Exactly a year ago, I graduated in a blaze of triumph and glory, with much light and life, and hopeful visions for my bright and brilliant future.
An hour ago I finished my 6am-start-shift at a convenience store, my current place of employment.
Instead of working on the must see-show of Southeast Asian contemporary art, I am working on an eight hour contract, behind a till, regularly being shouted at by delivery men, or customers who just can't get their Wall's Chicken Tikka Slices fast enough.
It is not just me who has had their expectations of graduate life so brutally readdressed. I doubt many, or any, of my gifted friends are in the position they thought they would be a year ago. Nearly all are living at home, one works sixteen hours a day frying eggs, one suffers mercilessly under Deliveroo's zero hour contract, and another quickly resorted to clinical trials - for which he was very nearly not paid, after a minor misunderstanding in which codeine was mistaken for heroin in a urine sample.
This year essentially feels like a very bad hangover after three years of being made to feel special, having your intellect constantly stroked, and being part of one of the most privileged institutions on earth. I think most graduates can expect to have this extended hangover, the odd sense of limbo. You realise that adult life is boring and contains a seemingly boundless amount more paperwork, that you still don't know what you want to do, and that you don't appear to have any relevant/practical skills. You also start to question whether reading that much medieval poetry was really worth it, if it can't get you a job anywhere besides the shop opposite your house.
Yet this is not intended to be a sob story. It is OK to have this year, perhaps even good. It is the year, immortalised in the words of Kylie Jenner, 'of just realising stuff'. There is no real hurry. Apart from the odd civil service position, forever jobs just don't exist anymore - people are hired and fired and restart careers at fifty. It is very easy to forget this in the months following graduation, and experience a sudden and terrible sense of angst and pressure at not being exactly where you think you should.
Yes, there is a concerning lack of skilled graduate jobs, and yes, we have just been cutely re-nicknamed the 'Stagnation Generation' (so much less chic and cosmo-avocado than The Millennials) by The Resolution Foundation for being more stagnating and lower earning than our parents, the edgy Generation X. But every minimum wage job, every failed interview, even every drunken existential crisis is a step on some unmarked (and student loans ridden) road, and whether it is a means to an end, or a filler stage, it's OK. Hard work is of course a must, but unlike at university, it doesn't guarantee results in 'real life', and this is something to make peace with. Do not panic if you haven't landed your dream job a month after graduating, or even a year, or even five. It takes time to 'realise stuff', Kylie told us so.
And with a net worth of £7.6 million, perhaps it is time that we took her advice.
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