Finding her passion again

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Arianna had just graduated from a photography course as the pandemic hit, and along with a series of personal life events, she found it incredibly hard to make ends meet.  Meeting our Employment Specialist Dina allowed Arianna to refocus on herself again and properly consider what it was she wanted from her career and life.  This new perspective helped Arianna to find her way again, and balance employment which paid the bills, with time to be creative and pave the way for her future career.  Here she tells us her story in her own words…

I graduated in 2019 just as the pandemic started.  I then spent the next two years feeling incredibly lost – many things happened in my life, I had lots of personal issues to cope with, including divorce – and due to the pandemic, I couldn’t even see my family for support, and they couldn’t see me.  Those two years after university were incredibly tough.

After two years without working in 2022 I started a job in commercial photography taking pictures of properties and estates.  However, most of my time was spent riding on mopeds and using my smartphone to take pictures.  All the travelling around London working to tight deadlines made the work feel quite dangerous and after three months I decided it wasn’t for me.  Also, I wasn’t applying any of my knowledge about cameras that I’d learnt from my photography course.

I decided to go back to college to study film and ended up finding a place at the London College of Communication.  I also did a short course at Central St Martins on developing soundtrack for films, as well as other film related study.  In the day I was studying and then at night I was working doing deliveries on my moped.

However, I was really struggling to find enough money to live and work in London and still do what I was passionate about.  It was so bad – I was so short of money and I was on Universal Credit (UC) because I’d quit my job so I could improve my skills – so UC was supporting on my rent, but it was still very difficult to make ends meet.

Then I met Dina, my Twining Employment Specialist, and things started to change.  I had been doing six sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which did help, but I was still struggling with my finances.  The CBT was six sessions which happened once a week and at the end of the course they asked if I’d like help around employment from Twining – which I did because I wanted to work with my passion – and I was getting depressed not being able to do what I wanted.

Dina was so strong right from the start – she was so positive and encouraging.  Four years after the pandemic I went back to my home country of Brazil and I really feel that Dina was a part of this.  She encouraged me to take the time.  I told her I was going to see my family after four years – and she was always about me focusing on myself – and slowly I began to feel more confident about this and I began to focus on what Dina was telling me.

I came back from my time away really strong.  I got back and got an opportunity with a big fashion designer – however, they weren’t paying enough.  Dina really helped me to appreciate they weren’t paying me enough and for me to acknowledge my worth and the skills I had to offer.

I then found a new job – as a hostess in Mayfair.  It’s the fourth month that I’ve been working there and finally I can breathe again – I can pay my bills!  However, I’m still not fully happy.  The work is full time – so I need to find time outside of that for my passion.  I do this by writing things for fashion companies and I am reaching out and trying to find other opportunities where I can.

I really want to focus on fashion photography – and I feel stronger now – and I am feeling happier too.  I have an income and I am also finding the time to nurture my passion.  I’m putting myself out there in my spare time.  I truly believe that something will come around eventually.  When I’m doing what I love I’m shining inside – and I’ve found what I want to do.

Dina was so kind all of the time.  I felt like she knew and understood me; I felt like she was a friend and a good friend at that, for a long time.  I really felt like she spoke with my soul.  She really helped me to think more deeply about what I needed and wanted.  I felt like she just really supported and saw me, and because of this it felt so connected working with her.

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