Final Year: It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I’m Not Fine)

When I graduate, I want to be someone who doesn’t get asked what they’re going to do when they graduate.

As Christmas approaches, us final year students must brace ourselves for the question that will be Christmas Number 1 at every family occasion we attend – what are you going to do when you leave uni? Fellow Arts and Humanities students must suffer a further indignity: the slight hint of scepticism in the questioner’s voice, because, like David Cameron and people on your Facebook timeline who go on about ‘Mickey Mouse courses’, they don’t fully understand why you went to university in the first place.That’s not to say lots of students don’t have plans – whether it’s applying for a Masters course or trying to get onto a graduate scheme in London, no one would argue that Nottingham students aren’t ambitious. But for those of us who haven’t yet figured out what we want to do, it’s a ticking time bomb of stress and council tax and waking up at 7.30am instead of one in the afternoon.

One startlingly unproductive way I have been handling the issue of post-uni life is to research jobs and courses because I saw them on TV shows or films. A How to Get Away With Murder binge saw me researching postgraduate law conversion courses for one feverish evening; for three hours of my life I had my heart set on being a public defender, until my friend who actually studies Law pointed out that’s not even a thing in this country. (This was only a secondary barrier; the first is the fact that I cry if anyone tries to argue with me. Perhaps not the attitude you want your lawyer to have.)I researched teacher training courses after watching an episode of The Secret Life of 4-Year-Olds; I signed up to the mailing list of one of those Camp America summers after the landscape in Chef made me feel all patriotic for a country I’ve never visited. (For the record: I hated school, and I don’t much like the countryside either. It makes me feel a bit sad and scared, and there are bugs everywhere.)

So what can you do? The University of Nottingham is nationally renowned for its graduate prospects, and the Careers Office in Portland can give loads of advice. It turns out, too, that there’s a fair few government-funded job schemes that you can apply for if you get a 2:1 or higher – if you’re not the capitalist sort, there are still avenues you can go down.

But what comforts me the most is the knowledge that careers don’t have a straight upwards trajectory. Nowadays, we don’t live in a one-job – or one-career – world. It’s normal to hop from one type of job to another, whereas our grandparents would have been able to stick to one specific role all their lives. Perhaps being open to different possibilities is a good thing. In CV terms: it makes you versatile and well-rounded.

Edited by Tia Ralhan

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