If you look at my email inbox right now, what you will see is receipts of applications to nearly 70 jobs, rejections from six of the most prominent companies in the UK and a daily good news newsletter, to which I have subscribed. It always feels somewhat ironic, a 500 word article everyday being the buffer that helps me feel like things could get better, cushioned between rejection and futile attempts at making plans.
For many people my age (21, and set to graduate, at some point…), we have grown up being told that unless we plan for our futures, get our metaphorical feet through doors, network, save, and work hard, things like job security, home ownership and a stable future are set to be impossible. Even if we do do all of these things, we’re still told achieving these goals is unlikely. Like many, I haven’t always done these things. In my teenage years, my career wasn’t at the forefront of my decision making, I was young and reckless, feeling the full force of the freedom of adolescence; real life was a million miles away. But inevitably, and tragically, life does start to become serious. So I started a savings ISA, applied for internships and looked at LinkedIn. Your last student finance text will come, your commitment to some societies will end, and your dissertation will be the most visited document on your laptop. All of these things have happened, and now we don’t even know if we will graduate this year. If we do, how will our grades be classified? Will we see any of our tuition fees come back into our pockets? Will landlords help students cope with rent in times when many cannot work? Will there even be a job to go to, if I do get handed that diploma? For many students, they have taken on the roles of key workers, have been incredible forces in this awful time. and have shown determination, persistence and incredible strength. Meanwhile, I sit at home, safe, stable, and I can’t even find the mental strength to take things one day at a time. I am so lucky, don’t get me wrong. But for many graduating students, this is the reality.
I like plans. I like consistency, and knowing what is coming next. I like having routine. I like being in control of my life, my future. So you could say that this is all a bit stressful for people like me, and I know there are so many students feeling these strains. Once my dissertation was handed in, and all of my deadlines were extended (without even knowing if they will ultimately count for anything), I was at a loss. The scheduling I had done to make sure I was on track with everything was suddenly out the window. At this point I had applied for 45+ jobs. Marketing roles, assistant roles, PR roles, journalism and media jobs and even bar work (which I have been doing for the last 4 years, and hoped to move on from). Panic set in once routine was gone, and so, to cope with this sudden void and the impending and hovering sensation of uncertainty seeming to fill every nook and cranny of my room, I sat down and applied for job after job after job. I know full well that most of the staff that could be receiving my application have been furloughed. I spend hours on LinkedIn, looking for anyone who may be able to help me, and I have rewritten my CV more times than I can count.
I have tried so hard to take control.
But I can’t.
You see, everything right now, for everyone, everywhere, is uncertain, scary and feels downright wrong. I don’t know about you, but all I want to do is sleep, but when I do I feel as though I am wasting the time that has already been wasted for me. It feels like someone has claimed the last few months of my being ‘young and free, with reckless abandon’. And my way of coping with that is trying, with whatever time and resources I do have, to find a new plan, a new future. Something set in stone. And so, I will send more unread applications, receive more rejections, and hope that at some point someone will want to hire a girl with a Philosophy and Politics degree. Because at least then there is a path forward from the last three years of my life.