Student life woes & worries

Typically, people view University students as slackers who sleep all day and party all night.  This is usually the view held by people who never attended University, and is only really applicable to a minority.  In actual fact, it is really hard being a student (honest).  Granted, my timetable is ridiculously minimal: 6 hours a week for my first two years and 4 hours a week in my third.  It's the huge workload, mass of deadlines, and super long reading lists which are just the tip of the iceberg.

For me, the workload is not the difficult part about student life.  It's the stress of what I am going to do once I finish.  I will have finished my degree in 4 months time.  What am I going to do then?  Go on holiday with my friends, see a bit of the world, go to a few festivals, see a bit more of the world, marry Prince Harry?  All of these (even the last one) are more likely than me finding a career in something that I actually want to do.  Applying for graduate schemes is slowly, but surely, sucking all of the life out of me.  I have never been one to cope well with rejection but this whole process has driven me to the brink.  The application process is so long, with some taking at least an hour.  For that effort to then not even be acknowledged with a courtesy 'sorry you were not successful, thank you for your time and good luck in the future' email is soul-destroying.

I have had one interview, or rather, assessment day.  It was scary.  I felt like I was on The Apprentice.  Sat round a table with 8 guys and 1 other girl: all wearing suits and carrying briefcases/snazzy work satchels.  I was terrified.  I didn't feel grown up enough to be sitting in a board room dressed like I'd fallen out of Zara's workwear catalogue.

Then it hit me: I've spent the last 17 years of my life in education.  17 long, hard, tearful, but sometimes fun, years.  I've learnt a lot, obviously.  But not just my times tables and how to make an apple crumble - I've learnt a lot about myself.  I am not the kind of person who spends all that time doing something, and becoming the person I am today, to throw it all away sitting behind a desk doing a job that I hate for the next 50 years of my life.  No.  Thank.  You.

I am bombarded everyday with emails about graduate scheme after graduate scheme, promising me jobs at the end, luring me in with generous salaries.  But is it what I want to do with my life?  No.  It's not a case of me not knowing what I want to do with my life.  I want to be a journalist; I've known that for a long time.  The problem is the difficulty of getting anywhere these days.  Jobs are scarce.  I am lucky to have always had a job since I was 16; I'm even luckier to have 2 at the moment.  But securing a stable career is incredibly hard.

Going to University you think you are guaranteed a good job at the end.  Throughout school and college University is built up to be a place which guarantees you success - if you have a degree you are more employable and more likely to get where you want to be.  But I have friends who have not been to University and are in a much better position than those who did: no debt, a good job, savings...

Yes, University is a lot of fun.  You get so many experiences that you would not get otherwise.  For example, I never imagined myself throwing myself out of a plane.  But whilst it is a lot of fun, the reality is harsh.  The niggling fear of disappointing my family is the only thing stopping me giving up on the graduate scheme scene and heading out into the big, wide world: travelling and teaching abroad.

Who knows where I will be this time next year.  In a job I hate: sat behind a desk 8 hours a day, 7 days a week?  In a job I love: excited to wake up every morning and probably in love with a colleague?  Still a Barista at Starbucks: getting unacceptably drunk on staff nights out, singing Bridget Jones-esque karaoke on stage and flashing next week's washing to anyone who will look?  Doing something crazy like bungee jumping off a bridge in New Zealand or swimming with Sharks in Australia?  Or being an absolute darling and giving the UK a bank holiday because I'm marrying Prince Harry? (You can thank me later!)

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