Every little thing adds up

by Sara Visan

In life so far, people have told me that an education in Humanities-related fields offers only a limited job prospect after graduation. Of course, a bit of that is leftover thinking from a more industrialized past of an ex-communist country such as mine. So far, my limited but quite diverse experience seems to prove the opposite, in fact.

I studied foreign languages back in my home country of Romania. Students enrolled on my degree could complete an internship in a related industry: which included spaces like the university’s library, national mass media offices, local newspapers, NGOs, translation businesses or schools. These are already several industries which would gladly welcome new graduates with a proficiency level in another language, writing and proofreading skills and time-management and organizational abilities, all which were key for the mere passing of exams.

My placement was at the central university library, where I mainly helped senior librarians catalogue publications and archive them in the library’s systems, while also promoting the collections of archives, books and works available via online platforms. It was work that I enjoyed a lot, because I am an avid reader and being surrounded by books and people equally as passionate was a wonderful experience.

After graduation, however, I ended up doing a 3 months long internship in Belgrade, Serbia for my new position as… a banker. Huge change from my studies and my previous experience, however I don’t think I would have survived those months of intensive economics, finance and history of banking without the skills that my particular education equipped me with.

I could create abstract correlations to help me in studying that none of my co-workers got, I had vast experience of delivering presentations in another language and public speaking, an eye for proofreading and critical reading, and I was particularly thorough and detailed in my work. All the things I did not know, I was capable of learning with the discipline and organization that had been a direct result of my undergraduate studies.

One’s studies and course choices are never a path carved in stone for the future. You can change your mind and try things out; and if something doesn’t feel right, at least you now have the certainty of that fact. The truth is that education is the tool that shapes you and your life, and not a contract that binds you. At the moment I am studying Gender and Women’s Studies and English, a master’s that I am deeply passionate about. Through the process, I have hope that I will become a more involved and caring person, even if that will not necessarily immediately translate into a related job.

To get some experience, I am working part-time both as a Digital Content Ambassador and a Sociology Student Ambassador: writing blog posts sharing my experiences as a Lancaster student and taking part in projects related to the departments that are so close to my interests. I am doing work that I enjoy with a team of extremely talented and hard-working students and staff, and it makes the work all the more enjoyable.

In truth, I have felt very supported by the university and the services it offers when it comes to the job market. There’s a dedicated Instagram account @lurecruit for information and job advertisements for temporary and part-time work from the Employment and Recruitment Service. You can ask for help with your CV and cover letters, in the form of CV builder or a more detailed drop-in on the website.

The truth is that I don’t really know what I want to do in the future, which is probably why my life path so far has taken so many turns. I have a lot of experience of volunteering for organizations and events, so I have good social skills in various formal contexts, but I also do translations and I would see myself working in quite ‘introverted’ future jobs.

I like to do many things and making decisions is certainly not my strongest point, but I know with certainty that each little thing adds up and none of my future is limited by any of my past or present choices and experiences – but only enlarged.


Sara is studying MA Gender and Women’s Studies and English at Lancaster University.

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