Life as a Dance Graduate 2020

Lucy Erridge, One Dance UK intern 2018-19 and University of Surrey dance graduate 2020.

 

So, on what would have been a day of celebration with family and friends, I found myself alone in my bedroom, like most other students, submitting my final assignments online. The moment was filled with huge excitement, relief, and a sudden wave of fear, as I awaited the inevitable and dreaded question, “What are you going to do now?”. The weeks prior to this moment still feel like blur, from long nights of essay writing, to film editing and indoor choreography shooting. I became so consumed by my work that I almost did not know what to do with myself once the pressure cooker had cooled off. Since I had very little else to do, I was left to think about what I wanted to do next – admittedly, after a very long nap and multiple Zoom calls with my fellow sleep-deprived students!

I used to think that everyone had a secret plan to getting where they wanted to be, but I have come to the realisation that there is no perfect method for finding the right path for you. After many internet searches, online lectures and late-night conversations, I have compiled a list of three key pieces of advice I have received that I would like to share with you as we take the next leap of faith.

1. Do not compare yourself to others. In a world of social media, likes and hashtags, it can be very easy for us to see what our friends and classmates are doing and feel disheartened when we see others getting jobs and promotions. Yet, it is also important to remember that social media is a tool in which people are able to highlight the very best parts of themselves and a simple picture can never reveal the full story. Everyone is on their own unique path, so stay focused on yours and what makes you truly happy. Otherwise, you may fall into the trap of rushing into a job or a decision, just to keep up with everyone. Life is so much more than gaining Instagram likes. Stay patient, it will happen.

2. Make mistakes and lots of them. I, like many others, used to get frustrated when something did not quite go to plan. Yet, how can anyone learn and grow if they do not make mistakes? Over the past few years, I have come to embrace my errors, because they give me an opportunity to learn and to ask questions. No one is perfect, and no one expects you to be. However, it is how we use our mistakes to help us and turn them into a lesson to learn from. From these lessons we can build knowledge and confidence, which are two powerful tools to have!

3. Believe in yourself! Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to taking on a new challenge. We can easily convince ourselves that we are not good enough and instead take the route that is more comfortable, even though it is not what we truly desire. As new graduates, it can feel as though we are not yet taken seriously and so we tend to shy away from job roles and opportunities, just because we do not feel ready. To that I say, you are more than ready! You have worked hard for years, given your absolute all, and have made many sacrifices. Do not underestimate yourself, because look how far you have come already.

Finally, to the class of 2020, congratulations! You, against all the odds, have graduated in a year of uncertainty, chaos, and change. Although you may feel anxious about what the future may hold, I want you to stay motivated and keep believing in yourself. Big things are yet to come. If you can conquer 2020, you can do anything. Good luck!