HCAU Members: Where Are They Now? Jen Phillips

 

HCAU Grad Profile: Jen Phillips

 

Recently I caught up with one of our HCAU graduates, Jen Phillips. Jen studied law while she was here in Aberdeen and we were dying to hear what she’s been up to since she left – especially since Jen always has the best stories on her Twitter and Instagram, we just had to know more!

 

 

HC: Hey Jen, thank you so much for agreeing to chat to us about what you’ve been up to since you left Aberdeen – can you give us a quick update on what you’ve been doing?

 

JP: Hello! Oh my days it seems just like yesterday, but I left in April 2016 after finishing the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice so that I could start my traineeship in September 2016. I’m now in my second year which means in September 2018 I’ll FINALLY be qualified as a solicitor after 7 years of graft, booze, and tears! Which means I’ll have a certificate that allows me to graft harder, drink better, and cry longer – hooray!

 

HC: I’m sure the 7 years of graft, booze, and tears will be worth it! It sounds like your life as a graduate has been pretty good so far – do you have any tips for everyone about post-grad life?  

JP: This sounds obvious and clichéd but embrace the freedom that comes with post-grad life. Up until leaving university I had a very structured pathway to get where I wanted to be and coming out of that bubble and entering ‘the real world’ for pretty much the first time in 22 years is tough and I don’t think it’s talked about very much. Definitely nobody warned me about having a quarter-life crisis, but it is SO REAL – or maybe it’s just called growing up? I’m not sure, I’m not through it yet. I probably shouldn’t be giving out any tips other than gratuities…I don’t have all the answers on how to stop it but just brace yourself for change. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re feeling a little bit lost and lonely in your mid-twenties, I can promise you, you won’t be the only one (because I sure as heck am). It’s very easy to get anxious about existential questions like ‘What am I actually doing with my life?’ but never underestimate the impact you are making, whatever you are doing: you are the universe in motion. And also just try and have fun! That way at the end of the day even if you’re not exactly where you want to be at that particular point in life, at least you had a good time along the way (cue music, Miley Cyrus: ‘The Climb’).

 

HC: That’s some really good advice actually, I’m already dreading going into the real world after graduation and I know my quarter-life crisis will hit me as soon as I start working! What do you miss most about uni?

 

JP: The ability to see your friends every single day. We have a WhatsApp group of about 30 of us from diploma who are mostly undertaking traineeships all over the country and the chat on it goes like this: 100% of us saying 30 different dates when we are free to meet up, 50% of us saying ‘go on without me, I’ll make the next one’, 20% actually committing to a date, 0% making it happen and then 3% (me) returning the outfit they’d bought specifically for that event. It sucks but then when we do have a reunion it’s absolutely golden!

 

 

I also miss being a part of societies. The Law Society committee was such a big part of my life, almost like a family, specifically the family from ‘Arrested Development’ for anyone who’s a fan of that. I’m so glad to see the Her Campus presence is stronger than ever right now because I feel like you guys definitely offered something really pure and unique. There was a sense of sisterhood in Her Campus without ever being cliquey and I always felt massively welcomed by everybody, even if I couldn’t have been as involved given what my other commitments would allow. I’m actually close right now with past HC president and full time gift from above Rachel Quinn, which is awesome!

 

HC: I completely agree with you about societies – I think they really help everyone settle in and meet new people at uni. We’re glad you’ve been keeping up with Her Campus and we’re also glad that we keep getting new girls joining and sporting their pink jumpers! Although you obviously miss some things about uni in Aberdeen, are you enjoying being back in Edinburgh?

 

JP: I have a whole new appreciation for the city now that I’ve moved back. It’s changed a lot and I’m not going to the same places I was when I was 17/18 years old so it’s almost like a new place in a way. The food scene is amazing right now (shameless plug, follow @eatinburgh and @plateexpectations to keep on top of great food finds). I’m trying to do as much as possible here before I move down to London at the start of next year, which is why I went a bit loco at the Fringe Festival!

 

HC: Oh that sounds great, we will definitely check those accounts out! We loved catching up with what you were getting up to at the Fringe on your Instagram this Summer, what was your favourite thing you saw this year?

 

JP: The healthy colour of my urine after each night out! No I’m kidding, I’m going to be annoyingly vague and unspecific about this because there are just so many great shows. There’s such fantastic home-grown talent but I’d say definitely go and see a lot of Aussies because when is the next time you’re going to use 14 of your 28 days of annual leave to pop over to Melbourne or Adelaide Fringe? It’s fashionable in Edinburgh for people to hate on the Fringe and pretend like it’s a massive inconvenience to their lives, as if they’re above the biggest arts festival IN THE WORLD. I think it’s amazing and we’re so lucky it’s right on our doorstep. I’m lucky to know somebody on the circuit who can give me proper recommendations, but just do your homework before it starts and don’t write off free shows – one of the best I saw was Milo McCabe as Troy Hawke, doing a bit on ‘Beyonky’ (Beyonce) which made me laugh so hard I could have been the poster girl for TENA Lady!  

 

 

 

HC: We’ll definitely keep an eye out for those shows next year if they make a re-appearance! Hearing about what you’ve been up to at the Festival isn’t the only thing we love about your social media, your stories about dating are amazing. What’s your favourite thing you’ve posted recently and the funniest story you’ve told?

 

JP: I feel like I should disclose here that I have not been single between the ages of 15-22, so when I did start dating last year, I was making the same mistakes as a 15 year old. You just have to laugh at yourself and if other people are laughing with (or probably at) me then that’s great too! Again it’s hard to pin down the ‘funniest’. It’s hard to forget the time I woke up after a boozy night with a flight confirmation in my inbox from a guy to go to the south of France on Valentines day for 10 days with him – AND WE STILL WEREN’T ‘TOGETHER’! Lesson learned: you can spend Christmas and New Year together, meet their friends and family, jet off to France for Valentines day, but if you don’t have their wifi password, then get fruity and let that mango because you are not ‘together’ (what does that even mean, modern dating is so rotten)!

 

 

 

For those wondering how that story ended, we’re mates now and it’s all good. We actually both turned up to the same concert in September alone, and met each other in the crowd – which would have been dead romantic if we hadn’t just fruitlessly dated for months. He actually bought me a t-shirt at the gig, which I like to think is the origin of the phrase “been there, done that, got the t-shirt”. It’s pretty much been a year of stories like that, where you think ‘who does this happen to? Is this real life?’ The best part is that nothing fazes me anymore and you can’t pay for that kind of resilience, I’m like ‘okay, what now, bring it on’. And I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had. The laughter that I’ve shared with my friends over my stupid decisions for the past year makes it all worthwhile. That’s what keeps me going, that and the fortune from my future lucrative book and film deal…

 

HC: If the future film and book deal comes to fruition we will be the first to pre-order on Amazon! Thanks for chatting to us Jen – we can’t wait to see what you get up to next.

All Photos Jen's own