Tori Erskine graduated from the University of Chester in 2014 with a degree in English with Theology and Religious Studies. In this week’s blog, Tori tells us more about life after university…
“Whenever you’re at university, I think you put yourself into a state of denial that at some point it has to end. That’s the way I felt all the way back in 2014. After three amazing years of studying a degree I loved and meeting some of my friends for life, it was time to graduate from the University of Chester.
“My first few months after university was undoubtedly a time of reflection. I had debated going on to study a Master’s, but then I got an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. During university, I had a part-time job at a restaurant in Cheshire Oaks, and when they announced that they were opening a new branch in Broughton, I was offered a management position. After studying English with Theology and Religious Studies, hospitality was a very different route that I hadn’t initially planned to take, but I knew that gaining management experience would be invaluable.
“You know those situations you’re in, whether it’s a job interview or ice-breaker situation, when people ask you to tell them an interesting fact about yourself? Mine is definitely that I’m a trained pizzaiolo (pizza chef). Part of my management training involved learning everything there was to know about life in the restaurant, and so I spent a considerable amount of time finding my way around the kitchen. I spent just over a year in my management role before I decided it was time to break into the 9-5 life.
“Alongside starting an office role, I started my blog. Writing has always been my passion (hence why I studied English), so whilst having a bit more of a routine from work, I began to work on my blog.
“One day in June 2016 when scrolling through my Twitter feed, a well-known Chester account had retweeted a radio station that were looking for a blogger. I knew I wanted to gain more writing experience, and thought ‘what have I got to lose?’, so I sent them my CV. I was called in to have a chat, and the rest, as they say, is history. As well as writing articles, I managed to get involved in radio presenting and I’m so proud that every Thursday (self-promo alert!) at 7pm, I host my own show on Flipside radio! I play a variety of music and I’ve also had the chance to interview some extremely talented local acts including Alx Green, Luke Gardener, Peaness and Dead Is Forever.
“Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a Twitter addict, so whilst volunteering at Flipside, I also got involved with their marketing and I now manage their social media sites. I also made some great contacts such as Dom Smith, the editor of Soundsphere, an online music magazine. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to write some articles for the magazine, which has been amazing.
“Likewise, when I met Angela Ferguson who runs We Are Chester magazine, I also was able to join a fantastic team of writers who write for the site. Over the past few months, I’ve been to Chester productions in Storyhouse, as well as The Palace Theatre in Manchester and Theatr Clwyd. Angela and I have also started a monthly We Are Chester Special on Flipside.
“After years of working in hospitality and admin roles, I knew it was time to find a more creative role, and I felt through my experience at Flipside, We Are Chester and Soundsphere, I had enough of a portfolio to apply for some jobs. Over the past few months, I have been working as a Content Marketing Intern at Launch22 in Liverpool and it has been the most incredible role ever! It has involved writing blogs, creating podcasts and managing their social media accounts, so it’s literally been my dream job! Launch22 are a charity who provide workspace, events and mentoring to start-up businesses, so I have had the chance to network and improve my skills and knowledge.
“A lot of these wonderful experiences I owe completely to my blog which I started out as a hobby just over a year ago. I’ve learnt a few things since finishing university too, firstly it’s not just university where you can take up new hobbies! I started volunteering at Flipside and it’s been a great way of meeting new people whilst doing something I really enjoy. Secondly, take every opportunity you can! If you don’t ask, you don’t get. When I asked Dom and Angela if I could write for them, the worst that they could have said was no, so I’m so glad I plucked up the courage to ask to get involved.
“Leaving university is always a sad time, but you can utilise all the skills that you learnt whilst there afterwards. Whether it’s writing, researching or even socialising, it’s all about creating opportunities for yourself and embracing them.”
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