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What it means to be a graduate

I often question what is better: to psychologically convince myself that a Media and Anthropology degree will get me my dream job as a journalist or admit to the fact that ever reaching the sports pages of The Guardian is progressively becoming more and more unlikely.

As I drove on to campus this morning I flicked over to Radio 1 where Chris Moyles was interviewing Phil and Kirstie from all those addictive property shows on Channel 4 (whether they are addictive to you or not depends greatly on how nosey you are, personally I could watch them all day but that is primarily due to the fact that I love to see the posh people buy extravagant houses whilst secretly hiding their failing marriages!). So, there I was, Monday morning a new week and a confident (if somewhat optimistic) thought that I will have at least begun researching my essay by the end of the day. Then pipes up Kirstie Allsop with the soul destroying comment ‘did you know that there are more people in the UK doing Media studies degrees than actual jobs in the industry?’ Thanks Kirstie, what a way to piss on my parade.

‘Yes, granted, we have spent three years getting drunk, clubbing till 4am on weekdays and regularly watching daytime TV but we have also worked bloody hard for a degree, which is essentially two numbers with a colon in the middle’ 

Obviously, I have known from the year dot that the media industry was a competitive one but the constant reminder of it from people who have already ‘made it’ and are earning fantastic salaries is really beginning to get my goat. I have given up with the career talks, alumni week and all the rest due to the fact that no one tells me anything that I don’t already know: it is very hard work, you will have to start by making tea, and you may not get paid for months. Why can’t I stroll in, be given a job and let my future career happen?

Because life is just not that simple. One media conference I went to had some feminist journalist ranting on about her success and then summarised with the line ‘I would rather employ a belly dancer than a graduate.’ Now, firstly I am not sure if she knows a secret about belly dancers’ success as journalists, but if so she’s failed to tell anyone else (no offence to belly dancers). Secondly, what have graduates done that is so bad?

Yes, granted, we have spent three years getting drunk, clubbing till 4am on weekdays and regularly watching daytime TV (come on you’ve all done the Channel 4 afternoon starting with Countdown and ending with Hollyoaks!) but during this time of fun and laziness we have also worked bloody hard for a degree which is essentially two numbers with a colon in the middle.

Before deciding to go to university I was offered a provisional job for when I had completed my A-Levels. I turned it down. Lured by the pier, the beach and the fun of the seaside I instead decided to opt for the degree, getting myself in to over £20,000 worth of debt for the educational prestige of a degree. Some would say ‘you stupid cow, you should have taken the job’ but I have never regretted my decision. Sure, there are days when I hate my degree, when one more minute in the library seems unbearable and when the seminars drag on for what seems like a lifetime. But then I think of the nights out with new friends, duvet days watching the entire box set of your favourite series and watching the sunset over the old pier on Brighton beach. It is moments like this when I think I would not change the last three years for the world. Yes, I have had no experience and yes, I only have a piece of paper with some numbers on but even if my future employer looks at my C.V and sees nothing, the person they meet will be one who has learnt so much in such a short space of time, grown up, had life experiences which we should never take for granted and met some crazy, amazing people along the way. This article isn’t just for those students attempting to write dissertations but also those of you in your first and second years; yes at times it is tough but stick with it because a degree is worth so much more than what you write on a job application.

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