In movies, graduation is that little event in your life that looks fan-fucking-tastic. Unless you know, you’re one of those characters that tragically dies in a car crash minutes after throwing their cap in the air.
In real life however, graduation might be a fun celebration of what we have achieved, but within a day you’re facing the panic of being pushed into the real world.
Two BULLSH!T editors sat down to share their thoughts – one from a graduates perspective (a year on) and the other from the perspective of becoming a graduate in a month. Here’s what they had to say.
TAHLIA (one year on):
I’m going to put it bluntly. If you think you’re a shit-kicker when you’re interning and working for free...(well you are)… that’s not always going to change super fast after graduation. There’s going to be a MILLION times as you start working your way up the ladder that you will think “I’m better than this and I deserve more than this.” That’s not to say you’re conforming to the stereotype of the entitled Gen Y person…it’s to say that’s unfortunately the way the cookie crumbles.
Obtaining full-time employment is like trying to spot a rainbow during a storm. The minority get to see it. And for the rest of us? Well we work. And that’s all we can do. And sometimes we get really fucking pissed off after putting in 10+ hour days and getting no benefit but the absolute minimum wage and to watch others get promoted before you. And then we work weekends, to make ends meet also. And before you know it, you’ve worked a ridiculous number of days in a row, and start writing a rant-y post like this and start to wonder if you’ve 100% lost the plot.
Then sometimes, all you can do is just hold onto the hope it’s going to get better, because the thought of facing more months like this is absolutely depressing. So you drag your tired, sorry butt out of bed after another night of no sleep, and get on with it. Because the sad truth is, no matter how many internships you have taken (in my case 5), and no matter how good your grades are, employment isn’t just going to be an automatic, guaranteed thing.
You’re the little engine that could. And you’ve got to be the little engine that can. There’s going to be days when you’re going to run out of steam, but you’re going to have to keep chugging along, and hope that one day, someone higher up will notice you and pull you off the train tracks.
HARRISON (about to graduate):
Let me lay out my own situation. I’m 22 years old. I’ve been employed on a casual basis since I was 14. I’m 3 exams away from leaving university with two undergraduate degrees under my belt – with pretty decent marks too. In the past year I’ve undertaken two separate internships – the latter with a fairly major record label. Objectively speaking, my CV is in the best place it possibly could be.
A lot of people observe my situation and say that I should have no trouble finding a job. People are all “the right thing will fall into place”. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t work like that. Especially not when you consider recent figures released (only roughly 1 in 3 graduates will find employment straight away). Right now securing a full-time job is legitimately feeling impossible. There’s a very real anxiety that has been building for months now, and I don’t hesitate to say that it’s contributing to a very poor state of mental health.
What about a month from now – or six months from now? The notion of wasting these degrees I am spending so much money on terrifies me – but it’s a reality I could very well be facing. I’ll no longer be that student doing a cool internship, working casually and focusing on my studies. I’ll be the university graduate working two jobs: one casually in retail, the other totally unpaid.
I could not have physically done more to prepare myself for entering the job market. And yet here I am, a fortnight away from facing the job search, and I feel just as lost as ever. Only difference is now that ‘real world’ isn’t some distant future. It’s a date circled on the calendar
The government is in our ears, parroting that it’s time to ‘earn or learn’. Degree costs are about to skyrocket. The average wage is on the way down. Graduation should be a cause for celebration – but from where I’m standing, it looks to be just about the opposite. Shit is scary.
Words by TAHLIA PRITCHARD and HARRISON CARTWRIGHT – neither of whom are any closer to figuring it all out.