Jan 26, 2022
I recently came across an Instagram account called NewGrad a few weeks ago. The account has been set up by a fellow post-grad called Olivia and she has dedicated her time and the account to inspiring and educational content, all centred around helping and supporting new graduates, as we all try and navigate the unknown ahead of us. I asked if I could write a piece for her website as I really engaged with her brand mission and found some of the content, articles and interviews really helpful and inspiring. I’ve added my submission below, it’s a little longer than my usual posts but it’s all heartfelt, honest and there’s a few laughs thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!
Everyone has their final deadline for their end of year project highlighted, circled multiple times and deeply engrained into their consciousness from the very first day of final year. Tentatively clicking that ‘submit’ button after painstakingly proof reading and quadruple checking every last detail of your seemingly never-ending mass of files (which are stored on several memory sticks, to ensure you don’t encounter that situation again that you did during dissertation – *shudder*) is the final hurdle before entering a newfound world of freedom. For me, and for so many of us who have just completed, or have the end in sight of their final year, we couldn’t have expected a more disruptive and downright strange end to our years at university. As with many, my university closed almost a month to the day before my deadline, and as a result, my course mates and I felt a surge of worry and doubt as we headed towards the final push for our projects. As a fashion marketing student, the closing of the university wasn’t ideal for me but it wasn’t a complete disaster either. I could still and quite happily work from my accommodation, continuing my work on my laptop and I could still contact my lecturers if need be. For others, to say Covid-19 threw a spanner in the works is quite the understatement.
My school at uni is made up of various creative courses from graphic design, costume, architecture and fashion. For those students in Textiles or Costume Design, the pandemic had pretty much single-handedly almost undermined their full four years at uni. Their years of learning and practical work, of developments and long hours leading up to their final year piece had almost been made redundant. My heart broke for them. An email shortly followed after the closure announcement that said that these students would have to be assessed on their working technical documents instead. I couldn’t imagine spending all of that time and energy, and of course money to have your years’ worth of work measured by a document. Something that in the world of art and design is superfluous to the end result. If someone required a dress to be made, a document detailing each aspect: the cut, size and shape of the fabric would be helpful, but it’s just not the same, is it?
Friends of mine who take textiles relayed their dismay and anger to me, but ultimately they knuckled down and did the best with what they had. It was the same for some of my course mates too. Photoshoots had to be cancelled, meaning no original imagery could be captured for their projects. This meant that the dreaded secondary imagery had to be used, which is almost considered a sin when you’re constantly bombarded with the narrative that ‘you have to be unique!’ in every ounce of your work. We were given allowances for this, but it didn’t make us feel any better. We were told that because of the circumstances, this would all be taken into account when marking. But, nobody wants their work awarded a more superior mark simply out of pity, that’s even more demoralising than putting your all into something and falling short. On top of that, graduation was cancelled. For my course and I, this was the nail in the coffin. We were all very deflated and the motivation to finish our work had disappeared quicker than you can say Covid. After everything, I managed to submit a full four days earlier than I planned to. I’m still not sure how I managed it, but after a full four years at uni, the age-old habit of underestimating my abilities was still present. But this time, I’d wholeheartedly and without doubt outdone myself, and I’m hoping, finally silenced that irritating and unhelpful voice that seems to appear just at the moments when you need it least.
As I write this, it is exactly a month and three days since my final deadline. Don’t get me wrong, there were times in the last few days up until my deadline that I was happy to pack it all in, run off to the outer Hebrides, and make a new life for myself. But now, after taking some time to unwind and Netflix the hell out of my newfound free time, I now almost have too much time on my hands. This inevitably led me to think about my future and the career I want. At first, I started to panic that the docile and relatively plain sailing nature of student life was over and I now found myself being quickly and quietly ushered into the real adult world before I even had a chance to blink. It’s like trying to navigate yourself around the tube in London, when you suddenly find yourself swept up off of your feet by a mass of busy and irritated looking commuters, all bustling onto the same tiny train, to then find out that you’re on the wrong tube. There was too much spare time which meant falling into a deep hole of worries about what my future looked like was all too easy. But, utilising the newfound and eternal optimism I decided I had to adopt in order to get my final project completed, I decided to try and utilise this time best I could.
I love fashion and I enjoyed my course, but after completing a marketing placement at a well esteemed fashion brand in London, this changed the game for me. I learnt so much and grew as a person, but the experience wasn’t an easy one. I had to learn things the hard way and often, I felt alone, not only in this gigantic yet densely packed city, but also in my team, too. This changed a lot for me. It pretty much changed my idea of what I wanted to do. Granted, not all companies would be as challenging as certain aspects of this one, but still the general practices of marketing just didn’t seem to gel with me. I realised that I wanted to take a slight change of course, and to be involved with something that is less focused on one particular industry. I love writing and after previously working at a digital magazine before uni, I knew I enjoyed the fast-paced mix of different tasks that came day to day.
Currently, I have no idea what I want to do and it’s quite a scary thought when the past four years of my life have been laid out for me, helping me to safely navigate from one year to the next, as I tried to grapple with the toddler years of ‘adulthood’. Having that lack of structure now is strange, and I know so many people feel exactly the same as I do, and that should give us all comfort. When I was little, the idea of being 23 years of age (24 in January, which still makes me wince) meant you were a fully fledged adult, with a real house and a real car and had your life planned out. But the reality is quite the opposite and I’m actually okay with that. Despite the obvious challenges that we’re all currently facing, having so much time on our hands now is the best time for anyone who like me isn’t sure of what their future will be, to do something about it, even if it’s something small. By no means am I expecting to have secured my dream job, in a brand-new city come September, but I’m doing something everyday which will guide me towards the best path for me.
Updating my creative portfolio, entering competitions, signing up to webinars and joining inspirational and informative groups on social media are all small, but impactful things I’ve done in the last few weeks. Even though I don’t know which job applications to send my portfolio too right now and I may not hear back from the competitions I’ve entered, but it doesn’t mean I’m back to square one. Every time I do something, I feel slightly closer to my end goal of pinning down my ideal career, whatever that is, and it keeps the momentum going. I think my ideal job would be to work at a media company such as Vice Media or to be a part of the editorial team at a magazine such as Women’s Health, being a part of a company that’s always got its finger on the pulse of culture in society. Nothing is clear right now, but I’m hopeful and determined for the future and that’s all any of us can be. We have the time to work things out right now, make progress and then suddenly change our course. As we’ve all currently had to stop due to the pandemic, it’s important to remember now more than ever that life isn’t a race. We’ve all got this, and at our own pace.
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Head Agenda has been brilliant for me whilst going through a turbulent time in my life. Mark has been amazing. Calm, kind, professional, a complete expert who helps you work through anything whilst providing you with a range of tools you can use. He increases your self awareness and does it with such a positive reassuring presence that lets you feel relaxed and confident to talk to him. Can't recommend Mark and Head Agenda highly enough.
I couldn't recommend Juliet enough. She is a warm, kind and caring therapist who pulled me through a challenging, dark time. I am forever thankful for all her support, wealth of experience and tools she provided. Thank you Juliet x
I went to Head Agenda to try to tackle my severe anxiety. My therapist Jonathan was really helpful and kind and I now feel more equipped to manage my mental health. The space is calming and welcoming. I would recommend Head Agenda to anyone who is suffering and who needs professional support.
Fantastic service and help through some tough times. Natalie has been wonderful over these last few months.
I've been seeing Mandy for a year now and she has transformed my life. I can't thank her enough. Having seen numerous therapists over the years I've never found anyone so effective. Mandy has a wealth of knowledge and I've found her very easy to open up to. Cannot recommend highly enough.
Jonathan at Head Agenda was absolutely fantastic. I felt very comfortable throughout. Really positive experience.
I came to see Mandy in autumn 2019 for some CBT to deal with my anxiety which at times spiralled out of control for weeks/months at a time. Mandy was great, in the end doing a combination of both therapy and CBT to explore where the anxiety had come from, as well as how to put it back in its box. She was great at challenging me, which is just what I needed. An immediate affect was feeling significantly less nervous about flying. I now find myself in week 5 of the UK COVID lockdown, a time that is causing anxiety for so many people, and able to cope. Yes, I have felt anxious (who hasn’t!!), but it has been for a maximum of an hour or two, and not endless. I can highly recommend Head Agenda. Thank you.
After years of been in and out of therapy I was sceptical about trying it again, I went in expecting to be disappointed. I couldn't have been more wrong.
The knowledge, empathy and approach Mandy took to with me was something i'd never experienced before. I actually feel excited to start a new chapter of my life and I wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for Head Agenda.
Such a fantastic place. Super friendly and understanding team. Got an appointment really quickly. Such a calm and relaxing space. Thank you!
I can't begin to describe how incredible Darren has been in helping me with my mental health. He enabled me to respect and love myself for the first time in a very long time. I have come a long way since starting my sessions and I will be forever grateful to Darren for facilitating my process of healing. I highly recommend Darren and Head Agenda!
This was my first experience with counselling. I was always reluctant to seek help for whatever reason. With recent health issues I felt that it was the 'icing on the cake' and I needed help. Then I met the wonderful Debbie at Head Agenda. She has guided me more than I ever thought possible. She has helped me see what's truly important and helped me breakdown understand what once felt like big mess in my head! She has taught me so much and I can finally say, today, that I am ready to use her kind words and advice and see how I get on alone. I know she is always there though if I need her one day. I now feel I am strong enough, all thanks to Debbie.
Thank you so much, Deb! You've been an angel x
Have had wonderful, sensitive support from Debra, who has helped me learn to take time to sit with my own grief rather than be present 100% of time for others. She made the sessions relaxed, and I will be getting in touch if there are more bumps in my road further down the line. Thank you.
Highly recommended! One of the best investments of my life. A very friendly, kind and professional team. The atmosphere of the place is also great: very calm and relaxing. I went to try CBT and after a few sessions, it worked! I am happier and know myself much better now. I will always be grateful! Thank you, Mandy.
I could not recommend Caroline at Head Agenda enough. I was very hesitant when it came to therapy but Caroline had provided me with the confidence to speak about my issues, no matter how big or small. She has constantly treated me with grace and respect, I am very grateful for her.
I've just finished my last session with my therapist - Debbie, and I can't thank her enough for helping me through a difficult time in my life and seeing the light. I was very apprehensive at first, I've never had counselling before and I was in denial about my problem. But speaking to Debbie is one of the best things I've done, she is friendly, caring and it felt natural talking to her, and she gave me the tools I need to help get better. Very easy booking through Head Agenda, would highly recommend.
Debra has been absolutely wonderful in helping me understand my mental health. She’s made me feel so calm and relaxed in sessions. Couldn’t recommend her enough!
About 4 months ago I decided to try therapy and was recommended Head Agenda by my girlfriend. After getting in contact with them I was assigned to Darren and over that period of time I found him very helpful, I would definitely recommend him and say it was a really positive experience
Head Agenda were great, and really helped me with my issues. The space was great quiet and private it did not feel intimidating. My therapist Jonathan, took the time to understand my problems and was really helpful and easy to approach. Would recommend.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Debbie who I had many sessions with earlier this year. At first I was very hesitant but was by far was the best decision I have made and I am now in a place I could have only dreamt to be in a year ago. I could not recommend Debbie highly enough and genuinely want to thank her from the bottom of my heart.
Liz was great, can't recommend Head Agenda enough! I went for 12 weeks in total and I feel like it has really got me back on track from the place that I was. Thank you!
Covers by Tom
Excellent service. Really useful. Helped a lot. Thanks
Can't rate Head Agenda, or my therapist, highly enough. I had my first appointment within two weeks of enquiring and began CAT therapy with Jonathan. His kind, caring and friendly approach instantly helped me to feel relaxed, leading to several breakthroughs during our sessions. My therapy with Jonathan has been genuinely life changing; this is by far the best money I've ever spent. I now feel calmer and more content, and have the tools needed to enjoy better mental health.
If you're ready to put in the work, I'd definitely recommend Head Agenda.
Daniel was kind and helpful to my family member . Gave strategies to help with stress and anxiety that can use . Liked the practical exercises and has kept the list he made at his final sessions to remind him of all the positive things they talked about
I was lucky enough to be helped by Mark. I can't find any fault with him. He made me feel comfortable from the get-go. Professional but personable, paid more attention to what I was saying than I did! He seems very intelligent but not at all condescending. If you have any issues you would like to talk through, I would recommend Mark 100%.
Interesting, insightful and has been no end of help for my self improvement. Can't thank these lot enough. I feel much more confident and optimistic going forward and it’s down to Mark and the Head Agenda team.
Counselling will start this week but my initial contact with Head Agenda has been great. Lovely friendly reply to my initial email enquiry, followed by a phone call from Amanda who was very easy to talk and was very reassuring and helpful with all my questions and concerns.
I am glad I went to Head Agenda, great staff and Mark was really helpful and friendly. If you are unsure about going to see anyone then maybe just book an appointment and discuss it with them. Even if you think you are mentally strong there is always room for improvement. I feel like Mark has helped me find the right path to go forward in my life. I would recommend this company :)
I honestly can't recommend Head Agenda enough. When I first enquired by email the response was prompt, professional and clear. I was very quickly assigned to Jane Hickson, who agreed to work with me flexibly around my work schedule. Although I didn't have many sessions, i can honestly say that attending counselling with Jane has changed my life considerably. She really helped me work things out. She was professional, yet kind the whole time. Also, the rooms and surroundings are very comfortable and calming.
I have had a few sessions with Debra. When I arrived for my first session she made me feel very comfortable and the session just flew by. Debbie really took the time to understand what I was saying and made me feel like she really wanted to help me through my problems. She has gone over and above expectations, supporting me through a very big decision. The rooms are very relaxing and comfortable and there is barely any noise from outside. I would fully recommend having sessions with Debra. She has really opened up my eyes to the reasons of why I feel the way I do and ways to try and reduce those feelings.
My experience with Head Agenda has been liberating for me! I would recommend anyone that’s thinking of getting help to look no further.
Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Debbie here at Head Agenda! She has been absolutely amazing in getting me through what felt like a million and one problems when I first went in. I truly came to think of her as a friend and felt her genuine care and want to help me. I always came away from every session feeling lighter and much more positive and she's always been so friendly, sensitive and incredibly relatable. She has guided me through an extremely difficult time in my life and got me through and out of that dark tunnel.
The rooms were always comfortable and inviting and always made me feel at ease to talk
Thank you so much again, Debbie you're an absolute star!
First ever experience with counselling for myself, and it has helped my tenfold. Would recommend to anyone.
Debra was very kind and understanding, she gave considerate and constructive advice, we cannot thank her enough for all that she did to help!
I've been seeing June for a while now. I have tried a number of therapies and therapists over the years, but have never really felt heard or understood. I am able to be my authentic self with June, without any fear of judgement or embarrassment. She has an amazing way of challenging my thoughts, in a gentle way, but enough so to allow me to start to reconsider my own thoughts and feelings. She has already had a big impact on my life, and I cannot recommend her highly enough!
The office is lovely and calming, the other staff are always helpful and polite.
100% recommend Head Agenda!
I found Head Agenda through another website which recommended therapists. I have used Head Agenda for roughly 6 months and it has been a transformative experience. My therapist was professional, kind, understanding and helpful with making changes and seeing things in a new way. I can't recommend the experience enough.