WHAT NOW? A LIFE AFTER GRADUATION - GUEST POST

Saturday

This is a guest post from Alisha at Inside the Voyage.

Hi everyone! I’m Alisha a travel and lifestyle blogger over at Inside The Voyage. I graduated with a BA Hons degree in English and Media in 2019, and have since been discovering myself and my passions.


Travel flatlay

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.


What Now?


I am positive that every University student fears unemployment after graduation. Who wouldn’t? I most certainly did, and to an extent, nearly two years later I still do.  I graduated in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Media. Though I celebrated the end of my degree with overflowing prosecco glasses and listening to the constant ‘Well done, you did it!’ felicitations from family, and friends. I could not help but hear that deep-rooted fear within my gut that consistently questioned ‘What now?’.

 

I did not know what I wanted in a career, never mind actually apply for a job. So, rather than rack my head around career topics, I decided to take time away from educational studies and future career prospects. I needed to gain clarity for my future. I believed I was only causing myself anxiety, forcing myself to follow fellow graduates into new exciting careers. I hadn’t found my calling yet, and though it sickeningly worried me, I comfortably settled into the unknown.


Travelling


I then decided to travel, I love the world and want to see as much of it as possible. I booked onto a two-month tour around South East Asia, though my mum was worried out of her mind due to my travelling solo, I was ecstatic. I finally had one goal set to reach that I needed money. Soon after moving back home, I landed a part-time job in a local bar and began working as many shifts as possible to save for my next adventure. A career was not even a thought in my mind, because in the present I had much more exciting plans. I finally believed that I had structured my life into forming a pathway that I should be on.

 

April 2020: Travel around South East Asia

September 2020: Start an MA Course (at this point, I was still undecided on what I wanted to do)


Being a Graduate in the pandemic


Unfortunately, this devastating pandemic hit and my plans, like many others, were indefinitely put on hold. I was now back at square one. Not sure where my life was going, or even what I wanted to do. Luckily, I managed to run from the graduate blues, hiding behind my excitement to travel. However, forced into a lockdown that feared question soon arose, ‘What now?’.

 

I now had all the time in the world to figure out what I wanted out of life. And my gosh, I experimented with plenty of things during 2020. I first started a “marketing” job, and what a mistake that was. It was not what was advertised, but I earned next to nothing, and quit on the first day.

 

Next, I started an MLM scheme, purely out of boredom at this point. That lasted a week or so before I put time into researching what an MLM scheme actually was and realised, again, I was barely making any money. Don’t get me wrong, some people do earn a lot working for an MLM scheme, but I found it a pretty exhausting way to make money.


Starting my own business


My next adventure and my most favoured was starting my small wax melt business Inside The Fragrance. Starting this venture has kept occupied and busy when I felt lost and demotivated. This is one hundred per cent a small side business for me, and in no means is it my future career, but it is absolutely perfect for the time being.

 

Now, like many others, I’m currently on furlough from my bar job. Thus, this free time has allowed me to focus on my side business and my future career. I have spent months looking at various job prospects and MA courses. Ultimately, this slightly freaked me out as I wondered virtually from one course to another, desperately seeking somewhere I could call home.

 

Finally, after nearly two years since my graduation, I gained some clarity on the path I am about to embark on. From one graduate to another, please don’t stress if you graduate University without a job. It is, and I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH; it is not the end of the world. If you’re like me, it will merely take you slightly longer to reach realisation, but once you get there, you will feel like you’re on the path you’re meant to be on.

 

My advice to you:

 

1.     Don’t panic apply for jobs. When we’re panicking, we often make rash decisions and uninformed decisions.

2.     Figure out what you enjoy, identify your skills, and discover the right career path for you.

3.      Don’t be discouraged if your job application is rejected. That one job was not meant for you, and there are always more opportunities.

4.   Use your free time to build on your CV. Attend online classes to enhance or learn to skills.

5.      Find your passion! It might be easier said than done, but once you realise your passions, you will feel much more confident in applying to that MA course OR job.

 

Follow me on social media:


Instagram: Instagram.com/alishabrisco

Twitter: Twitter.com/alishabrisco

Blog: www.insidethevoyage.co.uk


Related read: Top Tips for Starting University 


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3 TIPS FOR STAYING CREATIVE

Tuesday

AD - This is a sponsored post.

As a blogger, I am always trying to find new ways to be creative. Although, sometimes it can be quite difficult to stay creative or to get the motivation to be creative, especially with the ongoing pandemic. Most of the time when I am not feeling creative but know I have to get something done, I need to find inspiration.


You may want to create graphics for blogging and social media or you could just want to start a new creative hobby while there’s less to go and do at the moment. You may have a small business want to create logos and business cards to promote what you do. If any of these sounds like you then I have some tips for you.


person using macbook pro and ipad

Image from Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.


Tips on getting creative when you are in a creative slump


Take regular breaks when you need to


Unfortunately, a lot of the time you can’t force creativity. The best thing for me is leaving something and coming back to it. If I need to create something and get a bit stuck on it, it will usually help me to leave it for a bit and give myself rest. Then when I come back to it, I can come back to it refreshed with a different mindset. I do this with blog posts a lot of the time too, sometimes I can write them so easily and other times it takes a while for me to construct them.


Use design prompts


When you are in a creative slump but have a deadline coming up, you may need to seek inspiration and look for design prompts. Design Bundles have so many prompts available to purchase for low prices. They offer products such as graphics, templates and illustrations to help you with your designs.


These bundles could be helpful if you are starting a new creative hobby too and are not sure where to start. They even have SVG files such as a baseball SVG and skull SVG which could be great for kids. Using bundles like these can not only give you inspiration, but can save so much time when creating too.


woman using tablet and computer

Image from Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.


Get inspiration from similar outlets


You should never copy anyone else, but there’s no harm done in looking to other outlets that have produced something similar to what you’d like to do and using them for inspiration. For example, when I am stuck for blog posts, I know a lot of bloggers have posts about ideas for blogging so I will look to them for some guidance.


Similarly, if you’d like to start a candle making business, it would be helpful to see what other candle making businesses are doing and what works well. If all else fails, just use Google to look for what you’d like to create and see what’s already out there.


What are your favourite ways to get creative? Let me know if you use any of these tips. I love being creative and always feel better once I have done a creative hobby or made something. You can get so caught up in work life or university life if you’re like me so it’s great to have a creative outlet too!


Related: 100 Blog Post Ideas for Every Niche


Wool of the King

100 BLOG POST IDEAS FOR EVERY NICHE

Saturday

This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase a product through my these links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

I feel like every blogger has written a blog post ideas post but I haven't yet, so I thought I may as well share some ideas from me. I always love reading these posts when I'm stuck for ideas so I hope this can help you out. Hopefully, this post will help me too when I'm stuck for ideas. I can just look back on this post and hopefully, it will spark some inspiration for me too!


In this post, I have tried to include quite a few niches so I can help as many of you as possible. Some of these niches I don't write a lot about myself, for example, I never really write about fashion - but I love reading blog posts about it anyway and have just gone off the sort of things I think would be interesting to read about.


Woman writing on blog

Image from Pixabay.


Blog post ideas for every niche


Fashion

1. Winter essentials

2. My top coat picks

3. Paris in outfits (or any travel destination you may visit)

4. Must-have accessories this season

5. How to style your favourite fashion item

6. Top pics from SS2021 (or any other season)

7. Recreating iconic celebrity outfits (I have seen a lot of TikToks where people recreate outfits of people like Kendall Jenner and Princess Diana and they always look so good)

8. Go-to hairstyles 

9. My favourite items from Zara (or a shop you like to buy a lot of items from)

10. Staple items everyone needs


Travel


Beach huts on Hastings pier

11. Travelling on a budget

12. Top things to do in London (or a city of your choosing)

13. Travel bucket list - here's my travel bucket list.

14. Top luxury travel destinations

15. Top staycation destinations

16. What's in my travel bag

17. How to keep entertained on long-haul flights

18. Most Instagrammable spots in Copenhagen (or a destination of your choosing)

19. Best places to visit in your city

20. How to keep the travel bug alive when you can't travel

21. Top historic destinations you need to visit


Beauty


Juvia's Place eyeshadow palette

22. My favourite beauty products of all time

23. Recreating iconic celebrity looks

24. Reviews of new products

25. Top 10 eyeshadow palettes

26. How to get the summer glow

27. Trying out beauty trends

28. My day-time skincare routine

29. My night time skin care routine

30. Products that aren't worth the hype


Lifestyle

31. Night in ideas

32. My favourite ways to practice self-care

33. Law of attraction and manifestation posts

34. Inspirational quotes you should live by

35. Date night ideas

36. How you can support small businesses 

37. 21 things I have learnt in 21 years (replace this with your age)

38. Goals and hopes for the future

39 Sharing my favourite playlists for every occasion

40. Smalls steps you can make for more sustainable living

41. A day in the life of Lauren

42. Advice I'd give to my younger self

43. Gift guides

44. Q&A with your followers


Food & Drink


Pizza in Sorrento

45. Cocktail recipes - here are 5 cocktail recipes from me

46. Recipes for your favourite meals

47. Fakeaway recipes

48. Favourite restaurants in your city

49. My go-to brownie recipe (this can be replaced with any sweet treats that you like to bake)

50. Your favourite pasta in under 500 calories (be careful with this, it can be triggering to those with or recovering from eating disorders to count calories. However, it is great to find healthy versions of your favourite versions of not so healthy meals)

51. Vegan breakfast recipes you need to try

52. The best vegetarian/vegan meat substitutes


Mental Health

53. Mindfulness activities

54. Stress-reducing activities

55. How you have dealt with trauma

56. Toxic positivity - what is it and how it can affect people?

57. How you deal with anxiety or depression

58. Overcoming obstacles that have affected your mental health

59. Things I'm grateful for

60. Reducing the stigma surrounding mental health


Blogging

61. 100 blog post ideas for every niche (just like this one)

62. What I wish I knew before starting a blog

63. Top bloggers to follow in 2021

64. How I've grown my social media channels

65. 100 hashtags to use on Instagram

66. Best ways to plan your time as a blogger (Check out The ULTIMATE Yearly Blogging Planner to help you plan your time).

67. Resources all bloggers need to try

68. Best apps to have as a blogger

69. SEO help posts (we all need these)

70. The best Wordpress or Blogger themes

71. How to grow your blog followers

72. How to grow your mailing list

73. How to monetise your blog in 2021


Entertainment (book film, netflix, music etc)


Catfish and the Bottlemen concert

74. Top films to watch on Netflix

75. Top series to watch on Netflix

76. Book reviews

77. TV series reviews

78. Film reviews

79. What to watch on Disney+

80. Your favourite musical and why

81. Review of a musical

82. Review of your latest concert 

83. Album reviews from your favourite artists


Student


Quote from Amanthis Diary

84. Productivity tips

85. Things you should know before starting university

86. Things you should know before moving away from home 

87. My study playlist

88. Revision tips

89. Managing studying with part-time work

90. Easy ways to enhance your CV

91. Reasons why you should do a placement year or study abroad (you can replace this with anything you think would be beneficial - it could be joining a club or society at university)

92. Saving money as a student

93. Benefits of learning a new language

94. Balancing university with a part-time job

95. Easiest ways to make money while studying


Opinion Pieces

96. Opinion on current issues such as fast fashion

97. Why I prefer having a small circle of friends

98. My opinion on blogging in 2021

99. Why I don't like the ... trend (any trends you don't like or do and why)

100. Challenging the stigma on a certain topic


I hope this post has helped spark some ideas for you if you were stuck, or even just to add to your already large list of ideas. Please tag me or let me know if you use any of these ideas, I'd love to read your posts.


Do you have any blog post ideas that I've missed? 


Related Read: 5 Steps to Taking Successful Instagram Pictures


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Wool of the King

DEALING WITH ANXIETY DURING A PANDEMIC

This is a guest post from Sophie over at Girl Vs. World.

Hi, guys! It's Soph from girlvsworld here. The lovely Lauren has given me the opportunity to write a guest post for her blog regarding dealing with anxiety during a pandemic, which I'm super thankful for and really looking forward to. Today, we're going to be talking about dealing with anxiety during a pandemic.


Recently, my anxiety has been getting much worse, as being stuck inside leaves little to do other than overthink and become your own worst enemy. I have a full post about How to Protect your Mental Wellbeing Whilst in Quarantine, which may be helpful for you if you suffer from depression or any mental illness other than anxiety. 


Anyway, without further ado, let's get into my top tips for dealing with anxiety:


Woman using macbook pro
Image by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels

Don't constantly watch the news or check stats


This is the biggest tip I could give you if you're dealing with anxiety during the pandemic. Obviously be mindful and stay educated on the situation, but don't work yourself up by constantly checking the news and making yourself miserable. Yes, keeping informed on the virus is important, but so is your mental health and your days shouldn't be filled with panic and stress that is making you miserable.


Take some time out each day to watch Netflix (I have a post talking through My Top 5 Netflix Series I Watched in 2020), do something creative (write a blog post if you have a blog, or do something artistic if you like that kinda stuff!) or read a book. Taking time to do something you personally enjoy can make the world of a different when it comes to dealing with anxiety during a pandemic.


Go for a walk


This one may seem simple but it is SO important. Going for a walk is a simple yet effective, way of clearing your head and getting yourself out of the house during lockdown. Seeing other people out and about walking their dogs etc reminds you that you're not on your own and everyone else is in the same position you are.


Norfolk broads

It's also great to get out of the house so you're not staring at the same four walls all day, every day - that's not good for anybody! You are likely to feel way more refreshed after a good, long walk and more prepared to continue with your day (whether that be lounging round watching Netflix, or being productive on the laptop - either is completely fine... No judgement round here!)


Facetime your friends or family


For me, I have found this to be an absolute essential during lockdown so I don't start to feel lonely. I facetime my friends multiple times every day, especially at night when the loneliness and boredom hits a little more. Personally, my anxiety always hits more at night , so facetiming my friend is a fantastic distraction that reminds me there are always people on the other end of the phone ready to listen.


Everyone is going through the same situation, remember that. Whether you talk about silly stuff, every-day casual conversations, or have deep chats, it's great to have someone to be there. Never underestimate the power of a phone call - especially face time / video call as you get to see your loved ones face and really feel like they're right there with you.


So, there we have it! My top 3 tips on dealing with anxiety during a pandemic. If you ever need someone to speak to, you can DM me on Instagram or Twitter and I will always be there to listen to you. Stay safe, lovelies, I promise things will get better and there I always a light at the end of the tunnel. Make sure you're there to see it! 


Thank you so much, again, to Lauren for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her wonderful blog! I hope you guys enjoyed the post. 


Read next: 5 Books I wish I'd Read Sooner


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5 STEPS TO TAKING SUCCESSFUL INSTAGRAM PICTURES

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase a product through these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Since becoming more serious and consistent with my blog, I decided to try and grow my social media channels. Mainly Instagram and Twitter because I think these ones work best for my blog and I reached 3000 followers on Instagram recently. I did give Pinterest a good go in summer and it worked well for a while but I felt like it was taking up all of my time so I took a step back. Maybe I will try with Pinterest again but I just thought a break was needed and I haven't really gone back since.


Durdle Door, Dorset

Anyway, since I have been trying to grow my Instagram, I've been putting more care into the pictures I take and upload and I am going to be sharing how I do this. As you may have seen in my Goals for 2021 blog post, growing my Instagram is one of my main blogging goals this year.


I will also write a post all about how I am growing my Instagram in the near future too because that's the channel that is growing the quickest for me. But for now, I will just be sharing some tips on how I take my pictures. This could work really well for you or not work for you at all, it's just interesting to see different approaches in my opinion.


Tips on how to take pictures for Instagram


1. Upload content you love


Baked Camembert from The Wheatsheaf in the Woodfords, Wiltshire
In order to stand out from the millions of other people on Instagram, you need to be uploading content that is authentically you. If you are uploading content that you think your followers will like but isn't really you, then your followers aren't really going to engage with your brand and what you're all about. For example, if you're posting pictures of fashion when you are a book blogger then chances are your followers won't be interacting with your blog.

2. Try to create a theme


The accounts I see do well on Instagram are ones that have a theme. That means your photos on the grid look kind of similar to each other and there is a colour scheme. I don't actually focus on that too much because of my first point of uploading content that is you, but it can help to have a theme. This can be done by using the same preset on your photos, which I will come to in my next point.

If you are looking to create consistent branding for your Instagram then check out this Instagram Branding Pack.

3. Use Adobe Presets


Difference between ordinary image and Adobe Presets
This is not sponsored, I just use Adobe Presets for all of my Instagram pictures and it makes such a difference and really enhances my photos, making them look more professional. Presets can also help you create a theme without being inauthentic. You can take pictures that you love and that express you and enhance them and try and create a theme with presets. You can create your own presets on the Adobe app or there are a lot of people out there that create and sell great ones - whatever suits you best.

4. Treat everything as a photo opportunity


It's better to have more than enough photos because posting consistently is important for Instagram growth. If I am going out, a lot of the time I will take pictures even if something doesn't really look that Insta-worthy. You can always delete them later and they could look Insta-worthy once you have worked your magic in Adobe Presets. Even if they don't get uploaded, it's nice to create memories through photos.

5. Show your face


Lauren Kenny at Sculpture by the Lakes
For me, my most liked photos are the ones that have me in them. I read somewhere that audiences prefer to see your face across your channel because they can put more trust into you that way. I know lots of selfies and images of yourself might not fit with everyone's brand, but you should be uploading one or two, even if it's just introducing yourself. Then, people can see the face behind the account and know who they are following.

Sorting your content and deciding on the type of thing you are going to post and being consistent with it is the key to success on Instagram. At the end of the day, the images you put out there are the line between someone following you and connecting with you or not. 

If you found this post helpful, I will post about how I have been and am still growing my Instagram and will share my top engagement tips too. It's not just the pictures you post, engaging with others and using your insights is also important if you want to grow.

For more consistent branding across all of your social media channels, check out these Social Media Templates for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram Stories.

Do you have any Instagram tips? I am always looking for new strategies.


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Wool of the King

MY GOALS FOR 2021

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase a product through these links I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, visit my disclaimer.

I did actually write a goals and wishes post for 2020 too but it's been such a weird year I feel like it was hard to achieve them. Although, this has been my best, most consistent year for blogging yet. All the lockdowns actually helped my blog so there's one positive from 2020, but I really am looking forward to 2021. Hopefully things will be more normal but we'll see.


Lauren Kenny at Mudeford Quay


Blogging goals


1. Reaching 5000 views on a single blog post


This is a stretch but so far the most views I have on a blog post is 3400. At the beginning of 2020 the most views I'd ever had was 1400 and that was a complete fluke. I used to get 200 views if I was lucky so if my blog keeps growing the way it has been, I really hope I can reach this goal.


2. 5000 Instagram followers


I am going to really try to grow my Instagram this year. At the start of the year I had 1700 ish (I can't remember the exact number) and I'm starting 2021 with over 3000 followers. Again, it's a steep goal but I am hoping to achieve it. I will write some posts documenting my journey on how I am intending to gain more of a following. One thing that's important to gaining followers is consistent branding. Check out these social media canva templates to help with branding across all of your social media channels.


3. 20,000 monthly blog views


Again, another steep goal but the most views I've gotten in a month so far was 15,000 views back in November - so hopefully not too far off. See how I got over 10,000 monthly views this year.


4. 100,000 yearly blog views or over for 2021


This year I reached 78,000 views on my blog for the year and I only really started properly blogging again in April, so I'm hoping with log views starting from January this time will make this a realistic goal for me. I'm definitely going to have to plan my blog and content more effectively too. Check out THE ULTIMATE yearly blogging planner to help you plan yours.


5. Make money through blogging - DONE


I love blogging without making money from it but from seeing what other bloggers can make with their blog I may as well try. It would be so amazing to be able to make even a little bit of money through a hobby that I love but I still feel like I have a long way to go for this goal. In 2020 I have done several gifted ads so I just need to go that one step further. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!


6. Work on SEO and increase my DA score


This is kind of goes hand in hand with goal number 5 because I feel like most paid ads require a high(ish) domain authority score. I will be the first to admit that my SEO needs a lot of work so hopefully this is something I can improve in 2021. Again, any tips would be amazing. For those of you who don't know, a domain authority (DA) score is a score out of 100 that is to do with your SEO (search engine optimisation) and the higher your score, the more likely you are to rank higher on search engines like Google. A lot of brands will only work with you if your DA score is over 20 but some don't mind.


One resource I have started using already to help with SEO is the Google Analytics Cheatsheet mini E-book


Personal goals


1. Graduate university with a 2:1

I am hoping this is achievable for me, I usually get mostly 2:1s on my assignments so fingers crossed!! I am graduating this year, scary I know.

2. Cook more proper meals

If anyone knows me they know that I'm not really a cook. I've just always thought I was rubbish at it but that's only because I've not really tried properly. I've made a couple of things lately that were quite nice so I am going to try making more meals that I like. When I leave uni I will probably have to stop eating like a student.

3. Cut things out that aren't good for my mental health


I asked what your goals were on Instagram and this one from my friend Gee inspired me. It's so important to try and only be around things that positively affect our mental health. If something has a negative effect on me then chances are, I'm going to avoid it or cut it out this year. I am pretty good at doing this anyway but there's always room for improvement.

Post-Covid Goals


Zell am See

I would have a lot more goals if it weren't for Covid but after the way this year has gone, I have no idea what will happen. I may as well just share the things I want to do and if I can't do them, then fine but if I can it will be really nice to look back on this post and tick them off.

1. Go abroad


I LOVE travelling and going away and if we can, it will probably be the first thing I'd want to do. I don't even mind where I go but it would be so lovely to get away. We can hope!

2. Celebrate my birthday out of the house


This year, I spent my 21st birthday in lockdown. Although I had a lovely time, it would be nice to celebrate my birthday out of the house, maybe with a meal or something.

3. Go to my summer ball


I am in my final year of university which means this year's summer ball will be my last if it goes ahead. It would be great to go and celebrate finishing uni with all my friends.

4. Have a graduation


At our uni, the graduation ceremonies are held around November, so I am hoping by then we will be able to have a proper graduation but I am not going to set my hopes too high.

What are your goals for 2021?

If you'd like to see what I got up to in 2020 then head over to my 2020 round up.

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Wool of the King