I Submitted My Dissertation… Now What?

A couple weeks ago, I submitted one of the biggest projects of my life: my masters dissertation. It was a long and challenging process with many ups and downs, but I did it. I clicked the ‘submit’ button. I finished it. I’m done. The question I’m left with is… Now what?

Even before I started my masters, I knew that I’d want to stay in Scotland longer than just the year it would take to finish my programme. That remains true. Fortunately, the British government now offers a visa pathway for international students who’ve completed study in the UK. If I pass my dissertation, I’ll be able to apply for the Graduate Route. If I get an approval, I’ll be able to work or look for work in the UK for the next two years.

I’m quite keen to apply, but I’m still waiting on that dissertation grade which means I’m kind of in limbo. My student visa is good until February, and I’ll be allowed to work full-time in about a week. I want to apply for career jobs. I spent a very intense year studying public relations, and I’m eager to get into the field with my newfound knowledge and skills. There are many great-looking job openings out there, and I reckon I’m a suitable candidate for some of them. I only worry that, without a guarantee that I’ll be able to stay in the UK past February, who will hire me?

At present, I’m working at a local café in the West End of Glasgow. It keeps me busy, engaged in the community and able to pay my rent, but it’s not what I’ve dreamt of doing. For the last year, I’ve imagined myself working for a public relations firm specialising in the third sector. For both my theoretical and practical assignments, I explored topics like child welfare advocacy and environmentalism. I learnt how to advocate for the needs of others and how to help bring social progress through communication. To do that for a living would indeed be a dream.

Well, I suppose the answer to the question ‘What now?’ is ‘Get out there and lay the ground work.’ Even though I don’t have the extended visa, I do have the ability to forge my future career path. Heck, maybe an employer would take me on with the hope that I’ll get the visa. On my CV, I state that ‘I’m a  designer, writer and strategist,’ and I also aspire to be a do-gooder. There’s nothing stopping me from that, and I think the best place to start is to learn, listen and engage.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll apply for jobs, reach out to industry and community leaders and soak up some good old-fashioned knowledge. My undergraduate university, the SUNY College of Technology at Alfred, had the catchphrase ‘Hit the ground running’, and I’m going to take that advice and run with it (pun intended).

Thank you!

This week, I’m thanking adoption advocates around the world. I had the enormous pleasure of research adoption advocacy for my masters dissertation, and I have infinite respect for those who advocate for the needs and rights of families and children involved in adoption. These may be lawyers, policymakers, social workers, volunteers and educators, to name a few. This is a particularly sensitive area in which to work, made more so by the pandemic. As an adoptee, I was deeply inspired to do this research and hope that I might work in that area at some point in my career.

P.S. My apologies for the delay in posting. The last few months have been extremely chaotic with my dissertation, a trip to the States, a new job and the occasional Scottish adventure. More to come soon. Take care, all. 🙂

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