Trying to Find Work (as a Graduate)

Image: Pixabay

So, it’s been a week or so since this series was launched. This post will probably not be as optimistic as my last, since it has been a week of failed job applications and applying for internships without hearing any responses. But hey, I’m just trying to keep this portrayal of post-student life real.

Alas, I am still trying to fight of a sinus infection and shift the constant runny nose and coughing up mucus (icky I know). My head feels heavy from all the antibiotics and I can’t help but spend half the time yearning to have a properly functioning throat and nose again.

They say that applying for jobs should be treated as a full-time job, and I very much agree. It is so time consuming writing a cover letter for every position, researching the company and filling out the various forms required for that application. But also, it is incredibly draining. And the worst of it is – 9/10 you will never hear back and when you do, it’s a big fat rejection.

What I find frustrating too is the assumption that anybody and everybody lives in London. Obviously, there are far more opportunities in the big city, but no scheme factors in the costs of doing unpaid experience for two weeks which could cost you an arm and leg just for the commute. Thus, a pile of money is needed in the first place.

I am turning away from pleaing for work experience and un-paid internships, as it is simply unaffordable. Instead, I have been applying for paid graduate schemes in publishing on the off chance they might like my sheer enthusiasm for books and forget about my imminent lack of experience. *sighs*

A part of me also still wants to pursue a career in journalism but getting experience (at any level) has almost proved impossible too. The constant empty applications, unanswered emails and phone calls from various editors has simply left me feeling down about it all. It’s a career I would love to have a chance at, but I can’t help but feel from my small experience, it is one locked away for the few.

And it would be quite nice to have a job on the side of all this to keep me going – but that doesn’t appear to be on the horizon either. And I’ve only got one pay check left from my last job….

January is going well so far, as you can tell. Only ten days until I graduate – then the lack of prospects will well and truly kick in.

Onwards and upwards, as they say 🙂

As always, if you would like to support me and my content, you can donate to my paypal.

How and Why to Read for Pleasure

Image: Pixabay

The common response to not reading is nearly always lack of time. This may definitely be true in some cases, however, when I think about how much time many people spend on their phones, on watching Netflix, on browsing the web and online shopping, I can’t help but think these activities could be substituted for reading (if they wanted to be).

Reading for pleasure is not a luxury and shouldn’t be dismissed as so.

I have had a love hate relationship with the rise of E-readers and Kindles – when I was younger I ardently opposed them and thought their use would see the end of the physical book. Alas, since 2007, when the first Kindle was released, the sales of paperback books have still been thriving. (I know this, having worked as a bookseller…)

To kindle… or not to kindle?

The Kindle and other e-readers offer something great – which is being able to take your bookcase with you everywhere. Books can be bulky and feel like an effort to take with you on your commute or travels and thus, a Kindle can save this burden.

I finally succumbed to being a Kindle user last year – although I have (and never will) abandon reading and buying physical books. I see the benefits of both and cannot see why readers shouldn’t use both. Moreover, I simply do not have the space to keep all the books that I want to read. Rather, I am far more selective about what books I buy now. Which is good for me, and the trees.

Fundamentally, Kindle’s make reading more accessible than perhaps the physical book. For one, many E-Books are usually cheaper than your average £7.99 paperback or £20 hardback, and they are great for people who have poor eyesight, with the adjustable font size and brightness.

Upon using a Kindle for the first time back in September, I really was surprised at how much it felt like I was reading physical pages. (This is not a sponsored post I promise, I just really like my Kindle….) Still not convinced?

How to make time for reading

  • Make it routine – this is the best way to make it a habit. Usually spend 10 minutes before bed scrolling on your phone? Switch your phone off and substitute it for a book. Your eyes and sleep will thank you for it.
  • Start small and build up – find the idea of spending an hour with a book daunting? Then don’t. Give yourself small goals, like reading one chapter at a time, or reading for 10 minutes every other day. This also works for the size of your books.
  • Stuck with what to read? Use the web There are some great websites out there – such as Goodreads, Fantastic Fiction and Literature Map. Or, you can do it the old fashioned way and go to your local bookshop and chat with a bookseller – they will be more than happy to assist! (Trust me!)
  • Don’t feel guilty – it may feel like self indulgence to switch yourself off from the world and your surroundings, but it isn’t. Reading for pleasure is a great way to improve your own mental health, imagination and knowledge.

Why you should make time to read

  • Taking a break from social media – reading has always been about escapism, but in the digital age it can be great to detach yourself from social media, especially before bed. If you have an iPhone, change your app settings to restrict your access – and then let yourself indulge in a book.
  • Benefits to mind, body and spirit – a good book will make you think and challenge you beyond your comfort zone. On a personal level, I also find that reading is good for my mental health and makes me feel more relaxed (especially when in the bath!)
  • Self indulgence is good – from time to time, it is good to self indulge and have that one-to-one time with yourself. This is something you should never feel guilty about. With reading, it’s just you and the book. Reading for pleasure as a form of self care is something that should be championed in the 2020s.

I hope this has been somewhat uplifting for anyone that is stuck in a reading rut or struggling to find time to read. Now that I spend more time reading, I do feel better in all senses. Happy reading!

V 🙂

Reading in progress: Ducks, Newburyport

Image: Galley Beggar Press

I am almost four hundred pages into Lucy Ellmann’s 2019 Booker prize shortlisted work, which would usually be pretty much near the end of a usual paperback. However, it feels like I have a life time to go before I reach the final end. Trust me, I am enjoying it really (in bouts).

I was drawn to reading the novel, I admit, slightly because of its reputation but more because of its standout title and appearance. Featuring a blue cover with a rubber duck on the inside jacket, accompanied by the prestige of a Booker prize nominee sticker – I thought, what could go wrong?

The truth be told – I have gone through waves of loving and hating this book. However, one thing is for sure, I have never read anything like it and I definitely admire it for its attempt to re-work the barriers of fiction and the message it is trying to convey. In sense, I feel connected to it as the main character has all the types of worries and weird thoughts as I do.

And it feels especially relatable at the moment, considering Donald Trump’s recent actions in Iran.

Overall, despite its (at times) frustrating lack of format and order; I am drawn to the Ohio housewife’s critique of the world; especially contemporary American issues, however, I admit, I am missing the traditional structures of the novel. Chapters, dialogue, charaterisation and background. But I can’t help thinking, perhaps that’s the very point?

Upon finishing, I will update in due course.

Diary of a graduate (p.1)

Image: Yours truly (Violet Daniels)
A nice hazy sky and some trees

Some observant followers may have noticed my blog getting a nice revamp in recent days. But I suspect most of you probably haven’t noticed (I probably wouldn’t have).

Delving into WordPress premium is part of my (sort of New Years resolution but not as I don’t really believe in all that) decision to really invest in this blog.

Countless failed attempts to get work experience in journalism and writing has made me realise that maybe I need to just try and make it on my own… somehow?! At least if I don’t have experience, I may have this.

So January is a big month for me – I am finally graduating from the University of York with a Bachelor’s degree in History; only five or six months later than planned. When this is published, I won’t have graduated yet but I thought I would give some kind of background to where I am now,

If I’m honest, I’m not really looking forward to the process and would like it over with sooner rather than later. Just let me grab my certificate and run… I suppose the experience of wearing that funny hat is what really matters.

If I’m honest, when I think back to my degree it almost feels like a lifetime ago, and that I was living in some hazy, alternate reality far away from life as it is now. I do miss the constant learning and academic rigor that came with my degree. Part of me thinks I am not quite done with studying yet, which may be another path for me to go down (if I can pay off my already acquired student overdraft)…

As my graduation looms ahead of me like a dark cloud, I can’t help but feel like I need to kick myself in gear a bit more in terms of my ‘career’, as I can no longer claim I am a student after January.

September to December were some really good months for me, I was working in a bookshop which I loved but now that temporary job is over and I am once again unemployed and have not had any luck with finding work.

I guess this ‘diary of a graduate’ series is an attempt to convey the realities of post university life as a young adult trying to find their ways into the world. I will be documenting my struggles, experiences and any successes I may have, in a hope to convey the reality of life after university and a graduate trying to find whatever is meant to be next.

I will also be documenting my attempts to get experience in the writing/journalism/publishing industry. It may be of interest, it may not but I feel like it might be worthwhile even if it is just a personal document for me.

That’s it for part one – I hope at least one person enjoyed this 🙂

V

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November in Books

Image: The Guardian

A short but sweet one from me this month. I have spent more time selling books than reading them, but nonetheless I still managed to make my way through two.

Broken Harbor, Tana French (2013) Crime Fiction

Set in a coastal Irish town, Broken Harbor follows the unraveling of an attempted triple murder that occurred in a seemingly perfect family home. French frames the murder through the eyes of one prominent suspect, however, it all becomes far more complex as the novel progresses.

Not only is the crime not what is seems, the area itself and all the promised dreams of suburbia it was meant to fulfill to middle-class newly-wed couples, is far from the lived reality. On the surface, the lives of Patrick and Jenny Spain always appeared to be happy, thriving and successful. But behind closed doors there appeared to be something far more sinister lurking.

A group of lifelong friends encompass the parameters of the novel as memories from the past begin to haunt the present. Not all that glitters is gold for the lives of Patrick and Jenny Spain.

I very much enjoyed this novel and was genuinely surprised at the twist. I found myself invested in the lives of the Spain’s and the type of life they appeared to suggest to their friends and family. I will definitely be reading more of French.

4/5

Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murkami (2019) Fiction

Murakami’s latest novel follows the life of a Japanese, recently divorced painter who abandons his life in Tokyo, for a secluded house in the mountains of former famous painter, Tomohiko Amada.

In this move, the painter hopes his immersion in rural life and the home of such a former successful painter, will transform his own work to have more meaning. Tired of painting the same souless commissioned portraits, he hopes to create works of art with far more depth and understanding.

He soon makes friends with his neighbor across the hills who lives in a glaringly big mansion – which has parallels to Gatsby’s manor across from Nick Caraway in The Great Gatsby. Murakami has regularly stated that he draws influence from F Scott Fitzgerald; and in many ways this novel does in the discussion of wealth and beauty which is contrasted with moderate simplicity.

A strange series of events involving the discovery of an ancient well, a hidden historical painting in Amanda’s attic and the disappearance of a young girl change the unassuming painter’s life forever.

This new novel from Murakami is arguably one of his best, where he appears to return to his earlier style featuring a single protagonist and an acute eye for detail and synchronous beauty. I loved this book but I am biased towards Murakami as always.

5/5