Each episode is a snapshop, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. Season one talks to our 2020 graduates about how things are going, or not going, for them. In episode thirty one we meet Philosophy and Politics graduate Finn.
Each month we meet five more graduates. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about this weird and unpredictable time.
All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh.
Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.
Music: Since When by Mise Darling.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 0:07
This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season one: Class of 2020.
My name is Finn Oldfield. I am a Philosophy and Politics graduate of the University of Edinburgh. I graduated in summer 2020 and I'm from Widnes, which is a sunny little town on the northwest of England. The sun is shining, I'm feeling good and yesterday, I actually was offered a job through the government's kick-start scheme. So I'll be doing social media for a company and I'm so excited because, you know, this last six months has been rough, you know, I lost my job due to COVID-19. So it's been a really tricky time trying to navigate employment in this like, really scary situation. But I'm just-- feel such a huge relief at the minute that I can sort of get back into the working world. You know, I've got to do a few good things in lockdown. You know, me and my friend started a podcast called 'Huh? With Clara and Finn'. And we, we review the worst TV shows, and we just have a laugh. So I think exploring different things in lockdown has been a really great space for me to not just worry about the big next career move and that sort of thing. I still want an in person graduation, because I want to wear a flamboyant outfit. So I'm still I'm coming back in 2025, whatever it is to have an in person graduation. But yeah, there have been ups and downs but um, yeah, I'm just excited right now, as we open up again, just to see where it goes from here. I think I am a person who plans, I always try and have a strategy. But I think the pandemic has taught me that careers will go in directions that you didn't really expect. So I'm not trying to put so much emotional pressure on myself to have a plan. If I happen to have one, that's great and I'm sure it will help me going forward. But I do have my eyes on the future now.
I was thinking that I would either move back to Washington, DC, which is where I did my year abroad. I went back over in February just before the pandemic hit to visit friends and to sort of see if there was any way I could move over there, get a job. You know, I went to a few meetings with Edinburgh alumni who now live in Washington DC, with David Gray, and he runs the alumni group. Yeah and I was so excited. I was like applying for jobs in Washington, DC and then the pandemic hit. I was thrown completely off course. I was thinking maybe I'll move to London, maybe I, you know, I could just stay in Widnes, I don't know. But it's really made me take stock of what I have, and just sort of have faith in the unexpected. As opposed to having pre planned sort of thing. I just kind of throw my hands up in the air and say, oh well, I'll take whatever kind of thing. That's my approach at the minute. I always saw degrees as a stepping stone to a next thing. But, because the next thing has fell off, you know, because in the last year all these opportunities sort of dried up. I then had to sort of renegotiate my relationship with my degree as well. Okay, well, what contacts did I make through that? You know, what professional networks have I gained access to? And I think that's what a really good thing that the University of Edinburgh has done for me is that their mentoring service has been really good for me post-graduation. You know, being a working class person, the idea of growing your own network and disrupting elite networks is so important. I often find that I disrupt elite networks with my mere existence, because-- and it sounds so crazy to say but like coming to the University of Edinburgh, I had no connections. I had no sort of support base here. That was a real struggle and I really want other working class kids to know that you are essential and you belong in any space. You know, just because you have to work with a system, it doesn't mean you can't get the system to work for you. Get a mentor, ask around, literally DM people and that's what I've been doing post-graduation. That's how I actually got my first internship, you know, people are so willing and happy to help you. You know, I've joined so many self development programmes as well. I think they're a really good shout for graduates in 2021. If you haven't got a graduate job lined up, there are amazing programmes out there for you to develop yourself. I've been developing my skills and employability and mental awareness and well being with companies like Uprising UK and Transform Lives Company have been really good too. If you've got extra time, use it to plan wisely.
For years, I have attempted to build this innate sense of justice within myself, a sort of resilience, that, you know, you can have a million doors closed on you but if you are able to open that one door that can change everything. You know, I recently wrote an article in the Independent about how we can be radically optimistic in the face of climate change. But I really think that you can take that message of radical optimism, so looking at evidence and seeing ways to be optimistic, you can take that and apply it to anything in life. It takes time, and it's taken me years to get to a place where I can say that I am optimistic, and I do have confidence within myself. I am important, you know, for years, I was so scared to even attend lectures, because I just thought, as a working class person, I am not important enough to be in this institution. There's people that are cleverer than me, they deserve the opportunities more, but you are here for a reason. And that is what I've been saying to myself for years. And it's finally paid off and I can sort of talk about myself in ways that aren't disparaging or self depreciating, and I, you know, I have such a good relationship with my parents, and they are always there to give me advice, and we have deep conversations and stuff. But I think it was just looking around me and seeing who is immediately available to me that I can lean on and grow support from. You don't even have to look far to build your network, you already have so many people in your life that you don't even realise that they are part of your support network. And that's what I've been heavily leaning on. And I think that first step is so important, just saying, hey, I'm not completely confident, you know, who can I speak to? And for me, that was my parents. Imposter syndrome is a horrible thing that I have had to deal with for many years. But realising your innate importance is a journey. You know, self love is a journey, confidence is a journey, it's not going to happen overnight. You always have hope, because there's always people around you, that will get you through the pandemic, that will get you through a graduate job, that will get you through your degree as you graduate. I mean, speak to me, you know, if you're listening to this, you can message me, I can be that person that helps you through a hard time. So never lose faith because it can only get better.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 7:56
We also ask our graduates to share a place, somewhere special, somewhere we can get together. When all this is finished.
I've been thinking about my place in mind with the restrictions lifting and everything. Thinking about people being able to be in big groups again, hopefully in the future. So my place is the Abraham Lincoln statue in Washington, DC, which I know sounds really wild. I used to hang out there with a big group of friends after each night out because on my year abroad, I studied in Washington, DC. So we had all these like amazing landmarks just outside our house. So we could go to the National Monument and the White House and just like hang out around these like iconic spaces. So we would always hang out at the Abraham Lincoln statue after a night out and there's these big steps and the reflecting pool and it was a really, it was a really sick place just to chat and have a laugh in a big group. And, you know, if you don't mind getting chased away by Capitol Police sometimes, that's fine. This place is so special to me and I went and visited again in 2020 with friends and just kind of reflected on the amazing year I had on my year abroad. And it always has a special place in my heart that I can think about memories with friends, and they all happened around these iconic landmarks that I'll always think of as really beautiful memories.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 9:24
Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.
Kirsten Roche 9:35
If this conversation has raised more questions than answers, then you might find it helpful to speak to someone. Speaking with a careers consultant can be a great way to get some answers. Simply log on to my career hub to make an appointment. And don't forget that you can still use everything on offer from the Careers Service as a recent graduate.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai