Image Credit: Penn State
There’s no feeling quite like submitting your final dissertation, the culminating symbol of three years of hard work and effort, of countless stress-fuelled hours and anxious breakdowns, alone in your room on a random Sunday at 4:30pm. And yet, this is the general experience of anyone who graduated this year or last. It’s pretty surreal – I’m sure you’ve seen the memes – but the reality remain sin actual fact incredibly bleak. In that memorable moment, thousands, including myself, suddenly find themselves no longer students and, if not pursuing further education (a decision which no matter how much you hated your degree, let’s be honest we’ve all considered), suddenly thrust into the harsh land-scape of the decrepit job market.
Thus begins the frantic and desperate search. The capitalist drive to strive straight out of the gate is an exhausting process. Joining the career ladder is terrifying at any stage and at any time but especially during these last tumultuous years. Equally daunting for me at least is the prospect of moving back in with mum and dad. Combined, the pressure to grab at anything, regardless of whether I would actually enjoy working there, is very heavy.
Of course, this is a privileged position; for some the need to find work post-university can have far more serious pressures than the ones I am experiencing. Finding time, no matter how brief, to reflect on the last few years is a good act of catharsis but it is also a luxury that not everyone can afford. The job panic can make this impossible and it’s important to recognise the fears many face as well as the essential need for university-provided post-graduate support.
Without wanting this to turn into a call out post to myself, I for one wish the option to chill out, process, and gather my thoughts before jumping into the next thing was a bit more viable in our competitive, individualistic society. Last year I wrote a comment piece on why we shouldn’t glorify busyness and the same principle applies. The stigma that if you’re not moving forwards you’re moving backwards needs togo; after years of (mostly) hard work we should be able to give ourselves a break and a well-deserved pat on the back.
The capitalist drive to strive straight out of the gate is an exhausting process
So if you are graduating and have a dream job lined up – congratulations! But if you don’t, that is also okay. As clichéd as it sounds, your 20s should be about exploring who you are and who you want to be, trying new things and opening (and closing) doors. Taking sometime to figure stuff out. Taking a well-earned break.
In true 2021 style, we found ourselves struggling for positive or at the very least not-completely-de-moralising pitch ideas for the comment section. Luckily, people pulled through! Whether it’s the reclamation of the word Queer or the new wonders of outdoor seating, there are things to be optimistic about. Do also turn your hand to the other important issues tackled in this edition, including a pertinent and thought-provoking ‘Clash of Comments’ piece. With people like myself heading off there are spots opening up to join the Nouse team come September – why not give it a go or send in a pitch idea? I have enjoyed my time working for this paper immensely and am proud of the pieces produced by the comment section over the last year. I will be very sad to leave it behind.