I graduated from TAFE with a Dual Diploma in Conservation and Land Management/Sustainability and university with a Bachelor in Environmental Science with Distinction. I graduated into a world where there are no jobs in my field unless you have at least two years working experience or know someone.
I volunteer, I gain the experience I need in order to be a competitor for jobs, but I still don’t get jobs. Why? Because I’m hopeless at making contacts.
Throughout university, I watched people walk up to the lecturers and researchers and have good old chats with them. How do they do that? I would wonder, and try to come up with any plausible reason to talk to the lecturers. I never quite got the courage to try and engage with them in my three years of study.
When it came time to look at doing an Honours project I found a couple of lecturers whose projects I was interested in. I went and had a meeting with them, they were very friendly but I never heard back from them about participating in their projects. Then I saw who got into the Honours projects. All the people who had had the guts to go up and talk to the lecturers. The people who could talk about anything and everything. They got in because they made the connections early on. To the lecturers, I was someone who had just appeared out of the blue.
This is my fault, of course. If I had of sucked it up, I could be doing an Honours project right now. Instead, I’m scanning through listings of jobs that require everything that I don’t have and can’t get unless I make contacts.
If you put me in front of these lecturers now, they probably would have no idea who I was, just another face that didn’t stand out amongst the thousands of students they get through their doors. Except for one small thing.
The other day, The Partner went into my university and sent me a picture. It was of me, during one of my research projects. It was framed and placed up in the Science building. So I may not have been able to connect with the denizens of the university, but I’m going to haunt them for as long as that picture is up. And I hope one of them stops and sees that picture and thinks, ‘I remember that girl.’