20something profile: Misha
My name is Misha Talheth-Fell. I’m reading a BSc in Animal Science at the School of Biosciences at Nottingham University. I’m in my third and final year at the moment, and I’m looking forward to graduating in the summer. I’m currently on the job hunt, and I’m seeking to start a career in the field of healthcare PR and communications.
When I tell people about myself, they don’t usually ask about my degree because they’re often preoccupied with the origins my unorthodox name. But I’m an animal scientist; I chose this path because I was always fascinated by biology at school. English Literature was also my specialty, but at the time I thought a degree in the arts would be an indulgence as opposed to the route to a stable career.
Many of my studies involve working in the lab and learning about animal physiology, which I have really enjoyed and appreciated. I’ve learnt a lot about diseases, what scientists have done to fight them and about many of the new and emerging therapies on the horizon of modern medicine. I’ve learnt first-hand that science is ‘rough around the edges’ and rarely goes to plan. A scientist must be hardworking, very adaptable, problem-solution orientated and, most importantly, lucky to succeed.
Contrary to this, my journey through university has shown me that I much prefer working with people, away from a lab environment. I courted with the idea of applying for business management graduate schemes, but because of my confidence with the written word (I really enjoy writing), I decided (only recently) that communications and PR would be the perfect medium to start my career.
Although I don’t want to be a research scientist, I do want to apply my knowledge of science in my career. I believe that healthcare communications would be the ideal balance for me. My degree has given me fluency in the language of science and an appreciation of many of the scientific advances, discoveries and issues that impact the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, now and in the future.
I’ve applied for five or six different companies so far, and just yesterday I had my first graduate job interview at a PR/communications agency which has invested heavily in healthcare communications. I had to go right into the centre of London for the interview, which was comprised of a group challenge with thirteen or fourteen other applicants and then a one on one interview.
I really hope I had a good interview and get the job offer, but I’m also hoping to get some more interviews, so I can compare how different companies operate — it would be nice to have a choice!
However, I’m carefully guarding my enthusiasm because I know that I need to be patient and realistic about finding the perfect place to start my career. The situation in the UK involves an ever-growing number of around 400k graduates leaving university each year, and there are an estimated 100 applicants to each job, so it’s a hyper-competitive environment out there. This is a daunting prospect, but I must admit that I find the challenge very exciting, at least for the moment, as I’ve only recently started looking for a job!
I’ll leave you with some advice in the form of a quote from someone who has taught me a lot through his music, most importantly to be confident and to be grateful for what I have:
“I know it seems hard sometimes, but remember one thing. Through every dark night, there’s a bright day ahead. So no matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep your head up and handle it.” – Tupac Shakur, 1971-1996