On graduating

If we’re honest with each other, being a graduate at the moment is not a terribly brilliant experience. You don’t need to know someone who has graduated recently to know that the jobs market is a teeny bit dungy (they tell you that stuff on the news now, dear), nor that young people in general aren’t exactly having a gay old time of late. If you think that finishing your degree entitles you to be carried home through the streets of your home town on a sedan chair like Cleopatra then you are both as cool as me and WRONG. It doesn’t.

In fact, the reactions you receive after graduating – from Nan, the bloke at the Post Office, the nice lady with the little pens in HSBC – fall into two categories: the first involves an unnerving, patronising and morbidly terrifying pat on the head from parents and family who offer kind words and furrowed brows at just how difficult it is to be a graduate at the moment with no jobs for us youngies because of the big, nasty recession before fucking off back to their insanely mortgaged houses, cars bought on credit, free university educations, jobs – actual freakin’ JOBS – and all the endless Jelly Tots and hand jobs that come from being a God-damn, baby boomer sonumbitch.

The second reaction is even scarier: a big ol’ “so now what?” Not content with you having actually, well, worked quite hard for a degree, made ends meet, toiled some shit night job, pulled all-nighters, panted across the country to use libraries and archives, stressed yourself to within an inch of human death on a dissertation, sat final exams and spent £30,000 for the privilege – not content with this, you are asked what your plan is. Suddenly, as if uncovering a vast conspiracy, you realise that not everybody spent the last three months of their degree dying in a Red Bull coma under a desk in the library and it looks rather like your classmates had been applying for jobs, booking internships, doing work experience, volunteering and planning for postgraduate programmes. And now, these niggling little twerps are all up in your Facebook eyes with their interview statuses and travel pictures and sneaky tweets from their lunch break at Standard Chartered and it’s not fucking funny that you’re watching Heir Hunters and crying into your cereal.

So here’s some advice. Don’t wait until May to realise your CV could fit onto your fingernail. If you haven’t worked a job, get one. If you haven’t done volunteering, do some. If you haven’t joined a sports club, keep it up – you’re on the way to not being a bellend. But, most importantly, enjoy your final year. Because after that… well, let’s not be too honest just yet.

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Hemingway love, pt. 2

‘In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the grindstone and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining, and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.’

Hemingway love

“If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.”