What to do when you don’t know what to do?

Written by Cherelle Ashley

As much as we may hate to admit to it, we have all felt lost or on the wrong track at some point on our journey as SELLL students. Whether you wallow in Netflix, Sam Jacks or in chocolate, we have all spent too many days wondering what to do and getting nowhere. This blog is here to help you face your fear. Hopefully these 5 tips can help you on your way to realising what it is you want to do with your SELLL degree.

First you were afraid …

Money and fancy graduate schemes are not everything. Stop being afraid to chase something you love and turn your passion in to a career. Make a list of 5 hobbies or interests that you are passionate about. For example, I volunteer as a Dementia friend and enjoying working with and helping vulnerable adults. On a separate diagram make a list of 5 skills you are naturally good at. These can be anything from being focussed to being talkative. Finally, once you have these diagrams log on to the Prospects website and look for careers in sectors that utilise your skills and passions. The website will ask you to create a profile and will use the skills you have to suggest jobs. This website is great if you know a few different areas/sectors you would enjoy but not a lot about specific roles within these. Each role has a job description, an average salary and a summary of a route in to the job.

http://www.prospects.ac.uk/

Then you were petrified …

Ok, so you have some ideas and now you are panicking about how to fine-tune these ideas and how to get relevant experience. This is usually the time where you would put on an episode of Prison Break and get out the foxes biscuits. Not this time. Before enjoying a night off, browse the careers website. Here, there are lots of useful pages such as contacts details for students working in careers suitable for SELLL graduates (https://apps.ncl.ac.uk/graduateconnections/) and opportunities for volunteer work. (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/careers/develop/workExperience/finding.php).

Whilst these can be competitive they may give you an idea about what sort of volunteer work you would enjoy, you can then go and look for some yourself. Furthermore, the drop in times for the Careers service are pretty much all week.

(http://www.ncl.ac.uk/careers/about/news/item/drop-in-times-during-the-holidays).

These specialists will help you fine-tune which career would be good for you. Also, take along your diagrams so they can get to know you, your skills and your interests.

Kept thinking you could never live without university on your side … 

Besides the Careers website there are many ways to explore career options independently, the most efficient way is to email. Don’t be afraid of emailing magazines, primary schools, local youth centres and so forth about some work experience. Experience is key. Not only does it boost your CV which is good for employers, it allows you to test the waters, which is good for you. The answer to the all important and terrifying question ‘how will I know what I want to do?’ is essentially, ‘when you know what you don’t want to do’. In step one I asked you to focus on your skills, well don’t forget that one way to know what you want to do is realising your shortcomings. The Careers service is a helping hand, a push in the right direction. You can do it alone.

Then you spent so many nights thinking how SELLL did you wrong…

We all get scared that our Humanities degrees could turn out to be a waste of time. Do not fear SELLL students, Humanities degrees are still highly sought after. All you need to do is pin point what the degree itself has taught you. Make a list of 3 exercises you have enjoyed whilst on your course i.e. a group presentation, then write down one key skill you learnt from this. Not skills that you naturally possess, like in step one, but ones that you have had to learn. A good idea would be to write down something that you found difficult at first, doing this will make it easier for future employers to see how your degree has been and could be useful.

But you grew STRONG! And this SELLL blog helped you along!

Hopefully after reading this blog and following these simple steps you have narrowed down your passions, hobbies and skills and have been inspired to test the waters in a range of different careers before settling on just one. Remember, SELLL yourself!

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