It’s no secret that the job market is tough this year. As such, more people are being forced to work in careers that they did not intend just to make ends meet. IRL decided to interview a fresh graduate to share her experience of getting a job — and how the degree helped her but only in a roundabout way. This is her story:
After graduating high school, I had no plans for what to do in my life.
All my friends had decided what to do with their life, I remained clueless.
I never bothered to do research about universities or realised what field I’d like to get into prior to graduating high school. There was nothing that piqued my interest.
I thought maybe I could take a gap year to get experiences, travel or just discover more about myself like how they show in the movies.
Unfortunately, my parents disagreed with that. They thought it was irresponsible and perceived it as if I was trying to take advantage of the situation and not go to college.
Not going to college was a big no-no in my family. I was raised in a very traditional household where the plan was to finish school, get a degree and secure a good job.
Nothing could change this plan they had and taking breaks in between was considered ‘wasting time’ and putting off something ‘inevitable’ — which were my studies.
In short, there was no way I could convince my parents to let me take a gap year.
I had to choose my career path in 3 months
By the time I finished SPM and got my results, I had 3 months to apply to college and I still had no idea what I wanted to do.
I talked to my parents about my predicament but they couldn’t see it from my perspective. They would just say “still got time for you to choose” or “just pick something then later you can change.”
They did not understand that making this decision was not something that can be rushed. I have to make sure it’s something I enjoy and not just do something that I would not love for the sake of it.
Then again, I do not fully blame them, since it was my fault for not getting a head start and doing research.
I procrastinated and my parents made sure I learned my lesson.
In the end, I narrowed down my options and was stuck between two, fashion design or business. I went to my parents for advice and they concluded business was the better choice.
This was for four reasons:
- There are more options I can branch out to like advertising, finance or management. While fashion designing is ‘just designing clothes’.
- I can get more ‘real’ job opportunities.
- It’s a more acceptable degree in society compared to design.
- I had prior knowledge in business and I scored good marks in business for SPM.
So to my parents, business heavily outweighed fashion designing.
For a degree, I learned my lesson the first time and did my research way before I finished my diploma.
I applied to university for diploma business programmes. It was not bad and I quite enjoyed it.
For my degree, I decided to do business management, I put my 100% into it and had fun throughout my university years. It was the best time of my life, I made so many new friends.
One day, my friend who was a fashion design student needed someone to model his clothes for him.
He called me and asked me if I could do it. I have always loved being in front of the camera so I agreed on the spot.
I didn’t get paid, but that was my first modelling gig. I had the lights and the big cameras on me. It was thrilling! After that, he called a few times again to model his clothes, and I would agree, even if I was doing it for free.
It expanded my contact network to include new people in the fashion industry. This helped me get contacts with photographers, models, other fashion designers and such. Most of them were startups.
Soon enough, those contacts that I made would ask me to model for them. Some were paid gigs while some were collaborations.
I would do this throughout university and get many modelling gigs. My parents were not happy about it because they thought it might affect my studies — or worse, get me mixed up with the wrong people.
However, when I showed them I could balance my gigs while having really good scores, they could not really argue against it and trusted me to do my thing. As I did more gigs, I would get a larger following.
My looks made me more money than my degree.
Two and half years later, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.
I applied for jobs and would never hear a reply back. People underestimate how hard it is to actually get a job as a fresh graduate in today’s world.
I’ve heard everyone talk about the struggles, so I knew it was not going to be easy. But I never knew it was going to be this hard!
I thought that because I was in the business field I might have it easier but that was not the case at all!
It didn’t matter what you majored in, getting hired was hard. My only source of income was from my modelling gigs.
I started going for more and more casting opportunities because, after all, I had the time. The more I went for it, the more I started falling in love with it. I was getting paid too!
In every photo shoot, I felt like I got to be someone new. Eventually, it became my full-time job.
Sometimes I feel like I wasted my 4 years doing a degree since I don’t use it to get a ‘proper’ job. But one way or another, it helped me.
Since my degree was in marketing, I knew how to market my brand and thrust myself out there into the modelling industry.
It’s not what I expect to be doing down the road but it is something I enjoy doing. Maybe one day I will get back to the business field and do a 9-5 job, but if you ask me now, I’m content with how things turned out.
What I wish someone told me when I was younger
I think it’s really important for you to:
- Start networking and gain experience. Make your connections and constantly keep in touch with them.
- Do as much research as you can on your degree. Take your time and think ‘is this still going to have demand in future?’ It’s an important decision even though people tell you otherwise.
- Explore your options. Test the waters to whatever that seems to interest you or else you are always going to have the thought of what ifs.
For more stories like this, read: Why I’m Not Using My Degree in My Current Job And I Regret Pursuing a Degree I Am Not Passionate About.
Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.
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