Be Brave – Life after Uni

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Zoe Mayo: BSc (Hons) Physical Education and Coaching Graduate 2017

Since graduating from UOG four years ago my pathway in life has had its twists and turns along the way. After graduating back in 2017, it’s sometimes a struggle to know where to begin your next chapter in the ‘real world’. After spending my degree looking at careers in teaching and education I, fortunately, came across a role working full-time for Cirencester College (an FE college in Gloucestershire) where I initially began in a Sports Technician role. This role enabled me to dip my toes into the education industry where I was working alongside sports lecturers and gain a valuable behind the scenes view of what a job in teaching would look like – this also enabled me to apply much of the knowledge, and many of skills developed in my degree programme. Alongside this role, I was able to enrol on a PGDE (an FE teaching qualification) through the college. This course allowed me to study the teaching side of education while I was still able to work full time. For the next two years, I would study my PGDE as an evening course and complete regular assignments and practical assessments to aid towards the completion of the qualification alongside my full time (and paid) work.

After a short period of studying the course, I began to pick up regular classes which would be used towards my teaching hours, development and learning. These classes varied from Level 3 Sports to Uniform Public Service courses, both providing a variety of practical and theoretical lessons to develop my teaching and allow me to use the skills and knowledge learnt on my undergraduate programme in practice.

After this chapter of teaching, I decided that I’d like to see what else was available outside of the education sector, I really loved teaching but wasn’t quite ready to commit to this as a career. I think it is important for young adults not to get caught on a pathway that might not be quite right so being brave and having confidence in my skill-set I began looking into a military career as an alternative.

After much hesitation and thought I decided to bite the bullet and apply for a role in the Royal Air Force. At the time I had no idea how far into this process I would go as it’s a very long (and somewhat tedious application process) but I went in with the attitude of just taking each phase as it comes. Sixteen months later everything was successfully passed and I was heading off to complete Phase 1 of Basic Training. After finishing initial training and heading onto my trade specialism training, I was then in my first posting in the proper RAF working as an Analyst.

Without the skills, I had the opportunity to develop from my time at UOG, I feel like my pathway would have been very different. The skill that I have developed most, and am most proud of, is my confidence. This has been a factor that has often held me back throughout my whole life, but through consistently throwing myself into situations (and being brave) I have been able to continuously develop this which has allowed me to follow my aspirations and dreams to get to where I am today.

If I had some short snippets of advice for current students it would be to understand that the skills you develop on your degree are just as important as the knowledge (sometimes more important) and try and take every opportunity that comes your way, you never know where it might lead.

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