Life After Art School

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

As it comes around to that time of year where university students are graduating and more budding artists, designers and makers are welcomed into the world, I started to think about what this era of my life was like.

I've written down a couple of things that would’ve really helped me at that time and that I wish someone or even my future self could’ve told me

Here's me graduating from Textiles in Practice at MMU 2016 (I never wanted an official photo)

1.Taking my time.

After uni, I needed a bit of a break from my creativity, from deadlines and from the pressure of it all. I got a full time job and chilled out for a little bit- its taken me 3 years to finally get the business snowball rolling, it's still going slowly- but it’s going at my pace. I am still learning more about how I like to work and how I want my future to look. I’m taking my time to figure out where I fit in the world.

2. Being prepared for the ‘what’s next?’ question

I was asked this question a lot when I first graduated and as well as not having an answer, it made me feel really low- was I supposed to have a plan? what is next?!

More recently I have learned that not having a plan is ok. My future is up to me and whatever path I choose is also up to me. If I never pick up a pencil again that is fine, if I never touch a sketchbook again, never design anything, never make anything again that is my choice. If I want to leave my creative career and become a professional dog sitter THAT IS FINE.

3. You might not land your dream job right away.

I went through a few years and a few jobs, thinking that that was the end of the road for me. When the shifts were late and long, I did wonder if this is what adult life had in store for me. After a year in a salad shop and nearly two years in a pub, I gathered enough confidence to apply for the job that I have now at Manchester Met University. Sometimes it is a combination of getting your arse in gear and the right opportunity but if you don’t apply, you’ll definitely never reach it.

I also asked fellow graduate Victoria of Victoria Oliver Ceramic Design who is currently studying an MA in Ceramic Design at Staffordshire University what advice she would give to her recently graduated self:

‘I’d say that keeping in touch with friends from your course and trying to find your ‘space’ in the creative community online, whether that’s Instagram or Facebook, artist newsletter or twitter is the most important one. it helps you feel less isolated, which I found when I finished my studies after being able to ask people for advice instantly, you need to find a space where you can still do that after university.

Honestly, being a maker is about 30% actually making things, and the rest is spent doing everything else, like marketing and interacting with your market, searching for galleries if thats the area of your interest.

It’s ok to not jump head first into full time creative self employment, the reality is that most makers live a ‘portfolio’ life style where they have part time jobs and make when they aren’t doing that. Having a break after your studies is ok as well, you worked really hard for 3 or 4 years, its good to have a rest!

I decided I wanted to go onto a masters after I finished my BA, as I felt there was a lot I still needed to learn in an academic environment, doing what's best for you really helps!’

If you are a graduate, what piece of advice was important to you?

If you're a recent graduate that has more questions about life after uni or just wants someone to have a chat with, please comment below or email me I'm always happy to help!


#ArtSchoolGraduate #RecentGraduate #GraduateAdvice #CreativeGraduate

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