As a 24 year old I am living at home with my parents, unemployed and not really sure what I should be doing. As an events professional, I find myself to be a bit of a perfectionist, someone who has to be productive and organised at all times otherwise I go a little crazy. It’s hard not to feel frustrated and bothered about the last year being taken from us and I am sure so many of you reading will be feeling the same way.
Maybe you just started your first graduate job, recently graduated or still a student who is feeling a little unsure about what’s next and don’t know where to turn. I hope I am able to bring a little support and peace of mind to you through this post.
I was only 3 months into my first grad role as an Events and Marketing Coordinator, based in London, until COVID decided to take it from me. And wow… what a dream job it was – with such incredible responsibilities, experiences and opportunities, I thought 2020 had really given me the best start. By the time COVID-19 had become a well-known name on the news, I was on furlough and eventually made redundant, something I never thought would have happened to a 23 year old.
Like a true #eventprofs I wanted to see what I could do to professionally develop in the time that I had, and so did every other event professional in our industry. I joined societies, communities and started conversations with other graduates and leaders in the industry, just to try and make some sense of what was going on and how we could all do our best to get through. Our industry could not have been more inviting, supportive and open, especially to the younger generation of graduates and students. And I wanted to part of this. What could I do from my own bedroom to support others going through what I was too experiencing?
As a result of this, I joined the team over on EventGrads, a wonderful community for Event Management students and graduates, with a passion to support in all ways during this time of uncertainty. I started my own blog and realised my love for writing. A couple of months down the line, I secured a 5 month internship at my University as their Graduate Events Officer, supporting all virtual events. I met people I wouldn’t have met and pursued passions I wouldn’t have had the time to do so.
My first year as a graduate has not been what I had planned. I started with a fantastic role and ended the same year unemployed. But what I have taken from my experiences is that if the pandemic hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have met the people I have, the communities I am part of and the experiences I have had within the industry that I love.
As an industry, Events have still managed to take place, have still provided some type of get away and have found a way to engage and unite people around the world. The pandemic has not stopped the consistent pace of this industry and has proven we are a community that will never stop moving and adapting. We have enlightened so many, educated to all and delivered positive and important messages via our online presence to make sure that we are bigger and better for when we can return to ‘normality’.
Throughout all of this time, I have realised just what I needed to build self-confidence, to pause and work on myself first before anything else begun. So, I am not where I thought I would be at 24. But I have come so far from where I was this time last year, without all the ‘necessary elements’ that we believe we need to have in order to feel we are on the right track.
I believe the never ending stigma of ‘doing all you can in your early twenties to be successful’ is faulty and damaging and creates a challenge for who can get to ‘success’ the quickest. When we are physically unable to do what we want and therefore automatically believe we have failed.
We need to stop, breathe and remind ourselves that the current pandemic limits everything that we want to do and this is it out of our hands. As human beings, it’s easier to focus on the negatives rather than the positives of a situation and realising that maybe you wouldn’t actually be the person you are today if this last year didn’t happen the way it did.
I think the most important outlook that has come out of this pandemic for me, is that you never know what is round the corner. We are unable to predict what or where we will be this time in a year. So do what you need to do. If that means working on yourself mentally, physically, professionally or personally, do it. Take this time. Use it. And never second guess the reasons why – this is such a hard and unknown time, it affects us all differently and nobody should have to justify how they choose to handle that.
Be kind to yourself, always.
LinkedIn: Grace Nelson