An Events Prof in a Pandemic
As a 24 year old I am living at home with my parents, unemployed and not really sure what I should be doing. As an events prof, I find myself to be a bit of a perfectionist, someone who has to be productive and organised at all times otherwise I go a little crazy. Its hard not to feel frustrated and bothered about the last year being taken from us and I am sure so many of you reading will be feeling the same way. Maybe you just starting your first graduate job, recently graduated or still a student who is feeling a little unsure about what's next and dont know where to turn. I hope I am able to bring a little support and peace of mind to you through this post.
I was only 3 months into my first grad role as an Events and Marketing Coordinator, based in London until covid decided to take it from me. And wow what a dream job it was- with such incredible responsibilities, experiences and opportunities I thought 2020 had really given me the best start. By the time COVID-19 had become a well known name on the news, I was on furlough and eventually made redundant, something I never thought would of happened to a 23 year old.
Like a true #eventprofs I wanted to see what I could do to professional develop myself in the time that I had and so did every other event professional in our industry. I joined societies, communities and started conversations with other graduates and younger professionals, just to try and make some sense of what was going on and how we could all do our best to get through. Our industry could not of been more inviting, supportive and open, especially to the younger generation of graduates and students. And I wanted to part of this. What could I do from my own bedroom to support others going through what I was too experiencing?
As a result from this, I joined the team over on EventGrads, a wonderful community for current students and graduates of events management with a mission to support during this time of uncertainty. I started my own blog and realised my love for writing. A couple of months down the line, I secured a 5 month internship for my University as their Graduate Events Officer, supporting all virtual events for students and graduates. I met people I wouldn't of met and pursued passions I wouldn't of had the time to do so.
My first year as a graduate has not been what I had planned. I started with a fantastic role and ended the same year unemployed. But what I have taken from my experiences is that if the pandemic wasn't in place, I wouldn't of met the people I have, the communities I am part of and the experiences I have had within the indsutry that I love. As an industry, Events have still managed to take place, have still provided some type of get away and have found a way to engage and reunite people around the world. The pandemic has not stopped the consistent pace of this industry and has proven we are a community that will never stop moving and adapting. We have enlightened so many, educated to all and delivered positive and important messages via our online presence to make sure that we are bigger and better for when we can return to 'normal'.
Throughout all of this time, I have realised was just what I needed to build confidence, to pause and work on myself first before anything else started to happen. So yes, I am not where I thought I would be at 24. But I have come so far from where I was this time last year, without all the 'necessary elements' that we believe we need to have in order to feel we are on the right track.
I think this ongoing stigma of 'doing all you can in your early twenties to be successful' is faulty and damaging and creates a challenge for who can get to 'success' the quickest. When we are physically unable to do what we want and therefore automatically believe we have failed. We need to stop, breathe and remind ourselves that the current pandemic limits everything that we want to do and this is it out of our hands. As human beings, its easier to focus on the negatives rather than the positives of a situation and realising that maybe you wouldn't actually be the person you are today if this last year didn't happen the way it did.
I think the most important outlook that has come out of this pandemic for me, is that you never know what is round the corner. We are unable to predict what or where we will be this time in a year. So do what you need to do. If that means working on yourself mentally, physically, professionally or personally, do it. Take this time. Use it. And never second guess the reasons for why - this is such a hard and unknown time, it effects us all differently and nobody should have to justify how they choose to handle that.
Be kind to yourself, always.