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Are you leaving university this summer? (You may have already left…)

Got that feeling in your stomach? Horrible isn’t it. Possibly the first real time out of education since you were 4 years old. I’ve been there! It’s that feeling of “what do I do now?” Luckily for me I managed to worm my way onto a PGCE course run by the University of Huddersfield, so my future looked like a sure one, turning my hand to teaching media, not living my life working in media on a full-time basis.

But, guaranteed, I asked myself the same question as quite a few of you will be doing right now. If you haven’t managed to secure that job at a radio station, “Will I have time to still chase THE dream?”

The short answer is “no”.

Hard hitting I know, but all is not lost. Adjusting to life outside of studying, tutorials and lectures is difficult. You never really appreciate the world of higher education until it’s over. At your graduation ceremony, have a look around. Happy, smiling faces, but really there’s an underlying feeling of dread and worry for a lot. Degrees are important of course, a lot of you will have paid over £25,000 for that scroll, but life has never been so competitive!

This is it. You are no longer under the management of teachers and lecturers. You are now about to enter the real world, and despite feeling like you’ve already been there, I can assure you the majority of you haven’t!

So what happens if IT hasn’t happened? You didn’t land your dream job. Now, please don’t do what I did! Look at your time at university as a waste of time, throw an adult size dummy out of the pram, give up, and think “Well! I came close, I just didn’t get that bit of luck when it was desperately needed”.

You now have a wealth of knowledge, you are the elite and envy of a lot of people both your age and older. Just because I said you wouldn’t have time to chase your dream DOESN’T mean you can’t find the time, because you can!

This next year separates the truly dedicated ones, to the ones who “liked the idea of being in radio”.

Time to be more selfish than ever before. Time you really see how far you can take your ideas and fantasies. Yes, you’ll be tested, you’ll go to your paid job tired, lacklustre, and might even get a telling off, but you will never give in.

The best thing about radio is that you can never be too old for it.

Being dedicated at university is one thing, but being dedicated in the mist of life and real world issues it quite another. You have time at university, 3-4 years to concentrate on a goal is a long time (doesn’tfeel like it during), but it is.

Here’s a few tips I’ve stumbled across since leaving university, and keeping in with the industry I love:

  • Don’t get down! This is just the start.
  • Keep in contact with the people you’ve met in radio over the last few years. I’m about to launch a radio show in June, that show will be syndicated across a variety of FM, DAB and online stations across the world, and the managers welcomed me with open arms just because I didn’t burn any bridges!
  • Find the time to do what you want to do!
  • Be selfish at times.Learn to adjust, but stay true to who you are and what you want to do.
  • Motivate yourself every day.

The last one is a big one! I carried out a conference paper last year, looking at motivation, andattempted to devise a formula that explained how we become motivated to succeed. In a nutshell, itlooks like this:

I + B = M

Inspiration is the key. That’s why we all have dreams. We’ve been inspired by something in the past. It could have been a radio show, maybe a chance meeting with someone, possible and link between two songs. Once you’ve been inspired the “radio bug” latches on, you develop a sense of confidence that your dream can be achieved, this is belief.

Once you have this, you are motivated. Motivated to win, motivated to succeed, and motivated to be the best. It a simple formula, but must always be taken into consideration. Never lose any of these three elements. I wish you all every ounce of success in your future adventures! And don’t forget, NEVER give up.

About the author

Lee Barber

If you ever need anything, give me a shout over on Twitter: @ItsLeeBarber

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