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Her Campus Leeds Alumni: Josie Penfold

Her Campus Leeds Alumni: Josie Penfold

This week, we are catching up with our ex editor-in-chief, Josie Penfold, to see what she’s been up to since graduation, and to get some top tips about what’s coming for us in the summer!  

Hey Josie, how are you? How are you finding graduate life?

Hello! It’s strange to have my nights and weekends free and not have to stress about deadlines, but it’s also pretty scary because now I actually have figure out a life plan – university is a bit of a comfort zone because you know where you’re going…!

When you finished uni, did you have any big plans? If so, has the past year lived up (or down) to your expectations?

I planned to travel as much as possible and just get a job that wasn’t too stressful as I just needed some down time. Both have worked out, though I would like to travel more….the plan is to save up and travel for a few months before heading back to Australia. I had hoped to be traveling earlier but I think realistically it wasn’t viable – there’s still time so for now I’m just enjoying living in England and having Europe on my doorstep for a the occasional trip to tide me over before the big trip and move which will hopefully take place by the end of the year!

What kind of things have you been doing?

I have been working, writing, chilling and traveling. Oh and training – because gym is life xo. It’s been pretty good!

We’ve seen on instagram that you’ve been doing LOTS of traveling. (We’re jealous!) So far, where is the best place you’ve visited?

The best place I have ever been to has to be Reykjavik, Iceland. I doubt it can ever be topped. It’s so isolated and untouched that it made me feel like I was in another world. Like the tallest building in the city is the church, it’s crazy how beautiful the place is. And it’s where I saw the Northern Lights – the best thing I have ever, probably will ever, see. I wrote a blog about it which you can read in my Instagram bio – ‘@jopsay’ – get on it! (CLICK HERE TO HAVE A READ) Switzerland is a close second, I think – another place where the natural landscape is just breathtaking.

Have you got any tips for those of us graduating soon? (Pls, we need all the help we can get!)

Enjoy your last few months at university. Really, they are some of your best days and Leeds is such an amazing city. Go to the places you’ve always said ‘we’ll have to try that sometime’ and spend time with your friends. Dissertations are important – but so is making your last year worth all the stress you’ve been through and are going through – so make sure you have some down time.

In terms of a job, if you don’t have the dream job lined up, don’t stress. It’ll come. If you want to start looking use prospects and websites like that – they have advice and tips etc. But it’s okay to graduate and work in a shop or a café for a while too. To be honest, you need a break. You’ve just finished three/four years of uni! So travel, have fun and enjoy the freedom – you’ve got your whole life to get a career, don’t let the pressures of society make you think you’ve failed in some way by not walking straight into the best job ever. But, set goals. I.e. if you’re going to travel, decide how long for, if you want a part-time job to tie you over, decide how long you want to work there before you want to start looking elsewhere for your career. And have a rough idea of what you want to do and how to get there too so you have that focus in the back of your mind. Finishing uni is great, but it also is a bit of an anti-climax and you can feel a bit lost because you don’t have the direction and need to actually do something like you did when you had to revise for an exam or research for an essay, so while it’s important to relax, make sure you hold onto the things that got you through those stressful years of study! But as I said, don’t rush your free time, I think this last year ‘off’ has been so beneficial to me personally, I think I’m now ready to get where I want to be – but I needed that down time first – the final year of uni can feel like you just don’t stop. It all works out in the end, so just go with it and have faith .

What are your plans for the next year or so?

I plan to travel and move to Australia – and hopefully Canada at some point, but Canada might not be for a while!

Are you still writing and editing? 

I still write and edit – I write for an online magazine, We are Chester, back home and I also write and edit my own travel blog as I said. I think, while it’s not an actual ‘job’, it’s good to keep yourself in that working sphere to help you get to where you want to go when you’re ready.

Do you miss Leeds and HC?

I do miss Leeds it’s such a fantastic city. I miss The Headrow House, I miss (for some reason?!) living in Hyde Park with friends, and seeing your friends each day. And I actually miss university, I’m a bit of a geek so I do miss the writing and reading for essays – not so much the stress – but I do enjoy learning so I do miss that. And yes I certainly miss Her Campus Leeds. The magazine I think was one of the main things that kept me sane in my final year because it gave me a break from my dissertation. It was such a fabulous team to be a part of and we all achieved such great stuff together. I do want to become editor-in-chief of a travel magazine (hopefully) one day so having a little taste at HC was really special and I loved watching it all come together! Definitely the best decision I made at University was joining Her Campus Leeds!


Thanks for the advice Josie, we’re certainly all worried about deadlines but it’s comforting to hear that having some time off to have a drink (or two) is advised! 

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