As the New-Year’s hangover begins to fade, and even the diet plans pale in interest, a realisation is dawning on me. I have not nabbed the Goldman Sachs graduate placement; I have few ‘connections’ in those enviable high places, and I can’t even fund an MPhil to ignore the outside world by remaining in education.
In just under six month’s time, I and a couple of thousand other Cambridge students will be graduating. I keep hearing the words “Once more unto the breach, dear friends” in my ear, with the clammy fear of approaching an edge. Yes, I just quoted Henry V.; no, I am not over-reacting.
I am an arts student. I have spent a lot of my last two years at this university taking tea breaks and watching New Girl.
I believe I am speaking for more than myself when I say that the outlook seems grim. There are over 12,000 full-time undergraduates studying at the University of Cambridge alone, and I’m guessing that around a third will don the mortar board this summer for the Latinised fledging ceremony in the Senate House. There are, of course, those Medics, Engineers, and MML students who complicate my attempts at calculation. There are then those that refuse to take off the mortar board and take up residence again for an extra year, but not after paying the heavy price placed on MPhils these days.
Therefore, this approximately 3,000-strong force of Cambridge undergraduates will be hitting the streets of the job market, scrambling for those placements and trainee schemes that could mean a salary and maybe a promotion from the coffee-making rounds in a couple of months. Maybe. Equally, most of this army will be marching towards London in the hope of finding some affordable living arrangement, ready for the yuppie lifestyle and the crippling Oyster card bill. But wait, we are also forgetting the students graduating from the excess of 300 other institutions that offer HE courses, students that we must meet in battle.
And on this pilgrimage to the capital we carry a heavy burden: the student debt. I guess the class of 2013 must be at least thankful we got in before the £9000 hit. But education is better than no education, and we must always pay for what our forefathers did not, right? Thank God for the Newton Bursary scheme.
It is true then – we are going over the top. And I assure you, I will be walking that same, slow pace beside you. I currently have no cunning plan. And yet I am here, using these next few crucial weeks of my degree to calm the panickers, stoke the idlers, and rally the troops with the weekly call to arms. I can’t promise success – no-one can! – I can only offer you all a commiserating pat on the back so you know we are all in it together. I know: how wonderful.