If Plan A doesn’t work out, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet…

Katie Thick graduated from the University of Exeter with a BA in Geography in 2017. Katie talked to us about life after University, applying for a Graduate Business Partnership, and how she plans to take her career forward.

You can read the magazine here Ex.ac.uk/itz or get a paper copy from The Career Zone. 

Katie Thick, Exeter alum and ‘In the Zone’ Editor

My time at Exeter was a rocky road and didn’t quite go to plan. During my final year I prioritised my academic studies and didn’t have a work-life balance. My mind-set was glued to studying, meaning I hardly had time to enjoy being a student, let alone think of career ideas. Unfortunately my health deteriorated and I had to take an interruption from my studies. At this point I thought I’d failed. Upon my return to Exeter, and having finally completed my degree, I reflected on how my time out from University had benefitted me massively.

For the past year I had dipped my toes into various retail and customer facing roles. I enjoyed working with my colleagues, however I struggled with the repetitive nature of the role and was eager to progress my career…

“I really enjoyed writing the magazine and adding my own wellbeing/holistic twist. The magazine features an array of student case studies and supportive services to help current students and recent graduates with any career-related challenges.”

My GBP role has been fantastic. I have a passion to work in Higher Education and wanted to learn about the behind the scenes work at the University. My placement was in the Career Zone where I was tasked to produce the latest edition of the ‘In the Zone’ magazine. I really enjoyed writing the magazine and adding my own wellbeing/holistic twist which I hope will bring comfort to those students who currently feel in limbo with career plans. The magazine features an array of student case studies and supportive services to help current students and recent graduates with any career-related challenges. I’ve used my own experience of a less ‘traditional’ University path to help guide anyone who may be feeling a little lost. Believe me, it’s okay to feel lost and it’s okay to take time to gain confidence and become more self-aware.

Initially I had applied for various roles in Higher Education across the South West before successfully applying for the GBP. I was fortunate to have been selected for various interviews, but struggled to take that final step and be successfully appointed to the role. Remaining resilient and eager to learn I asked for feedback from each and every employer, to which majority answered ‘lack of experience’. I was disheartened by the job rejections and felt employers were not willing to give me the experience I needed.

“I learnt it’s really important not to take things to heart, but in your stride. Knock backs are tests; we fall but come back stronger.”

During my placement I’ve continued to make use of the Career Zone as both an employee and as a graduate. Did you know that the Career Zone are there to support you up to three years after graduating? I decided to attend the Personal Resilience session as I had felt I needed to learn how to manage career stresses more effectively. I learnt it’s really important not to take things to heart, but in your stride. Knock backs are tests; we fall but come back stronger. So keep trying and keep persevering, make the most of each challenge or task you face, because one day it will be your day to succeed.

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