A 21st Century Graduate

As a graduate at the end of the year, there are a million questions that are racing through my head as the clock slowly ticks down the time that will bring my university career to an end. Are my results good enough? Where and when do I apply for a job? Do I apply for an internship or a graduate programme? Am I really ready to enter the world of work when all I can make is a slice of toast? Although it is deemed natural to stress and worry, it really is important to keep a clear head when making large life decisions such as future career choices and the next step after tertiary education.

I have always been eager to learn about the industry from a hands-on point of view, jumping at every opportunity to expose me to what line of work I’ll be pursuing after completing my degree. This thought process has bode me well in terms of next year, as I have made important and valuable contacts, as well as learned, from a practical standpoint, what the industry really entails. Although it may sound like an easy task at hand, the process of finding professionals willing to take on an intern or a shadow is very difficult. From numerous no-replies and a few maybes, to yeses; the follow-through process is exhausting as a yes changes to a no and the declines still don’t change into a yes. From my experience, this is a challenge of endurance and facing the disappointment from a head-on perspective, using the opportunity to carry on applying and requesting, instead of leaving the next step for later.

I have been lucky enough to be apart of an internship and several work experience opportunities. These have ranged from good to bad days, from “I studied the wrong degree” to “this is where I can see myself working one day”. The most important part of this self-discovery is keeping an open mind and having an understanding that the worst experiences are usually the most valuable. As far as the industry is concerned, it is dynamic and exciting, busy and fun-filled. It is a place for an individual who wants a different day every day, and who isn’t afraid to take on challenges wholeheartedly.

I can safely say that that this is the industry I have fallen in love with it. Not only does it keep you on your toes, but it is the gateway to meeting interesting people who inspire and motivate. If I had to end off with one piece of advice, it would be that you don’t have to have everything figured out all at once, but rather have a couple of ideas and go for them. Dive in headfirst, challenge yourself and immerse yourself in everything that you love. – Amy Botha, student at the University of Pretoria.


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