Life After Graduation | Gracie - University of Winchester

By Issy Goode - 19:31

My next graduate is Gracie, who studied Creative Writing at The University of Winchester. Here's a little insight into her life during and after University...

I loved University. It was rarely easy, but I suppose the best things never are. It was a phenomenal feeling to be challenged at every corner, academically, professionally and socially. There was certainly never a dull moment, and I always felt this beautiful sense of hope – like I was a part of something that was going to do some amazing things one day. That I was a part of something at all felt great, really, and I suppose I miss that.

For a while, I missed the structure, too. When I first finished University, I applied for dozens of graduate programs and jobs in the publishing industry, all over the country, hoping to let my career decide where I was going to live. Unfortunately, this was to no avail. It was chaotic and disappointing at every turn.  In the end, I decided to stay in Winchester and moved into a flat with my boyfriend and two friends. In some ways, I was fairly relieved. I love this city, and have built such a strong community of friends. I am never alone and I am never bored. There is always a gig to go to, or a poetry reading or a picnic by the river.  I don't think I was quite ready to let it go.  

I had to create structure for myself though, so I went full time at my job at the Co-op and put my head down and continued work on a novel I had started way back in my second year of University. I set myself constant and rigid deadlines and did pretty good at sticking to them, just like I did at University, with caffeine fuelled late nights and even the occasional tearful panic. I was, and continue to be motivated by the very promising and kind comments that were made to me by publishers and agents when I showed them my opening chapter at The Winchester Writers' Festival, something I was lucky enough to get a scholarship for in my second year.  And, I have very nearly finished!

So, what's next?  I suppose, we'll see when I eventually get around to sending it off to publishers and agents. In the mean time, I still apply for dream jobs whenever they pop up in my inbox, but really, I am quite happy to work a job that pays the bills, so long as I get to do what I love and that is writing. That is where my passion lies.  
In July, my boyfriend and I moved back to his Mum's to live for a little while. That way we can save some money. We will also be doing some travelling in September – a six week road trip from NYC to San Francisco, where I will hopefully be hunting down poetry events and open-mic nights and reading in a country where I feel poetry is brash and accessible and brilliant. I think this is something I would never have had the confidence to do if I didn't go to University and the same goes for writing a novel, so it isn't all bad really, but I do question whether it was really worth the 40 grands worth of debt I have found myself in. I suppose, my advice to anyone planning to go to University (especially in any creative department) would be to not expect to walk in to the dream job as soon as you graduate, and to be prepared to have to make it on your own. Be it writing or performing or creating art, sometimes you have to tread your own path, make a space for yourself, in a world where it often feels there isn't room for you.

If you'd like to read more about Gracie's journey through student life, click here
*All photos courtesy of Gracie 

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  1. Wow! Gracie, you are so motivated! I am currently applying to jobs after graduating but I couldn't imagine having to work somewhere like co-op or any retail type shop ever again! I did it before, and I've had my fill of it haha. I so hope I find something soon :/ well done on giving yourself structure, I'm finding that part so hard too xo

    Amber Love Blog

    1. Thanks for taking a read of Gracie's post! I'll make sure she sees this :) I'm confident you'll find what you're looking for Amber :) xx


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