I am going to defy a popular rule of journalism and begin this article with a quote.
“Maturity’s a wrapped up package deal so it seems
And ditching teenage fantasy means ditching all your dreams
All your friends and peers and family solemnly tell you you will
Have to grow up be an adult, be bored and unfulfilled
Oh but no-ones yet explained to me exactly what’s so great
About slaving 50 years away on something that you hate,
about meekly shuffling down the path of mediocrity
Well if that’s your road then take it but it’s not the road for me.”
– Frank Turner, singer songwriter and unappreciated contemporary philosopher.
This particular verse of Frank Turner’s Photosynthesis has always been one that resonates with me and closely harmonises with my own sentiments about that dreaded expression “growing up”.
Don’t write me off just yet
Before you roll your eyes and dismiss this article as yet another idealistic tract from a recent graduate desperately clinging onto the carefree existence of university and justifying their unemployment, however they choose to gloss it – “I’m still technically a student because my deposit from our old landlord hasn’t come back yet…” good luck with that one – allow me to clarify; I am not going to advocate a life of never-ending- degrees or travelling to Thailand and never returning, I am just saying don’t start pouring yourself a bleach martini because you’ve not got anything resembling a “proper job” lined up yet.
Yes, the real world is scary
Being vomited out of the comfy bosom of university and ignominiously ejected into the real world is daunting to say the least.
It becomes even more so when you feel you’re the only one without a coherent game plan for the next few months with your peers and fellow graduates seemingly channelling Faustus all around you and signing their lives away to various corporations or further training courses.
Instead of working yourself into a furious sweat about this and feverishly applying to every single graduate scheme that Milkround sends your way – “you drive a car, we thought we’d like this graduate scheme with Enterprise” – take a minute in between typing to contemplate the nature of glorious limbo, free of obligations, and the relative unlikelihood of you ever being in this position again.
Make the most while it lasts
For everyone who claims they will work for a number of years and then chuck it all up to go and walk bare foot up Machu Picchu, eat locusts, live with a hermit and generally “find themselves” I would say you’re more idealistic than I am.
Several years down the line you’ll be weighed down with saving for a house, responsibilities at work and perhaps a significant other, not to mention the competitive desire to climb the career ladder.
Not only does enjoying and utilising this freedom with travel, work experience and general mind expansion (AKA Netflix) have the merit of being a relatively onetime opportunity, in a career market growing ever more competitive with people acquiring more skills and experiences to make them employable, a period of reflection, be it centred around sampling various professions or taking a gap year to explore other cultures and countries could be the thing that sets you apart for future employers.
For some ending 13 years of education to delve into the wonderful world of work is what they’ve been aiming for since their first fraternisations with UCAS.
But, everyone is different – just to really irritate everyone going on to further study in journalism – I will finish with a requote, “If that’s your road then take it, but it’s not the road for me.”
When did you decide what to do with your time after university? Tell us your story in the comments below.
Photo: Luftphilia / Flickr