Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Lion, The Witch and The Graduate

Image by blmiers2, flickr.com

My housemate, whenever on her way to anywhere, famously takes the long way around. It's not a planned route, but it just seems to happen that way. She was once asked why she took so long, and asked if she went through Narnia to get to her destination. I feel like I've joined her in a magical but brutal land that is testing my every nerve, but I've yet to find the door to get out of it. I'm not alone in this, this is how graduates working their way towards their goals feel in their day to day lives.

It was reported this month that 5,200 graduates sought employment abroad last year. It's hardly a surprise as it's a collective idea amongst university leavers that employment prospects are far more lucrative abroad. It is encouraging for the rest of us to hear that some of our fellow university alumni have managed to find some level of success, even if they had to leave the country to do so. Now working abroad, talk about going the long way around. Who wouldn't want to be living in an old cultural European city and throwing pennies in a fountain? Or basking in the glimmer of the skyscraper office lights? If only we could all afford to uproot our lives, if we didn't have hate mail from the bank and actually had money. That pesky little pain in the neck is what prevents most of us from achieving our ideal lifestyles, and we almost forget that our lives don't follow the simple narrative of a fairy tale.

University was initially the shortcut into our careers, we thought we could jump straight in and avoid the painful process of working our way up the ladder. That was until reality took a smug walk into our lives and burst our bubble like a pin in a birthday balloon. Graduate life is very much like the wardrobe in C.S.Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It seems very straightforward, we all leave university with a vivid idea of what lies ahead, until we land on a path that’s filled with the most irritating obstacles. The trick is to take control of the situation; my advice to the Class of 2012 as we near the end of the year is to take on every challenge. No one who ever had a happy ending got it without earning it, so keep working hard- even if it involves using tooth picks to keep your eyes open from lack of sleep.

I'd much rather take on the Witch in the story, than take on the curious and suspicious gaze of a prospective employer. Leave the monsters to the fairy tales, nothing strikes fear in the heart of a graduate like a job interview... or the alternative, the journey through Narnia which leads us around in circles. We'll find our way out one day, as C.S.Lewis said in his children’s tale, “All shall be done, but it may be harder than you think.”

Originally posted by myself at Grads.co.uk