"Oh you finished uni, congratulations!"

Words by

Eliza Sholly

When you finish Year 12, the world is your oyster. You’re fresh outta the careers counsellor’s office with the world at your feet. 

Well it’s four years later and I’m one undergrad degree richer, but like many students before me– I am without a job. Not that I predicted post-university life as a cakewalk, but at 21 I thought I would have it figured out. And by “it” I mean my life. That, however, isn’t the case and it seems all I am left with is some nice graduation photos and a mountain of doubts larger than my hex debt. 

So how do you recognise us recent graduates? There are a few tell-tale signs that distinguish us from the rest. 

You seriously consider unconventional and semi-shameful ways of making money

At a low point in life I genuinely Googled how much a kidney went for on the black market. I also looked into selling my hair, participating in clinical trials and becoming an undercover shopper – turns out this one wasn’t as high profile as I thought it would be. I also looked up metal detectors on eBay to do some moonlight beachcombing. Unemployed will people feel my struggle. 

You dread running into people from Uni

We’ve all been there. You’re out and about when you see a classmate you were once in a group assignment with. With only one real common interest, the conversation of post-degree life arises in the conversation. After listening to them ramble on about their full time job and how fulfilling it is, you dread the moment the conversation spins onto you. I fancy myself as a conversational wizard, but not even I can avoid the inevitable “So what are you up to? Are you working?” After a witty repartee Re: the challenges of finding a job and floating the idea of a gap year/year abroad, we part ways. I pray the next time I see that person, I’m embarrassingly successful and they forgive me for how awkward that encounter was. 

Family events are the worst things to ever happen

While many view the holiday season as a chance to catch up with friends and family – reflecting on the year that was and what the next year may bring – I view it as a mild form of torture. What many 20-something’s understand is that any social gathering around this age, turns into an Oprah Winfrey-style interview about all the questions I do not know the answer to. It usually goes a little something like this: 

Woman who hasn't seen me since I was "this high": Oh you finished uni, congratulations!
Me: Yeah, thanks
Woman: So... what's next? Been applying for jobs?
*Cue internal panic that verbalises as some well-rehearsed rambling about "not wanting to rush it" and "taking some time to figure it out." * 

When will this torture be over? 

You ask around for good seasons to watch

A good season is one in a million.  Gone are the days where you have no time to binge watch an entire series because graduating means you have plenty of time to Netflix and chill. Asking friends for recommendations is basically the backbone of any unemployed person’s life. Just don’t get too emotionally invested because who knows, you could be hired mid cliffhanger and left not knowing who Gossip Girl is. I still don’t know and don’t ruin it please. 

Writing cover letters and CV’s becomes second nature

I cannot tell you how many times I wrote “To Whom it may concern” in the weeks after I graduated. Tailoring cover letters to each job you apply for is necessary, but that doesn’t bring back the hours spent scouring Pedestrian and Seek for anything that calls for my relevant experience. I wonder how many applications each posting receives from recent graduates that “work excellently in a team” and are  “technologically savvy.” When we really know this is code for “Please hire me before I have to resort to selling my entire wardrobe on eBay.” 

NB: I know that employers Google potential candidates before calling them in for an interview. Accordingly, I must disclose the views in this article are unfortunately my own, however I would love to meet with you to amend them and show you how amazing I would be in the position. 

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