Each episode is a snapshop, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. Season one talks to our 2020 graduates about how things are going, or not going, for them. In episode ten, we meet Psychology graduate Jay. Since the recording Jay has been made a full-time employee.
Each month we meet five more graduates. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about this weird and unpredictable time.
All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh.
Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.
Music: Since When by Mise Darling.
This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is Season One, Class of 2020.Jay:
My name is Jay, I come from Thailand. And I come from a small coastal town called Si Racha like the sauce. I did my undergraduate degree in psychology in Edinburgh. It was like mid February. That was when like the whole quarantine thing was really starting to set in. The whole COVID-19 scare was starting to set in, but I didn't think it would be that bad. I always thought that it would be like, contained within Asia, it would just be like a flu pandemic. I guess that's what most people thought, really? I don't think any of us could have foreseen how it turned out, but it was mid February, I was hesitant to return because I thought, Oh, I needed to stay here I need to finish my studies. I'm so close. I don't want to go back home yet. And they hadn't really announced any exam endings just yet. No cancelled exams, no cancelled assignments. My parents were all like, No, you should return you should really return as soon as you can. And I was like, I don't want to I haven't figured out the logistics of moving out. You know, leaving everyone saying goodbye to everyone and finishing my studies short. A couple weeks later, things really turned for the worse. And I caught the last flight from Thailand right before they started state quarantine in Thailand. I did say goodbye to one friend who helped me leave. Helped me pack my stuff and said goodbye to me at the airport. But that was really it. It was a bit of a bittersweet moment. A lot of people do reminisce from time to time, but all in all, I think it's like, everyone misses Edinburgh, but nobody really wants to talk about missing Edinburgh because then it just makes them miss Edinburgh more. So once news spiralled, I managed to get back to Thailand. My parents picked me up from the airport. And they shoved me in the back of the car with like a plastic poncho like one of those rain ponchos. And it was regulation for them to leave the window open in the car while they were driving home. It was like a three hour drive. As soon as I got home, they shoved me in the garden shed. They prepared like some food, some dry food, some water, a futon. It was air conditioned. So that was fine. So I was in the garden shed for a few weeks. And it's it's weird to think that I finished my degree in a garden shed, because that's not at all where I thought I would be. Before COVID-19 happened, I always thought that I would be able to get a job, if not in Edinburgh, then maybe in the UK, or maybe in Europe, I always wanted to get some work experience there abroad before I returned to Thailand, even though I always knew that I would have to return to Thailand anyway. But not after I got in like some experience. So I was actually already applying for jobs since December. I was kind of like spamming job applications, I was applying everywhere, anywhere that I could probably apply my skills. But the response was a little less than welcoming. Like 90% of the time, I would probably get ghosted. When I returned to Thailand, you know, I had to shift my whole game, I had to find jobs here, I had to adjust to the job hunting culture here. It's a lot different than the UK. And the, all the advice that I got throughout the years didn't really apply anymore. In the UK, you only really submit like a cover letter with maybe some of your qualifications. But in Thailand, they want to know everything. It was basically the same response. But a little bit less hopeful because psychology doesn't really have the most reputable academic status here in Thailand. I don't think anyone was really willing to give me a chance. Because of my degree, it was really difficult. I tried to apply myself elsewhere, I tried lowering my standards by a lot. I had a couple of applications go through and never really went anywhere. It was very disheartening. Like I lost a lot of hope in that time. I guess what motivates me most is that I spent four years abroad. I've left behind the life that I lived in Thailand to try to get myself a good education, a great degree from a great university. And if that goes down to waste, then what am I? There is a success story. So Thailand returned back to normal around mid May. I was taking a lot of online courses at the time because I thought if I don't have the skills, necessary to apply with just my degree, then I really need to push myself to learn more and gain more skills to apply myself in the workplace. And I was really interested in Data Science at the time. Because it's all pretty related to what I did in psychology. Psychology degrees in Edinburgh are very research focused. So I tend to focus a lot on programming statistics and research methods and stuff like that. And I actually really enjoyed that. I wanted to get better at that, because I thought those are my most, my strongest skills that I can really market myself. One of the courses that I was doing, did a little double on me, they had like this little exam at the end on Kahoot, through Zoom, I got the best score, I was number one, in like a class of 400. And so the CEO told me "hey, you unmute your mic, please". And we had a little talk there in front of like, 400 people listening to us. And he personally invited me to get an have an internship at his company. It's not a question of what I want to get out of it. But what have I gotten out of it, out of this past month and a half, that I've had this internship because I have done a lot. So much, it's so much knowledge crammed into such a small period of time, it's one of those things you can only really gain from being in the workplace, instead of being in university. I don't know if I'm good at it, but I'm doing it. I'm making it work. But I'm still very new at it. I think the pace that I'm going in is very fast, and learning really fast, despite everything. And I'm just grateful that you know, I was given this chance to begin with because it is a really great opportunity. And I'm learning a lot. Even though it's only been a month and a half, I've really learned a lot, it's turned my world upside down. I moved into an apartment with my friend, he also actually got a job. And we're trying our best to make it our own because I think, you know, having this experience of living independently has given us this taste that I don't really want to go back from. It's very, it was very restricting, living with my parents, I don't want to say it like that. But it's this strange, suffocating feeling that once you're free of them for four years, and you come back, and you're forced to live with them, it's a very strange situation. So that's why even though it's eating up all of my salary, I think getting a condominium and you know, renting a place for myself is worth the price of freedom.Sonia Mullineux (host):
We also ask our graduates to share a place. Somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this has finished.Jay:
I guess it's a little bit selfish for me to say, but the place I want everyone to meet in is where I'm living right now - Bangkok. It's the it's the capital of Thailand, it's the world's most visited city. Home to 20 million. It's, it's amazing, really. It's an amazing, multicultural place. It's bustling city lights everywhere. You know, there is a saying that you can get anything anytime you want in Bangkok and that's very true. There's food everywhere. You know, you're never lacking of what you want. Because of the lack of COVID-19 to worry about something really strange has happened these past few months, in that there's been massive protests in the streets. There's been massive anti monarchy, anti government protests. It's been a hot topic, really. And I can't say whether or not I've been there because it's not legal. But the Bangkok that I want people to live in is not the Bangkok that it is right now. Because Bangkok right now i a messy place. It's it' a difficult situation. There's so much political attention. It s, you know, I want what I w nt people to meet in Bangkok I want Bangkok to be a place I an really be proud of to show ff to everyone that I met in Edi burgh. I want it to be the ci y that I truly love. But right now, the state of everything. Th way the government is, t e way the government is ha dling the protests or harmi g student protesters using arme violence, it's not somethi g I can be proud of. So I think he special place I want everyone to meet at is a city I canSonia Mullineux (host):
Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.Kirsten Roche:
You're not on your own when it comes to planning for your future. Your University of Edinburgh community is here to support you. And this includes ongoing support for graduates from the Career Service. Why not take a look at our website to find out more about how we can support you get the future you want. Go to ed.ac.uk/careers to get started.