Even with two degrees, it's not always easy to walk into the perfect (paid) job, Dairne Black shares what she's learned from fighting the battle...

Final year in college is meant to be wonderful, whether it's your final year in your undergraduate degree or your final few months of a Masters. Freedom and future are inches away and they smell delicious. You're filled with this hope and optimism, that everything will be rosy and wonderful when you leave the hallowed halls of education. Let’s, for, a second forget the words 'rosy' and 'wonderful' and replace them with 'silly' and 'deluded', which is what I must have been during my final few months during my Masters. I had this notion that everything would, as we Irish seems to frequently say 'be grand'. The saying isn't just getting old, it's not true. I will not be grand. In fact, it's actually far from 'grand'. If we're going to keep in within Irish restraints, I think the terms 'poxy' and 'lousy' sum things up rather well.

In your final year, you should be job-hunting, networking, and making as many possible connections as you can in terms of employment. Look at your CV and see what it's lacking. Employers aren't just looking for qualifications these days; they want to see that you have worked for free in some shape or form. If you haven't, get on it. Working for free and volunteering are so vitally important. Employers want to see that can do some hard graft and aren't afraid to get in and dig deep. They want to see that you can see the logic in gaining experience despite the fact that there's no money at the end. College societies, if you choose wisely are fantastic for this. For me, personally, mine paved the way for my Masters’ degree and ultimately my future career. (Trinity FM there's a very large cheque coming your way when I make it big.) You need to look at your CV and see what areas and avenues you could possibly end up going down? I have ones tailored to a few different areas, and adapt as needs be depending on the job application.

As someone who spent a long time in college, five years or so, I was more than ready to begin my career and start climbing the ladder. I really and truly was. Unfortunately, the path of job hunting does not run smoothly. The world does not owe you a living, a job or experience. It doesn't matter how letters you have behind your name, how fancy a college you went to or how great a degree you did. You can leave college as broke and as clueless as to how you entered it. The dole queue beckons and the slog begins. It’s painful. Job hunting is one of the most frustrating experiences of your life, particularly when you do have the qualifications and the experience. Frequently I find myself banging my head off an imaginary wall as weeks pass by and I’m still unemployed. It’s not something I envisaged, twenty five, unemployed and still living at home with my parents.

 Please spare me the comments of ‘oh, but you have a degree and a Masters,’ and ‘living at home is great’. Yes, indeed, I do have both of those qualifications and living at home is lovely, but I seek independence. Every day brings a new job search, and a new email politely telling me that I was not being considered for interview. To say I’m job-hunting is an understatement, I’m scouring the place. My days are spent sat in front of a laptop tearing apart job websites and concocting emails to future employers. I reek of desperation. Please hire me. I’m embarrassed of myself and the situation I am in. As someone who thrives on keeping busy, this has knocked me for six. I see people doing jobs and thinking that I could do that. I envy their position and curse my own. There are good and bad days, but much of this is dependent on whether or not I get an interview. Being hopeful and positive are things I encourage in many of the pieces I write, yet I find it so difficult to take my own advice. It terrifies me that I am unemployed. It scares me more than anything because I can’t plan a future without money.

Interviews are like going into battle, donning the makeup, the clothes, my suit of armour and my shield. I walk in, trying to ooze confidence, intelligence and everything I’m meant to be, but don’t feel. My confidence screams inside that it can’t do this, not again. It’s taken far too many knocks for my liking. I sit down, and then there’s usually a polite chit-chat anecdote type thing as they attempt to pronounce my name. The warrior gets ready to fight, hoping this is a battle she’ll win. Ready, aim, fire... And onto the next battle. Let’s hope it’s one I win.