Last year as I shivered on the concourse handing out flyers I often wondered about how my job would differ in a years time (main aim: warmer). On the same concourse I often felt that my fate was being hinted at- the University often handed out flyers for talks- mainly along the themes of “HOW TO COPE GRADUATING IN A RECESSION.” Headlines used to fly around the student bar (and libraries, of course) “did you know this is the worst year to graduate in 30 years?” “Did you know that it will take us on average x amount of years to work of our loans?” “Theres no point applying for that- they have 48 applications for each position”
It was also around a year ago when I put pen to paper and started my dissertation. Like most humanities/ social sciences Politics in third year is a remote old business- your only contact is with your tutor and your number one priority is to get that word count and get your 2.1. Theres not a strong conversation thread about the ‘life after’ with those in their final year. Life after? You’ve got to be joking. My second chapter has lost its narrative. Come back to me in 6 months.
However I really feel that if the right events had been going on about life after uni the potential for engagement would of been huge. Students really do worry about how they are going to use their degree- its just when bombarded with talking head seminars about how internships have been cut by 80% isn’t particulary inspiring when the aim on the game (in my experience) is to get said internship. It would be great to get people together to discuss all things to do with change, the power of ideas, the importance of self belief and all the ways students can get involved in/ help make a difference after uni.
There is real scope to get creative about this. From coming out of uni and going into my internship at Patient Opinion (I really can’t even begin to express my thanks) I can really see how learning about innovation, and perhaps most importantly just about doing things differentely, could really get people excitied about their future. I’m really pleased that Noel’s idea to get barcamps into uni has got the thumbs up. Being a student is a time where you can think creatively about things, explore ideas that you wouldn’t usually think of, take a risk and generally have a go at things, and (perhaps most obviously) learn. Innovation should just work.
So in short- it’s time to stop students dreading about graduation and let them know the benefits of problem solving in a collabrative way. The line between student and graduate needs to be broken down and blurred. Students need to think positively that they are developing whilst at uni- and just maybe an unconference can help.