Two cents blog

Expectations for the real world

by Rohan Wade on 12 December 2016

As I near the end of my second week of the Baptism program, I look back at the exciting journey that has led me to this great opportunity, and the lightbulb moment that redefined my mentality towards university.

I was finalising my last piece of assessment for the semester, and inevitably found myself lost in the rabbit hole that is Facebook. Searching for memes, sports highlights and anything else to distract me from the repressed mental trauma caused by cramming a semester’s worth of content into 2 days! During this important research, I came across a video that asked, “Where do you want to be in one year?” and, “Where do you actually see yourself in one year?” Until this moment I had never really given it a great deal of thought, except that I wanted an entry level position somewhere within my chosen industry of marketing or advertising.

Like many others, I thought this was quite a reasonable expectation, seeing as I had committed 3 years to becoming proficient within the field.  But when I considered that following the completion of my degree there will be over 300 other QUT graduates also looking for that ‘entry level position’, I realised that what I wanted and where I actually saw myself were two very different places. At this point the daunting reality of life after university set in and the understanding that a modern-day degree is worth about the same amount as the paper it’s printed on.

I understand that this notion may be offensive to many people, as they have dedicated years of their lives and tens of thousands of dollars in the pursuit of higher education. However, the grim truth is that many graduates won’t find work in their chosen field straightaway, and will be left wondering what the point of all this was.

As I pondered this same question, staring at the dimly lit wall in my one-bedroom apartment, I made a decision. Instead of wallowing in self-pity or submitting to this fact, I decided that for the remainder of my degree I would take every opportunity QUT had to offer. I began utilising guest presenters’ wealth of knowledge, attending industry conferences and actually reading my student email (which is a huge achievement in itself). I started to see that QUT truly was a ‘University for the Real World’ and was surprised at how much experience I could gain if I just applied myself.

I stumbled across a program offered exclusively to QUT students known as Baptism, an internship program at BCM Partnership. After hearing about past experiences and the opportunities the program had to offer, I jumped at the chance and began drafting my application immediately. I followed up my application in person and via email, to give myself the best opportunity for success, and to my delight was accepted to take part.

Although still early within my placement, the experience has opened my eyes to the diverse roles an advertising agency has to offer and I am excited for the invaluable knowledge I will gain over the next five weeks. From digital UX to social integration, the advertising process is a far deeper rooted process than I ever imagined, and something that can’t be learnt in a classroom. Baptism is unique in that you are seen as an equal, rather than as a responsibility, and I believe that to be a vital stepping stone to my future career progression.

For any student who may read this, past, present or future, this story does not aim to brag and it’s not an attempt at self-appraisal. It’s simply a wake-up call. If you think that simply completing a degree gives you the entitlement to a career, you need to reevaluate your expectations. In an evergrowing, competitive market, the steps you take now will have a greater influence on your career projection than you may have first thought, and you need to take every opportunity university offers you. If you can’t truly say you are doing more than the person sitting next to you, or not wholeheartedly enjoying the degree you are in, then what is the point of all of this? Where do you see yourself in one year? And what are you actually doing to get there?

Rohan Wade is a Baptism 16/17 Intern 

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