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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Post-Grad Life: What They Don't Tell You


Graduating is one of the biggest achievements in a person's life, right? The second you start school, you are told to aim for university - to aim for success, education, a degree. You are quickly pushed into your GCSEs at an age when, really, you still have no clue what you want to do. Then once you finish your GCSEs you are pushed into A-Levels or a college course. Some people do choose to leave education at this point, but most of us are pushed on - pushed and probed about what we want to do for a living even further. Once your A-Levels (or course) are coming to an end, you are suddenly pushed into writing your personal statement and applying for universities.
I have been told my entire life that I should aim to go to university, 'get myself a good degree' and graduate. Jobs would come easier. I would be qualified for more. I would be a more valuable candidate. I would be more successful.
So I did. I graduated from university four months ago with a 2:1 in English and Journalism. Don't get me wrong, I had the best time at uni. I made friends that I will have for life, made so many memories and had so much fun in the process. I honestly wouldn't change any of that for the world, and if I could I would do it all over again.

But does uni prepare you for the real world? No. Does getting a degree mean you come out of education and instantly get a job? No. Does being a graduate mean all of your bills are paid and you are a success? No. And it's about time that we stopped teaching children and teens that this is the case. 

As I sit here writing this post in my onesie with a cup of tea, I feel somewhat empty. Why am I not sat at a desk earning money? Why are people not queueing up to have me work for them? Hello, I have a degree! Why is money still such a struggle? According to my teachers, a degree would mean I would come out of university and straight into a fantastic well-paid job that I am fully qualified for. Let's go through 3 things that they didn't tell me.

1. Graduate unemployment rates are shocking

Just a couple of weeks ago it was revealed that the graduate unemployment rate is at it's lowest level since 1989. It's lowest level. This unemployment was referred to as a 'massive waste of talent' in the Financial Times. It makes me genuinely sad to think that I am 'wasted talent'. The Guardian has pointed out that university in fact leaves students 'laden with debt' and 'often in employment that neither draws upon their skills nor pays their way'. Basically, having a degree does not ensure that you will get a job any more than someone who does not have a degree.

2. The real world? It's nothing like they said. 

When in uni, you are trapped in a one-dimensional world - a world where you receive money each term to pay your rent and buy your food, a world where the most important decision is which party to go to and a world where you live with your friends in a bubble. When leaving uni and entering the 'real world', it can be quite a shock. Suddenly your main concern is not what drink to have next, it is how you are going to pay your rent. It is not staying up late to complete a last minute essay, it is lying awake all night because you are worried about paying bills. No one warns you about this sudden shift. No one gives you an envelope of money and says 'here, this will help pay your first months rent while you run around trying to find a job'. Schools delude you into thinking that because you are university educated, everything will fall into place. The truth is, they hoof you out after three years, and it takes a long time to get back up on your feet.

3. Technology is taking over the world

To put it bluntly, technology is stealing people's jobs. I was sat in a lecture earlier this year in a Journalism module and the screen read 'By 2025, 80% of the news we read will be written by bots'. Oh...ok. Why am I paying £9,000+ to study journalism, then? Even jobs like retail and restaurants are getting taken over by technology. You can walk in to some food outlets now and not even speak to anyone. Just order your food on a machine and then wait until it's ready. People with jobs in real estate and car sales are finding it more difficult as there are plenty of quick and easy alternative websites that people use instead of going to them. The idea of self-driving lorries is even a thing now. No wonder everyone is struggling.


With all that said and my mini rant now over, I think university is great in many ways. It honestly was the best experience of my entire life, it just left me with a whole lot of debt and not quite as prepared for the real world as I would have hoped. Maybe they should introduce 'preparation for the real world' into the curriculum?

19 comments:

  1. I went to uni over ten years ago now, and work in something completely irrelevant to my degree now. Knowing what i know now, i probably wouldn't have gone. I had a great time, but don't think it is necessary for everyone, especially with so many jobs being online

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  2. I don't think university is for everyone; there are lots of vocational courses and apprenticeships nowadays that are great for certain jobs! My brother and severeal of my friends did really well from that. Personally I love the academic life; I didn't go to university to just get a job, I went because I love my subject. Now I'm doing an MA, aiming for a PhD (if funding works out), hopefully to pursue a career in academia or museum curation.

    It definitely depends on individual goals and why you want a degree. My flatmate graduated from Edinburgh with a 2:1, and she can't find a job because she lacks experience! It's a double-edged sword.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the experience at uni though, and I certainly agree that more advice for the 'real world' could be provided, if you're not planning to stay in academia. My uni offer mock interviews, CV help, internships and all that kind of stuff - it's very useful and helped me get a part-time job at a relevant historic site.

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  3. This is a really sad post to read but I understand your frustration. I didn't go to uni by choice. I studied for years as a musician and I fast figured out that Uni isn't something that can help everyone in their chosen field. I do think people are told to go to uni when perhaps it's not for everyone. What they don't tell students is that only 7% of the available jobs are for graduates and these aren't for those who did the so called fluff courses or less academically driven courses. I found that a lot of my friends who went on to further study couldn't get work whereas I could even without a degree simply for having more work and life experience. I think the difference with back in the day is that people were paid to go to uni and this was specifically for people in more academically driven courses so there was work for them once they left. I think these days many people go because they think they should or they are delaying getting into the working world, others simply want the experience. I do think for the few who want further education to put them on a good path for the future are heavily mislead. Not really fair when society seems to hate us Millennials and calls us lazy etc...

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  4. I can't imagine what it is like to finish uni and step out into the real world, I did start doing OU but of course that is very different. It is a shame it doesn't look at both sides the learning and the doing.

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  5. I completely agree. I graduated from university two years ago and at first I was lost. I was unwell, depressed and anxious and its true that university does not prepare you for the real world. At the same time I don't regret going to university and I do feel proud that I graduated with a first. I hope that things look up for you soon although I think you have a fabulous blog so keep being awesome x

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  6. I left uni five years ago and was not prepared for the cut-throat job market, I can only imagine how much worse it is now.
    Cx

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  7. I'm quite glad I didn't go to uni, I ended up working on my career and working my way up. I used to work in a uni and the amount of time last year students would say exactly what you are saying here is shocking x

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  8. I do think it is very tough after university, you're right technology is taking over which is why I want to start learning coding as I think it's a new skill everyone will need to have x

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  9. I totally agree that there should be more awareness and help with life after a degree during degree courses but I also really agree that to me going to university is so much more than this. I encourage my children to look forward to university as the opportunity to grow and have fun as well as studying and learning is so important. Good luck!

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  10. I still miss university live now, nearly 20 years later. There is nothing quite like it, but you’re right that the real world can be a shock when you leave.

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  11. I think every single one of my friends who finished uni were surprised how different their life was after graduation. I think uni is a bit like a bubble that you don't really realise you're in... until you're out of it!

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  12. It’s sad but true that going to university doesn’t prepare you for a job straight away and that it is not guaranteed even after studying so much!

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  13. A lot of people are lost when they step out of uni and struggle with the real working world but a degree can also help just for the piece of paper. I have seen so many jobs that I could do through 10+ years of working experience yet I don't get to interview stage because a degree from any subject is required. Its ridiculous x

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  14. The real world is a big wake up call from university. They don't mention that it can be harder to get a job in a field you want and that the long work hours take a lot to get used to!

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  15. It's so frustrating to read facts like these, life after uni can be tough but I still think it is a fantastic experience x

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  16. I don't regret going to college because it was a great experience but I do regret going to get a second degree in fashion. Knowing what I know now I would have saved my money but it did give me the opportunity to move to LA and for that I can grateful!

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  17. Tell me about it! i was always so excited to graduate and then once i had i didnt know what to do with myself. I had spent my whole life in education and then was just kinda thrown into the real world! luckily i fell into a good grad job but so many of my friends are still struggling to adjust to not being a student anymore.

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  18. I don’t regret going to college because it was a great experience but I do kind of regret going to fashion school. I would have loved to save that money. I am happy where I am today as a full time blogger in LA

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  19. I loved Uni but finding a job afterwards has definitely been a challenge!

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