With the one year anniversary of the first UK lockdown passing by, we have been reflecting on the last year and how it has impacted us, how our lives have changed and how we, as event graduates, can move forward.
We've asked Event Grads to share their stories, how the pandemic has impacted them, whether their plans and mindset have changed and what the future looks like post-pandemic.
🌟 Bianca Mureșan · 2020 MA Events and Experience Management · Goldsmiths, University of London 🌟
The pandemic started impacting my studies before I graduated, as I finished in November 2020. I had to fully change my dissertation approach which I prepared for the past year before the pandemic. Graduating during covid has definitely taken a toll on me, as I had so many plans to grow my connections, volunteer and gain knowledge in the summer of 2020.
Seeing redundancy posts so frequently at the beginning made me realize how competitive the industry is and how challenging it will be to get a job when everything gets back to normal. I think it will be harder for students and recent grads to get into the industry as opposed to before covid, as we had this setback where we couldn’t gain much experience and roles that don’t require absurd experience for a starting role are becoming very rare.
🌟 Atalanta Tolputt · 2020 Event Graduate · University of Greenwich 🌟
I think it goes without saying that this past year has not been easy for anyone. Looking back on my first year as a graduate (BA Events Management 2020), I have had mixed feelings about it. Many ups and downs. At first, the uncertainty and the events industry’s future really got to me, and to be honest, I felt a little lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Fortunately, I had to move back into my family home (like many others) but then struggled with losing my independence and never being alone and going from always being on the go to not having any structure to my day.
So I started going for more walks, exercising and reading more books - having me time. I did some online courses and made my events Instagram account (@eventswithatalanta), which has allowed me to connect with some inspiring and incredible event profs, and it gave me hope and friends that knew exactly how it felt to be an events grad in the pandemic and it gave me comfort in knowing I am not alone. Shoutout to Event Grads also - you are incredible, and you inspire me so much!
A year on, I have just landed myself an unpaid internship and just finished my first week. So I am now working on projects with them, putting myself forward to gain as much experience as possible before live or even hybrid events start.
"Continuing to put myself out there - networking, building connections, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I changed my mindset from feeling sorry for myself for graduating into a pandemic and now look at it as a perfect time to grow and work out what’s next".
I think, if this past year has shown us anything, it’s that this community of event profs and grads and students is so resilient and so supportive. We are the future event managers, and we have learnt so many excellent skills during this pandemic. The world has realised just how much we rely upon and how much joy we get from events and experiences. I believe that as soon as we get through the vaccination and events start coming back, that there will be a tsunami of events and loads of opportunities for us. I mean, just look at how many festival tickets have been sold so far this year! The future of the industry is bright and brilliant, and our time will come!
🌟 Hannah Jarvis · 2019 Event Graduate · University of Chichester 🌟
I found the pandemic to be a really tough time for self-motivation and feeling stuck in my own Groundhog Day, as I am sure most of us have. But something that this pandemic guided me into realising is the value of having a community and goals outside of my workplace. I have always been passionate about events, but when you are stuck in the same routine with limited variety each day, you can get stuck in the mundane routine of switching on your laptop and keeping your eyes glued to it until gone 5:30 never realising, let alone valuing, what lies beyond.
Thankfully the pandemic guided me into the events community on Instagram, allowing me to find the most supportive community of event professionals who I interact with, learn from, and share ideas with each week.
"This opened up my sheltered events mindset, which was limited to just my own experiences, allowing me to learn so much more about the industry and discovering ways I can flourish within it. From this, I found a much more refreshed outlook on the industry".
This then pushed me into setting bigger goals for my development outside of work, and participating in so many more industry activities based upon exactly that, to help me discover ways I can use my passions to contribute within the industry. Eventually, this led me to join a mentoring scheme, where I am now being mentored by an incredible event professional who has taught me so much about myself and once again opened my eyes to new passions I have found within events.
As event grads, we are constantly learning more about not only this industry but ourselves too. I truly think this pandemic has allowed a lot of us to refocus, discover new passions, develop new projects, and find more joy in the everyday. When not a lot is going on outside, there’s plenty of personal development and self-discovery to do on the inside.
🌟 Alice Carlo · 2020 Event Graduate · University of Bournemouth 🌟
Graduating during a pandemic was never going to be easy, especially into an industry that could no longer run! Initially, I didn’t feel too affected by it, and I had the summer of 2020 to finish my dissertation and live the last of my uni life with my friends. However, it was once the reality of needing a full time job hit that it started to have more of an impact.
I’ve always had a dream to be big in the events industry and to move to London to work as a graduate in the corporate sector, however, this has sadly now been put on hold. Being a motivated individual meant that this was hard to comprehend and I often found myself blaming my own actions as to why this goal was not in place, and the sheer number of job rejections also didn’t help my positivity! But, I found it so important to remind myself of how crowded the job market currently is, and the level of experience that employers require which many other applicants will have more of than me.
"Staying positive, optimistic and happy was admittedly hard at times and it did feel never-ending, but staying connected to the events world and networking with like-minded students/graduates definitely helped to spark the positivity that the end is in sight!"
After many applications, interviews and rejections, I have now taken on a new industry role as a PA, in order to gain experience and learn new skills, as well as to earn some money!! I’ve learnt to accept that my London plans have been put on hold for now, and although this is different to my original graduate dream, it doesn’t stop me from getting to where I want to be. I have used this time to learn new skills, network with industry professionals and improve my mindset, which I would never have had time to do if it wasn’t for the pandemic! I think the events industry will bounce back from this bigger and better than ever, and students/graduates will have their moment to shine in no time!
A huge thank you to Bianca, Atalanta, Hannah and Alice for sharing their experiences and lockdown reflections with us.
Event Grads was created in response to the pandemic in absence of event student and graduate support, with the aim of connecting and empowering the next generation of event professionals. If you are an event student, graduate or aspiring event professional, check out the Event Grads Community Facebook Group! 🌟