'm starting a project looking at Young Adult and Children's literature post 1996. Out of a range of novels I chose to study 'Junk' by Melvin Burgess because of its shock in the 1990s. I've also collected a lot of critical essays to read through. Time to get started!

Research, research!

Tuesday

One of Basingstoke's spots to relax. I spent the afternoon in the wonderful sunshine and met up with some friends from uni who live fairly locally. It was a lazy afternoon but just what I needed.

And relax!

Wednesday

I'm still moving things into my new flat which is being redecorated at the moment. Hopefully, I'll be moving most of it up next week for when I am working on the Clearing hotline on results day!

Moving in to my new place!

Thursday

I love speaking to authors on Twitter when I review their novels. I received a lovely note from an author after reviewing her last novel. I'm getting stuck in with her newly released book ‘Where Love Lives' tonight.

A note from an author whose book I reviewed

Friday

I'm so excited that today has been a turning point in my writing. I've got a solid novel plan and I've been writing a few good chapter ideas.

My novel plan

Saturday

A quick McDonalds run in the rain to celebrate my car passing its MOT.

Well done to my car passing its MOT

Sunday

Kingston in the Sunshine! I caught the end of the Kingston food market today with my boyfriend and his Dad. Town was really busy with the sights and smells of the food market. I think it really shows the diversity in Kingston as there were so many different varieties to try.

The wonderful sights and smells of a sunny Kingston!

 

We all know uni can be very expensive and students aren't known for having a lot of money (despite spending a lot of it) but that doesn't mean we should be living on the bread line.

Tip 1. Try and stay at home if you can

It might be the experience of a lifetime living in halls but at home is where the savings are at; from having a fully stocked fridge, to a warm, well-lit house plus little to no rent every month, living at home definitely takes the strain off your wallet.

Tip 2. Stick to the Basics

From store own brands foods to unnamed branded clothes - there's nothing wrong the basics and its usually cheaper. You'd be surprised at how much a branded label can bump up the total price.

Tip 3. Discount!

If you really are a shopaholic then at least try not to pay full price for your gear; many shops offer discounts especially for students, there's also the NUS card and some stores even have vouchers available online that can be found when googled. Don't forget clothing stores often have summer and winter sales which means the same great stuff at up to half the price.

Tip 4. Double Up

If you're living with flatmates likely chances are you'll need the same thing, it makes no sense to buy two sets of groceries or cutlery or toiletries - instead put your money together. You'll find that you don't spend as much individually and you might even get bulk discounts for buying more with your combined funds.

Tip 5. Budget!

This tip is literally the most crucial advice you'll be given when it comes to financial management. A budget details your incomings and outgoings and gives you an idea of where you can cut back or where to better allocate your resources - A bit of advance planning never hurt anyone.

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