For episode 44, Victoria discusses spontaneity, community and expressing gratitude.
Each episode is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. As the world emerges from pandemic paralysis, are our Class of 2021 feeling inspired or inhibited, glad or gloomy, chaotic or calm?
Welcome to Season 2, a little bit of the same but quite a lot different. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about life, the last 12 months and future plans.
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 from freemusicarchive.org
Artwork: Vector created by redgreystock from www.freepik.com
Sonia 0:09 This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is Season Two, Class of 2021. A little bit of the same, but quite a lot different.
Victoria 0:22 My name is Victoria, I studied Business with Enterprise and Innovation. I'm currently based in Taipei, Taiwan and have been for the past, almost a year now! So I came back during the start of when the pandemic was hitting the UK, so around March time, and back here, back home, the pandemic wasn't as bad. So I thought, okay, if my option was to stay or to leave, because I was going to come back for spring break anyway so I just decided I was to come back a little earlier. I'll be very honest, staying for this long was not in my plan of post university career path but it just turned out that way. I'm really glad it turned out that way, I was able to come back here where it was relatively safe and be able to reconnect with family and build new connections that I never thought I could, within this space, and just finding a place where I fit. Being more, I guess, reflective and thoughtful about all the things that we're doing.
Before all of this happened, my original thinking was I was going to the US to find a job after uni. Because that's where I do want to be based in in terms of like, long term plan. So the idea was to-- okay, I'll graduate, go to the US, I'll find a job there and see where life takes me. I threw myself a curveball by deciding to stay in Taipei. I think it turned out for the best because now I'm not on that rat race to, okay, I've graduated and must find a job. Right now I've graduated, I don't have a job lined up but I'm thankful for that time. Because I'm giving myself a grace period to really think about things I want. My goals; be more purposeful with the way I'm looking to see where I'll end up because for the past three years, especially during University, I was always working a part time job and studying and joining a lot of like different societies and to fill my life with different things and wanting to gain different experiences, because I'm constantly learning and wanting to interact with new different things. So I was always really busy. I think I equated during University time, like busyness equals happiness but I didn't realise that stress also comes with that. But because I was so busy, I didn't realise that I was actually really stressed. So I think now is a good time for me to look back on that and say, hey, I was busy. You know what aspects of that busyness did I enjoy or did I not enjoy, and just being more purposeful with the activities I fill my life with right now. And making sure that those activities that I do, are the things that I enjoy and bring happiness rather than stress.
So I realised exercise is a very key part of my routine in my life. But I didn't focus on that for like the first couple of years of uni, so right now what brings me happiness is exercising and so I'm focusing on the sport I want to do which is Olympic weightlifting, and then finding a community locally that can help me support that sort of extracurricular activity. And what brings me happiness, I think right now also is trying to build my own community of people that I can rely on. Enough people that I enjoy spending time with, strengthening my current relationships I have, whether that's with family, friends, and just realising that I have a finite amount of time in Taiwan right now. I'm not going to get that time back so I might as well use it wisely.
I'm always a planner like that's my personality. I plan ahead for things even though I say oh, I have no plans. But in the back of my mind I'm already formulating my next steps, you know. So I think realising that things don't always go to plan and spontaneity-- there's something beautiful about spontaneity. There's something in a way reckless but not with like a negative connotation. There's a lot of leeway, I think, for people in my year, because of the pandemic things, everything that's happening and every country is in such a different place with how they're reacting to COVID. Some countries like things have gone back to normal, some places are still reeling from the impact of it. So I think I'm lucky enough to have a bit of a leeway in terms of expectations. Usually it's you go out of university you have to find a job, but I think now it's more of a, it's okay, if you don't actually have a job because the world-- everyone is in such a different place. So I get this grace period of letting myself not feel like I have to jump on the bandwagon with how everyone else is doing and just being like, it's okay. Stop projecting what people expect of me, and just being like, recognising, okay, your-- this is your expectation of me but this is not my expectation of myself. Because I was always reflecting on like things in University like during my whole journey, but I think this year definitely was a lot more of that. Also, because I think I had a stronger community around me who I can talk to, because I realise how important it is to just talk it out. I think everyone has different ways of coping with something. I just love just talking to people about my experiences, and then hearing their thoughts, because I think everyone always has different opinions on things, different perspective, they see things through a different lens. So it's very helpful for me to talk about, maybe like an issue I'm having and then say, "hey, what's your opinion on it?". Just finding the right people to connect with and click with and be very honest and open to has really helped me. I feel like always listening is a very, it is a very necessary skill. I think I see it this way, that someone has told me that what I value might not be what another person values. So I have to work on recognising what other people value and observing with other people's behaviours, to understand them, and empathise with them on their situations.
This time has really given me the space to appreciate and show gratitude to the people around me, recognising how much impact they have in my life and making sure to say thank you. I realised the power of those small actions on someone's day, like even though you can just say a thank you message, and you think, oh, I'm just one of the thousands, but maybe that one message really hits them. And they're like, oh, wow, actually really impacted this person a lot without them even knowing it. Relationships take time, and they take effort to maintain. And so reaching out to people and just checking in, and showing that you care about them, and that you just want to check in with them and see how they're doing. So I think sometimes those messages are actually some of the most heart warming ones. Sometimes I've received messages from someone I haven't talked to in like, ages, and they're like, "oh, how are you doing?" I'm like, wow, you remember me? Hey, okay, yeah, let's reconnect. I think that reconnecting is so so important.
Eventually, my goal is to end up in the States to get a job there. So I've set myself a deadline, I say, okay, the beginning of next year, I will go back, give myself time to find a job. When I go back is basically when my career will take off, not necessarily how that will turn out -- I'm just saying, give myself a time, give myself a place and see how things will go. I'm thinking about Austin, Texas at the moment, not 100% sure. But I heard that was an interesting place to be. I haven't been to the States in a very, very long time, almost eight years now in terms of long term stay. So I think it'll also be a very interesting journey for me to go back, re-adjust and have different experiences compared to the things that I've understood from in the past.
Sonia 8:23 We also asked our graduates to share a place, somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this is finished.
Victoria 8:33 For me, that place currently is my gym. It's called Weightlifter. It's out of the city and it's about like 30 minutes away from where I live. And it was the first time when I came back that I found a very organic community. So I was just looking for a place to learn more technique on how to do Olympic weightlifting, found this place. Got lost on my way there, because it's very tucked in - it's literally in the woods! And then I had to go to a temple to ask, "Oh, where is there like a weightlifting place?" And the first guy told me no, and they were having a party or something. And the second person behind them were like, "yeah, yeah, it's over here". It was completely different than my expectation because it's not a commercial gym. It's very much looks like a gym out of someone's garage. Very homey feel. So then that's my kind of community because I go there and I can just forget about all my worries, and just work on practicing basically, and just train. It's like a little bubble for me going there being like, okay, now I'm entering this bubble. All other worries, gone now and just talking to people and feeling like I'm a part of that community now because there's no strict membership. There's no like, I guess all the things that come with commercial gyms. It's all stripped down. It's very much just a place where people go to train. There's a teacher that teaches you but then the whole vibe is very much a community feel, like you go to learn the technique but you stay for the community.
Sonia 10:14 Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.
Kirsten Roche 10:29 Wherever you are with planning for your future, the Career Service is here to support you. As a recent graduate, you can continue to use all of our services, including full access to My Career Hub, online appointments with our career consultants, our full calendar of employer events and support with the application process. Find out more at ed.ac.uk/careers.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai