So here we are, graduated. A 2.1 in BA Hons Illustration with Animation from the rather excellent Loughborough University. A nice solid grade. A grade that says “yes I am clever, yes I am good at what I do” but also “however I do have a life outside of the lecture theatre”. After three years I get a couple of digits stamped on a form, and that's it. We're done, we're out, we're free.
But now we have our degrees, what do we do next? After twenty years in the education system I've decided to stop in Loughborough for a while, so I find myself, along with thousands of other ex-students, off the train of higher education and now we are all somewhere we've never been before: The Real World.
How does it work? What are the rules? And, more importantly, can you break them and get away with it?
My degree isn't like some, where you can go straight into a “career” (that mythical creature that gives you security and job fulfilment all that the same time). No no, this course doesn't work like that. I have a friend in Accounting who is going straight into a London-based accountancy firm because... well that's just how Accounting works; you train in accounting and you become an accountant. My course, not so much.
The obvious route seems to be freelance illustration, in it's many forms, but the more I hear from other freelancers, the more I think that going straight into freelancing isn't going to work. I'm intending to live on my own now, not to go back to the little town I came from if I can help it, but to do such things requires a regular income, not the dips and climbs of a new freelancer's earnings. I don't have the knowledge base yet, nor the contacts to try this right off the bat and make a success of it, but the fact of the matter is I'll draw forever.
So this is me, staying in this new town and trying to find a place for myself. I've been blessed with a reasonably priced house, and now we're trusting God for the rest of it and waiting on the job. This is me, learning to take care of myself. How to pay bills, how to keep a budget, how to make my own food, how to get hold of enough money to do all of the above.
And this is me quietly suspecting that being “successful” and “capable” might not be as important as I sometimes think it is.