Today I’m focusing on task 2 of my EPI module which is writing a 1000 word personal planning document. It should include a personal SWOT analysis and identifying my goals and aspirations after graduation – sounds easy enough right?
Well… I have a title, and that’s a start. I guess I could “hoop jump” and just write down a plan and how that plan would be achieved, that would be easy. But (for some reason) I actually want to use this exercise to try and decide what it is that I want to do after graduation. That’s the sticking point.
Once you know what you want to do it’s easy to hammer out an action plan and in doing so it gives you that drive and motivation to see those goals through. But what do I want to do? What is my ultimate goal/my dream?
When I started university I could have answered easily: “I want to work in the architecture industry or the film industry.” At the time, that was good enough because I was three years away from having to do anything about it. But now it’s decision time, crunch time if you will and I’m feeling at a bit of a loss.
What happened to three-year-ago me that resulted in my ending up here? Not knowing what you want to do isn’t a crime, it’s not even something I’m uncomfortable with but I agree that I need a short term goal for work post graduation. I admit that I feel more at ease with a long term goal because whenever you look up from whatever you’re currently doing you can push on knowing that everything you do is heading towards that goal.
A large part of the problem is that I’ve done work experience in a variety of companies over the last three years and I’ve LOVED it, every minute of it, even when I was worried about getting frostbite or rendering myself unconscious with all the fumes that emenate from the various chemicals modelmakers use, I have still enjoyed it. You get given a job, some instructions and you get on and do it. When you’re done you ask for more work and you get praised for completing the first task so efficiently. That praise is important, I would go as far to say that it’s worth more to me than bags of money because that’s what gives me job satisfaction.
I’m not a needy worker who always seeks approval for every little thing I do, the praise is like the bonus at the end of a job. You do it because you enjoy it and because you’re being paid to do it but at the end when you’re thanked for it, that turns a good day into an awesome day.
So here’s the crux of the problem; I go into industry, I work well, I do a good job and by being told I’ve done a good job I am all the more motivated for the next job. And then… I return to university. It is not like industry. Instead of being paid and thanked, here I am paying the university so that I can do work (mostly) for myself in order to get a good grade. It saps my energy and my motivation and then, when I don’t achieve as high a grade as I might of liked I only have myself to blame. There is no thanks here because I am working for myself and whilst I am aware when I have done a good job thanking myself just isn’t the same.
And then as well as the making processes, there is the paperwork. A degree needs some way to quantify the work you have done in order to give you the grade. If you disappear for three weeks then return with a beautiful model you need to show that you made it, that you did research to make it and that you have evaluated yourself and your model to make sure you are both up to industry standard. It’s possible I’m being too critical of myself but when I look at my university made model and then look at the industry equivalent my heart sinks because nothing I make seems to be good enough. It’s very demoralising.
The upside of this is that after graduating I could probably work in just about any discipline within the modelmaking industry and be happy. The downside is that I don’t feel my own (university) work is good enough to tell my potential employer what I am capable of.
On a final positive note if I am strong enough to get through three years of university and graduate successfully which requires vast quantities of self-motivation because it doesn’t come for anywhere else, then I am more than capable of doing whatever I can set my sights on in the working world. Now just to set my sights on something…