The Modern Graduate
After 3 years of slaving over a computer until 3am, graduation, the culmination of all that hard work, should be a finalization and the start of ‘real’ live. However in my case and many others the pride and satisfaction of having obtained a degree was short-lived and soon replaced by the harsh reality that the world of employment is hard, cruel and infuriating.
Written by Anjuli Borgonha
Graduating is difficult. The reality of rejection, loss of direction, and lack of the familiarity and routine of university can be demoralizing to those already struggling in the rat race of employment. Coupled with this is the often necessary decision to move back home with parents, a move which for me feels like a big step back from the image of independence, success and status I had of my post grad life.
Life after graduating is less like ‘The Devil Wears Prada’- immediately waltzing into a good job- and more like ‘Girls’- a constant struggle to find a job, keep motivated, pay rent/get along with the rents, and not become disheartened. A few months ago the Guardian posted a video ‘a 2:1 just won’t cut it anymore’, well it seems nowadays not even a first class degree is enough as graduates are also expected to have a host of voluntary work, internships, languages, and experience under your belt, or if you’re lucky contacts- as nepotism still seems to prevail. I have applied for some internships- unpaid full-time work for 6 months where you are expected to have not only the above, but ‘managerial experience’, ‘1 years experience working in a developing country’ or three, yes THREE, languages.
It’s a depressing truth to freshers that university can no longer be a postponement of reality and responsibility. Alongside studying students are expected to start paving the way for their future career. The phrase ‘transferable skills’ is one every student will have encountered and (and probably mocked) at some point in their education but only really makes sense once you graduate. Whilst trawling through lengthy application forms suddenly being course rep at university becomes ‘experience of coordinating communications’ as you begin to realize the skills gained from joining clubs, societies, etc. Most universities offer a wealth of opportunities to complement a degree from language classes to workshops, it’s just a case of taking the steps to getting involved. With expectations for graduates nowadays being higher than ever you can’t afford to start thinking about your career after university, steps need to be taken whilst studying when the opportunities are there- and free.
Milton Berle said ‘if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door’, and to avoid the graduate blues my advice to students would be start building these doors whilst you have the time and opportunity at university as graduation is not the end of student life, but the start of the rest of your life.