Where To From Here?

Without it meaning to my final university semester has snuck up on me, and I am now faced with the similar anxiety that all graduates face.

The horrible reality that you do not feel prepared enough to graduate, even though you had planned to be for the last four years.

That there are not enough jobs available and the prospect of unemployment or part-time employment in retail or hospitality is not altogether a pleasant thought.

This sort of negative graduation feeling is not helped by the figures that the media keep updating us with re the unemployment levels of graduates.

Just this week the ABC published information about the state of the graduate job market in North America, reporting that 5,000 cleaners have PhDs.

The job market is not as bleak as the American one, but still there are enough friends who I know who have graduate in the last year who are working part-time or in mediocre jobs because they can’t find work in their field to show me that Australian graduates are also suffering.

To be honest it is both terrifying and relieving in a way.

Firstly it is terrifying because you want to be able to say you were one of the few who were able to secure a job after graduating (in your respective field) and therefore your 30,000 dollar HECS debt is justified.

Secondly it is relieving to the religious traveller, such as myself, who is always searching for a legitimate reason to give people who do not approve of my continuous travelling as to why I am setting off once again when I should be working on my career or ‘settling down’.

Therefore telling said people that there are no jobs and that I will further increase my job prospects by learning Spanish in Colombia whilst volunteering in a jungle actually begin to sound justified.

In Western Australia in particular there seems to be,  thanks to the mining boom, a movement where young people under 25 are buying land and property.

Personally I have no interest in doing such a thing, although I have immense respect for those who do, but this has created a social idea that unless you are buying property or having something to your name you are wasting your money and or/life.

I have had countless conversations about the topic with people ranging from complete strangers to family and I will confess some of these conversations have ended with me leaving the room in tears.

Simply because I do not wish to settle down and buy a house and be in debt at the age of 21. I have many more decades of life (hopefully) that I can be in debt for and I do not wish to do so now.

This sort of pressure that is being felt by many graduates alike is ridiculous.

Most students graduating university with a bachelor’s degree are only in their early twenties and have yet to really live life fully especially if they went straight from high school to university without a gap year.

I guess the main point to this post is that graduates are already facing undue pressure amongst their own social groups and from universities to land ‘that top job’  post graduating as it is, that extra pressure from family and friends re property buying, settling down or life direction is only adding to the stress.

Needing a life plan is not always essential, a life direction is, but a plan can sometimes be destructive instead of helpful for example when job markets don’t allow for ease of entry.

To be honest I did not feel this anxious during year twelve trying to get high enough grades to get into university.

I don’t know if this sort of pressure is felt all over the world, but I think a lot of the added pressure I am feeling is my insistence that I do not want to settle down and invest in property.

After studying communications I am fearful, like everyone who studied in the same field, of not just not finding a job but of not even finding work experience that’s how hard things seem to be in Perth.

My only advice to those facing graduation or who have recently graduated is that this is your life, you have finished university, and are free to seek whatever you choose to achieve, whatever that goal is.

Try to stay positive and surround yourself with positive people who agree with the direction you want to go in, whether that is working in the field you studied in, working in retail or leaving it all behind to try something new.

Do what makes you happy as this is your life, you are young, and in this current negative economic world, stay positive as this is the one asset you will help you stand out from the graduating crowd.


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