Story of Dory - How to survive after university

Author: Dora Nikić

The title may be confusing since it is assumed that after completing university (especially faculty of humanities) one does not have a future in their own field, but bear with me and let me explain my career path.

I studied English and Croatian language and literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Osijek and then we come to the fun (stressful) part when in the first year of the graduate university study program you have to choose an orientation in your future profession – will I be a teacher, translator or philologist?

There were no choices when it comes to the Croatian language study program because the lack of students interested in studying literature as a scientific discipline led to everyone in my generation going towards the orientation to become a teacher. Now we come to the most fun (the most stressful) part since in the English language study program there was a choice between the orientation to become a teacher or a translator.

So, the first conclusion is – I don't wish to be a teacher, I don't fit in that profession, and working with young minds is something that would bring too much stress for me. The second conclusion is – if I do enroll in the study program oriented towards becoming a translator how will I ever get a job (Google Translate, this one is on you), especially due to the fact that I don't have a combination of exotic, rare languages in addition to English and Croatian. Arguing with my mum, listening to the comments of society, indecisiveness, crying and all the other dramas of being a young intellectual led me on the path to my final decision. Finally, I decided to become a translator and then attend numerous additional courses after university just to find any kind of job. Those were my thoughts backed up by comments of a small town's society.

"Arguing with my mum, listening to the comments of society, indecisiveness, crying and all the other dramas of being a young intellectual led me on the path to my final decision."

Dora Nikić

This is when we come to a turn in this pessimistic outlook because something important happened. Dora (myself, not the cartoon character) started to really enjoy the translation studies. Everything else became irrelevant, I envisioned my success in the field that I studied. Let's jump to the next conclusions. First, I have to try harder during university and prove to my professors that I have what it takes to make it in the translation industry (yes, it is its own industry). Second, I have to take every opportunity to gain practical experience the sooner the better. It can be a volunteering activity offered by professors or something every young translator starts with – usually Translators without Borders and TED Translators. The third conclusion is that I have to connect with as many colleagues as I can who are looking for a job in the same field, every conversation with them can lead to a potential job offer.

After putting those conclusions into practice, here we are in the company I work for today. When the day came to select if we want to attend student practice as part of translation studies my answer was obvious. In my opinion, everyone who enrolls in translation studies should attend professional student practice if offered, because every opportunity to show one's skills is important. When deciding where to attend student practice, students have many options to choose from, but it takes a bit of luck to get to the place you want based on the number of students.

Then Dora took her mobile phone and embarked on an adventure of searching all translation agencies and trades in the area of Osijek. One blue name popped up, Sinonim. What I first liked about Sinonim is the fact that the agency works with all sorts of clients and thus all kinds of texts from different fields. It was also important to me that Sinonim offers copyediting, localization and certified translation services (as one day I wish to become a certified translator). Sinonim checked all my boxes, and I told my professor about it being my ideal choice for student practice. My wishes came true and I got the opportunity to work in the place of my preference. After that everything came into place, when you work in a field you love and at the place of your choice led by people who are easy to work with, success is guaranteed.

It didn't take long until the student practice became a student job, and the student job a real employment. The process itself was very easy-going. A few weeks after student practice I got an e-mail saying I could come to an interview for a student job, and after hard work and getting along with my work colleagues I immediately got an offer to continue our cooperation after graduating from university. There is so much more I could say, but the most important thing is not to give up and invest yourself in what really interests you (I know, I know, boring inspirational speeches), because then you'll get a chance to meet talented, young people, like the ones working in Sinonim, who will give you a chance and a starting point for professional development.

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