It seems to me that everybody wants me to be scared. The papers fill themselves with stories about the woeful Cambridge grad that still hasn't got onto the civil service grad scheme that they've wanted since they were a little kid wandering the halls of Eton for the first time, and the TV constantly shows me the kid who got 19 A levels and graduated with an astronomical first who is working in Nandos. By third year I should be a trembling wreck attending every graduate networking soirée and clinging to the trousers of anyone who looks like they have a job and just maybe could send one my way too. I'm not scared though. There's a simple reason for that really. When I open Chrome on my laptop and look at the digital mountain of application forms I've yet to complete because I've been spending too much time enjoying myself and immersing myself in learning, I think to myself, "someday soon I'll take my staggeringly generic non-vocational humanities degree, my somewhere above average marks and my endearing list of extra-curriculars and plunge head-first into the quagmire of CVs and Assessment Centres that everyone else seems to be so neurotic about."
I don't blame them. If I didn't have such a healthy cynicism for just about everything that I read in the national media, not to mention being so stubbornly insistent on proving anyone that tells me I can't do something wrong, I'd probably be a little fretful too. Instead I'm taking all the energy that people are wasting worrying if they've got the right phone number for that guy who knows that guy who might work at IBM and putting it into doing constructive things like enjoying my time at university and learning for the sake of learning. I'm not saying that you shouldn't put effort into researching and networking, it just seems that third year students have a habit of shutting down their lives to everything apart from their dissertation and the next chance to rub shoulders with someone who might work for a consultancy firm. I'm just very conscious of the fact that the entire rest of my working life is a bloody long time but university will only see me as far as three or four years out of school.
Everyone seems to tell me that the job market is saturated but personally I can't turn my head without seeing another advert for an application deadline. When I get to a point that I want to sell my soul to capitalism I'll naively wade in assuming that my natural charisma and way with words that are clearly evident from this article will see me soaring above the competition... Until then, I do have another bone to pick with a system that I'm consistently told is entirely inundated with the just-past-teenager category of professional graduate job hunter, and simultaneously pushes another batch of film studies students into the university grind for no good reason other than everyone told them they're supposed to go to university after school.
The same basically applies to anyone who turns up at an institution of learning without any intrinsic desire to learn, regardless of degree. Whatever happened to people studying for the love of learning? It seems that we're stuck in an academic rut where people only turn up at university because they're 'supposed' to have a degree. It would be beneficial to both the poor old job market and the psychology student who has no interest or willing toward psychology to have a look at their situation before they pile through the UCAS project and consider whether it is right for them to indebt themselves thousands of pounds in order to achieve something purely so they can have a job that pays well enough to pay back their loan. Of course, the little chip on my shoulder is hopelessly flawed as what I'm decrying is really a broken system that has been supported and encouraged by decades of inept education ministers that appear to have forgotten the concept of vocation.
So am I terrified by my prospects after University? No. I've got a level of realism that tells me I've attended a good university, worked hard on a good degree and will eventually come out the other end with a good job, even if it might take quite a while. What I am terrified by is the prospect of all the other poor souls struggling in this crippled system to come out the other end with no job, fifty thousand pounds worth of debt and a degree that isn't worth the paper it's written on.