There are a lot of challenges to face when transitioning from a student into the work world, but the major issue lies in the fact that university education does not prepare an individual for real-life situations. Sure, we have the knowledge under our belts from school, but getting and holding a job in the field requires an entirely different set of skills.
Whilst I have a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, from one of the top universities in the UK, I was quick to learn that going to university does not guarantee an income or career path. Furthermore, in my generation, numerous students enrol in higher education because they feel that it is expected of them. Because of this, many do not have their reasons lined out as to why they want to be there, which leads to them sleep-walking through their time at university, and achieving very little in the process. This was my problem too. I had worked exceptionally hard to get a place at my university. but once I arrived, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I did not have my interests, goals and purposes lined out, and as a consequence, I spent much of my time floating from day-to-day and letting opportunities slip past me.
However, unlike many of my peers, I recognised this problem, and knew that I needed to do something about it. I wanted to find an internship where the skills that I have learned at university would really be tested in a professional environment. I wanted to find myself in real-life situations where, instead of being hand-held and carried through a system, I would have real responsibility for my actions and decision-making. However, as my degree choice did not offer a work-placement option, I knew that I would have to take initiative to make it happen. After contacting many different departments, and repetitively visiting the employability team, I eventually managed to persuade them to create a new course that would give me the opportunity to work abroad in my third year of study.
Now into my fourth month at Chilcotin Holidays, I have already gained far more real-life experience than I ever imagined that I would. I am constantly challenged, given real responsibility, and have fallen flat on my face on more times than I could count. And whilst the experience that I am gaining here is worth its weight in gold, the most valuable lesson that I am learning is that if I want to achieve my interests, goals and purposes in life, I am the one who has got to make it happen. The famous phrase that “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” is repeated regularly here, and there is a clear reason for it. Opportunities at the ranch are offered left, right and centre. But unlike at university, they won’t be handed on a plate. Only if I take initiative, responsibility and have the right attitude will I be able to take full advantage of them; to grow, evolve and achieve my goals and purposes in life. This was my transformational journey to personal growth.
Molly, UK (January 2019)