As I sat there grinning from ear to ear at my graduation ceremony this summer, I couldn’t have felt more proud of myself and my peers for what we had accomplished. However, as I took a glance around the room at the sea of caps and gowns, I couldn’t help but feel slightly unnerved by it all. As delighted as I was with my newly attained degree in Media and Journalism; there I was, just one of thousands of students graduating this year and not only that, I was among around 68% who received a 2.1 or higher. Talk about competition.
In no way would I like to take away from the value of anyone’s degree; after all it takes a lot of hard work and commitment to complete one. Though it did make me question just how much a degree is really worth in the current environment and to what extent a qualification alone can truly guarantee a graduate job. Nowadays, more people are going on to Higher Education than ever before, meaning employers can afford to be picky when it comes to hiring. I feel like I spent the last three years slightly in denial of the tough road ahead of me and it’s no wonder so many graduates opt to travel the world after University, postponing that daunting job hunt just a little bit longer. Talking of which, any donations in the form of a one way ticket to Thailand are welcome.
Over the years, I have come across a somewhat unfair opinion that degrees are being handed out like flyers these days to just about anyone and everyone and having studied Media at University, I am all too familiar with courses not dissimilar to mine being dubbed useless and a waste of time; which is ironic really, considering it’s the fastest growing industry in the world. Yes I agree that there are certain fields such as medicine and law where a degree is more essential than others; however there is more to it than the subject you are studying and so many transferable skills are acquired at University which are invaluable to our futures. After all, a qualification is just one of many elements of the University experience, alongside learning to live independently and broadening your horizons to all kinds of new things.
This all being said, a degree alone just doesn’t cut it these days and after three years at University, you’d be lucky to walk into a graduate job without having to spend additional time completing internships or other unpaid work. It’s all about standing out from the crowd, and although a degree may push you slightly up the employability pecking order, for many job openings it is merely a bare essential among a growing list of required qualities and skills. The dilemma of how to get experience with no experience seems a near impossible cycle to break for a recent graduate and certainly makes for a disheartening start to the hunt for employment. I began my job hunt with enthusiasm and excitement about landing myself my dream job, though dozens of applications later I felt my ambition slip as a new “anything as long as it’s a job attitude” emerged.
I’m determined not to feel discouraged though and am hopeful that these obstacles can be overcome. Besides, where some may feel defeated by the challenges faced, the tenacity to conquer them may just be what it takes to catch that employer’s eye; only time will tell.