I don’t know if it’s as bad as the crash of 1929, but it surely feels like it. The class of 2009 has become a terrible statistic in this global recession, as more and more graduates are taking on lower-skilled jobs or voluntary work just to stay sane. The Association of Graduate Recruiters reported that graduate positions in the City have slumped by 28% in the past year and a poll of employers indicated widespread cuts in graduate recruitment. Is getting a degree really worth it?Since sixth form it has been drummed into our heads that going to university was going to change our lives: an enriching experience, better jobs, better pay, and endless knowledge. No-one mentions the bad bits, which are neatly shoved to one corner. My secondary school was big on all their students applying to universities; after all my institution was ‘committed to excellence’ and so were its students. I was going to be a fashion journalist; my name would appear in Vogue and the like. My best friend was going to be a civil servant, ready to change the world.
Soon enough, university ended along with our dreams. My best friend and I struggled to find a job, and when worse came to worse we joined an agency specialising in the administration sector. They called us regularly offering us potential jobs, jobs that we thought we were too good for. After all we had degrees. We only recently began to realise how naïve we were to think we would be in a nine-to-five job after completing university. Instead, both of us (most of us) are doing internships and holding down a part-time job, a job, not a career. A career is something we do because we love to do it, we do it because it is intellectually challenging. A job is a compromise.
The toughest part of it all, apart from being in debt, is trying to explain to family members why, after six months since finishing university, am I still sitting at home? Why am I always asleep? (According to my granny!) Why am I not out there applying to big-shot TV stations like the BBC, LivingTV, or any of the National newspapers like The Guardian and The Independent? I wish they would switch on the news. I’m not a slacker; it’s not in my personality. I am applying for jobs every single day, but to them I am doing ab-so-lu-tely nothing. There are millions of intelligent graduates out there, whose talent and passion is being wasted in a job at McDonalds. It’s quite upsetting.
My graduation ceremony is in a couple of weeks. It’s supposed to be exciting, the beginning of a new chapter.
But tell me, what is there to celebrate?