At what point has university ever encouraged students to forget the whole job thing and travel instead? Never… explicitly. With more graduates queueing up for the limited number of graduate jobs in the UK, it might be time to consider the other post-graduate option that university unintentionally prepared us for: travel.
They say that being a university student is the best time of your life because you are supposed to join the “real world” straight after – a world full of grafting so you have a retirement fund to sit on when you are too decrepit to go on. Of course, the point of obtaining a carefully chosen degree is so you can earn your keep and beyond while doing a job that you enjoy. That’s the dream, right?
For many, like me, those big career plans don’t quite pan out. It might be due to the fact that so many graduates are churned through university in the UK each year there simply isn’t any graduate jobs for them. After all, half of last year’s UK graduates are in non-graduate jobs. On the other hand, it might be down to the dwindling enthusiasm that dimly glows from the 60th covering letter and CV sent to a bored Human Resources Manager by a graduate.
Quite a cruel turn of events to shovel onto someone who has just more than likely returned to live at home with the folks, losing a large fraction of independence, whilst the time of their life and the people they shared it with is fresh in their mind for them to miss.
Enjoying the Ride
While university isn’t for everyone, the subcultural setup as a student is one which can teach you what you value in life. At least, that is what I experienced. At university, I was enjoying the journey of being educated (oh yeah, I geek out), researching, meeting new people, having good friends, being a girlfriend, whilst still getting to see my amazing long-time friends and family. Despite believing in the back of my mind that the indicator of successful degree was starting a career afterwards, I was having too much fun studying and socialising at the time to make decisions that would get me closer to that goal.
At some point between graduation and making my decision to travel, I was kicking myself for not doing more to get a graduate job. Being the biggest swot in my graduating year and doing just a few voluntary roles hadn’t been enough. That’s the ideology scolded into my brain from being a student for three years, I guess. However, when it gets to that point a different mindset is in order. As Dumbledore would say: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” How do you remember how to live? I think it is doing what makes you happy. The happiest I have ever been was when I was learning about the world and being surrounded by a variety of people. I want this again and I believe I have the almost perfect solution: travelling.
Travel Fresher and University Fresher
Both travelling and going to university have the similarity of going to a new place and, in turn, being forced to socialise with new like-minded people. Where you are educated about the wider world through academics at university, obviously travelling is physically reaching the wider world and expanding your knowledge that way. That is what is inspiring me to travel to and around New Zealand. That is where I aim to pursue happiness.
On the surface, university is about getting a qualification. But the wider opportunity to experience new things that university provides, allows you figure out a lot about yourself. My theory is that if you enjoyed university, you’ll enjoy travelling. I’ll keep you posted on that one.
University was the best time of my life and although I didn’t get to the right destination, I sure enjoyed the ride.