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I am graduating this summer and like most third years I have very little idea what I will be doing next year. I am fairly relaxed about this; although there is always some element of fear of the unknown.
There are several options and one that I am passionately against is unpaid internships. An unpaid internship would give me an advantage in the job market but I find them morally bankrupt. It’s not the same as volunteering; it’s a job in all but name, where you work nine until five under the same conditions as a job except you do not get paid. For this reason they are socially exclusive as you need to be able to afford housing, rent and the costs even if they pay for your lunch and travel. I will apply for badly paid internships providing that they pay enough for me to be self sufficient; otherwise I will not consider them. I want a job to be pay my way in the world; I have no intention of being reliant on my parents help for longer than I need to.
Post graduate study is an interesting option. For many people it is a reason to stay in Lancaster for another year. I think this is very tempting but probably not worth the money. I have considered doing a masters but only in very specific circumstances; at a different university, if it gave real improvement to my job prospects and most importantly only after a year in a job to give me time to decide if it really is worth the time and money.
I think the harsh truth of graduation is that I along with most people will be unemployed for a few weeks or months then get a low paid job. A degree from Lancaster is a mark of potential that will eventually lead most of us to good jobs. Before that I am very much aware that I face a baptism of fire to get used to life after university and then work my way up. Doing a degree was the right decision for me and I suspect for most of the readers of this article but it is not a road to straight to our dream jobs; it is only an important step along the way. After working for three years for a degree it is often hard to accept the truth; this is were the real work begins.
On a more positive note change can often be exciting and only by being challenged and tested do we grow. My view is that embracing this is they key to a happy life after university; I am not going to be happy if I look back missing my time at university instead of focusing on building a new life. I am sure the next year will be hard but that does not mean I will not enjoy it; it is the beginning of the next stage in my life.