It's a topic that has been harped on about so much in the last few years; thanks to the recession and all the economic uncertainties. But you wouldn't think that the uncertainty of the future would be a bother to a first year university student.
How wrong you are! It may not be the first thing on our minds, granted (frankly we have clubbing, lectures and assessments to think about first and foremost) but it is there at the back of our minds, waiting for a trigger. My own trigger came early one morning when I received yet another one of those "unfortunately, we have reviewed your profile and don't feel that you are quite right for us," another rejection email! Another opportunity GONE! (Please refrain from pitying). It doesn't take one email to get you thinking about life after university, it's usually about ten, and the constant new reporting of how high the unemployment rates have risen (9% in the USA, 8% in the UK...4% in China...)
The excuse used by companies when rejecting your application or proposal; that you aren't experienced enough, or for my blog -- we really don't know who the hell you are; makes you think so how am I to get the experience I need or become known if you won't give me a chance? Then the thoughts about applying for a job after third year start to creep in, "I have no experience now and I won't be getting any soon, just a degree that will be undervalued." The uncertainty of a job after graduation and the thought of having to live in Momma's house are then coupled with the thought of being in some serious debt (No, thanks to David Cameron and his tuition increases.)
Many first year students (and even A Level students) have to deal with the pressures of the future. For A Level students, its now about getting the best grades possible so as to end up in one of the Russell Group or Ivy League schools. Such a school gives one the backing that puts you just that little bit above your classmates. And for us, university students, it's now about hustling to get that one internship with that big company *insert name as appropriate*, just so we have that supporting our CVs (or sometimes joining societies which already have that backing).
Of course all those things are great! We should all be striving for the best anyway, but at what cost? In one case, the pressure cost a life when a young girl (in year 13) had had enough and decided to hang herself, and in a less extreme case, one student simply shut down and couldn't take the exams that he'd worked so hard for. There isn't any way to completely stop the pressure - policies to lift us from the hell of this economic tragedy would help - but it is essential that we are aware of it. We must also try to give the most vulnerable the support that they need to overcome and succeed.
Follow Chidubem Nwabufo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/awkwardSag