Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Published: 03.01.2023 / Blog / Alumni / Education

This famous line written by J.R.R. Tolkien, which appears in the first novel in the Lord of The Ring series, has been a way of encapsulating the idea of surrendering to your wanderlust. However, it can be argued that the true meaning of the line is that all who wander without an aim are lost.

Wanderlust aside, I can definitely identify myself in the latter. It’s easy to just go with the flow up to the point where you need to decide how your adult life should look like. What to study, where to live and a general direction. I had many ideas but none of them felt quite right.

Gaining skills and perspectives

After struggling with indecision, I drifted towards a more practical study environment and started my studies to become an arts manager. After roughly a year of studies I started working close to full-time within the arts field on different projects and had the time of my life. I graduated, but eventually, I realized that working in the arts wasn’t for me. It was time to try something else.

I started working for a political youth party, using the skills I had developed as an arts manager. Working with people, organizing events and communicating are skills you can use in any setting. Nothing you learn ever goes to waste, you just might use the knowledge you have in different ways and you can always use existing skills to develop new ones and keep growing and to find perspective.

After a year, using the new skills I had gained, I moved over to working at a bank within the sales department. My negotiating and social skills along with the experiences I’ve developed both as an arts manager and as a political secretary helped me transition into this new field and I started to feel like I was heading in the right direction.

At this point, I applied to Arcada’s part-time master’s degree programme in International Business Management with a focus on fintech. This programme allowed me to continue working and taking care of my family while also pursuing my studies. With a few years of work experience as a base I felt that focusing on a master’s degree at this point in life gave me immense benefits. My perspective from work and adult life along with critical thinking made my studies more concrete and easier to apply in a real-world setting.

A new twist after graduation

Work, family, studies, everyday life, a thesis and finally a graduation filled my days during the next three years. The work I had been doing alongside my studies fitted my ambitions but at the same time I felt that I could do more. I’d learnt so much during my studies and I felt that I wanted to put it to good use.

To follow the theme of my life decisions thus far I took another plunge. I applied and got a position in IT as a robotic process automation developer at the same bank where I had been working. As the computer nerd I am, with newly acquired insight on data and fintech from my studies at Arcada, I thought that programming software robots can’t be impossible to learn. The hardest part of any job is understanding the whats and the whys. The hows are something you learn on the way.

For the last ten years I’ve switched industry four times, switched gears half a hundred times and been lost more times than I can count. But being lost, in essence, is also a way of finding out where you’re going.

Text: Arcada alumnus Fredrik Gräsbeck, Bachelor of Culture and Arts 2013, Master of Business Administration 2021.

Alumna of the Year 2023: Nina Brännkärr-Friberg 

Nina Brännkärr-Friberg is the engineering alumna whose life took a different direction. As Alumna of the Year 2023 at Arcada University of Applied Sciences, she wants to remind everyone that things don't always go as planned, but it usually turns out fine anyway.

Category: Alumni