Students must strike a balance between the enjoyment of university and looking towards the future

Just reading the title of this article sends shivers down my spine. The very thought of leaving the self-indulgent surroundings of university life, for the cold and heartless world of job hunting, has me running to the library in search of solace in academic idealism while I still have the opportunity.

Nonetheless, horrifying statistics telling me that I am 11 per cent less likely to get a job than my peers at similar, or even worse, universities certainly serves as a dose of cold, hard realism. As a student, it becomes so easy to slip into intellectual monotony and ignore the black hole of employment that draws ever closer. Perhaps as an English student, I over-romanticise what is nothing more than sheer laziness. Yet it seems that York students are unaware of the true extent of the ruthlessness graduate job market, and instead exist in a bubble of blissful ignorance. And there is a part of me that finds this naivety a far more appealing, and less stressful, way of living life. After all, if I had my way, I’d be content to spend the rest of my days locked in a room reading Sagan and De Beauvoir, living a life filled with baguettes and feminist ideals.

But unfortunately, the world just isn’t like that and unless your godfather is Rupert Murdoch, we’re going to have to fight tooth and nail for every employment opportunity. We need a Careers Service that is pushy and constantly in your face, rather than politely emailing suggestions for student workshops and almost encouraging complacency. After all, fear is the best motivator.

We need a Careers Service that is pushy and constantly in your face, rather than politely emailing you suggestions for student workshops and almost encouraging complacency. After all, fear is the best motivator.

However, there is a balance that needs to be struck. Once we start focusing every aspect of university life towards getting a job, much of what makes this University such a unique institution will be lost. We have already spent seven or so years of our lives having our education limited purely to what might crop up on those imperative GCSEs and A-Levels. Such a restrictive approach is just as detrimental to our effectiveness in getting jobs as ignoring the issue altogether. While it may initially appear that your impassioned seminar group debates on the genius of Machiavelli or the over appreciation of Orwell serve no purpose in ‘the real world’, having the confidence to present, assert and defend your own views and opinions is a skill that will stand us all in as good stead as a high class degree.

Yes, there is little doubt that the Careers Service needs to become more than a vague concept, ignored by most students within the University, but at the same time we need to recognise that it’s a two way road. More funding and improvements to careers assistance and facilities still does not mean that at the end of our three years, we shall be handed a job on a shining silver platter. It needs to be a combined effort for any noticeable change to occur. A new, more imaginative approach to motivating students is needed to get people interested and involved. We need to ensure that the word ‘employment’ conjures up more than an image of sitting at an office desk rotting away in boredom for the rest of your life.

The jobs are out there and there is no justifiable reason that York students shouldn’t be getting them if we put the time and effort in. After all, Greg Dyke went here and he ended up running the BBC. Just a little something to aim for.

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