I think it’s safe to say that, when I’m not thinking about the D-word, how badly I may have done in that Shakespeare exam or how I may have forgotten to do some key formatting on my latest essay, the not so distant future is on my mind. Take into account that I’m the kind of person who has a million things running around their brain at once, and you have yourself a dreaded topic which creeps up far too often, like that guy you snogged once in Revs and keep diving in bushes to avoid.
Before Christmas it was easy to pretend that the big, bad end of my time at Swansea was pretty much just around the corner. The Winter Semester passed me by in a whirlwind of essay deadlines, grammar tests and perhaps a Thursday night in Sins too many, and BANG. Suddenly it’s 2011 and I actually have to start deciding what it is I’ll be doing this time next year. Yet, as graduation inches close, I’m hearing more and more about graduates floundering in the increasingly limited job market. With opportunities thin on the ground, tales of graduates taking jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with their degrees have become more frequent, which begs the question : why did I bother getting myself into all this debt in the first place?
Nowadays, having a degree just isn’t enough. My nightmares involve job interviews where the interviewer cracks out some Shania Twain:
‘So, you’ve got a 2.1 in English and German? THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH, OOH OOH OOOOH’
Terrifying, no? So what do you do when a degree isn’t enough?
Let’s face it. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, and with a sea of eager graduates unleashed from Universities every Summer, going for the same jobs and the same courses, you have to do all you can to stand out. Especially where my chosen career of journalism is concerned, work experience can be crucial in tipping the balance from wannabe but nevergonnabe to budding journalist in the making. Even if all you’re doing is making the tea, any sort of work experience is pretty much mandatory if you want to make an impression.
As I write this, I’m actually sat in my hostel in Brussels; yep, that’s right, I went all the way to Brussels for work experience! Guess who has a press pass this week for the European Parliament? I’ve been finding out the ins and outs of mackerel fishing in European waters, why Liverpool feels it should have a cruising port and a top tip from an MEP on how to deal with a mobile phone you don’t know how to turn off for a radio interview. (Put it into a nearby plantpot. Genius.)
These are only a few of the stories from this week, and it isn’t even over yet. All joking about mackerel aside, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself because I’ve been lucky enough to get a work placement with some lovely people who’ve given me lots to do and see instead of just letting me sit here twiddling my thumbs for four days. The things I’m seeing and doing here are crucial to my next steps after graduation.
To be quite honest, I’m getting a little concerned about how grown up I’m being about it all. Someone hand me a double vodka red bull, a shot of apple Sourz and some ridiculous fancy dress outfit STAT!