Going solo: the alternative option to graduate jobs

From the minute you arrive at university, fellow students will be panicking about what to do when they finish. Summers are spent trying to get the best internships and secure a graduate job to move seamlessly into the minute you graduate. But what if there was another option?

I’ve never exactly been sure of what I wanted to do after university. Everyone seems to follow a similar route from A-levels to a degree and maybe a bit of travelling in between. The prospect of trying to find internships over my summers was daunting because it’s hard to know what exactly to apply for when you don’t know what sector to start with. They say that to find a job you love is a difficult thing to do, so I created a job for myself!

With the post gap year travel blues in tow, I spent the summer before I started university researching and setting up my business lovekimono. I’d fallen in love with the beautiful kimono style dressing gowns I’d seen in South East Asia and saw an opportunity to start something I felt passionate about. When I graduate next summer I hope to run the business full time, but at the very least I’ve gained a great deal of knowledge about the online retail world as well as my own strengths and weaknesses.

As a graduate, or indeed undergraduate, you will no doubt have a wealth of skills and knowledge of specific areas and there’s no reason why you can’t ‘cash in’ on these. When you work for yourself there’s more incentive to work your way up, because everything you do reflects on your business and therefore your income. It’s a cycle that can be pretty adrenaline-boosting, and there’s nothing more satisfying than getting paid for doing something you love and created.

Working for yourself isn’t for everyone, but neither are graduate jobs. So before you embark on the mass applications alongside thousands of others, there might be an opportunity out there for you to start something that you feel truly passionate about.

Camilla Sheppard is a 22 year old Hispanic Studies student at Kings College London and founder of lovekimono.com, an online retail store selling ladies kimono-style robes as an affordable and chic alternative to the traditional dressing gown. You can follow her company on Facebook and Twitter @lovekimonouk!

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