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THE STUDENT CON GAME

The deftly tones of the grand organ drown the theatre in a tribunal concerto. The atmosphere is palpable. A sense of nobility fills your body and you are proud that this momentous occasion is a result of your hard work.

Graduates are seated in the centre of the action; bodies covered down to their feet in their signature Hogwarts gowns – colour coded in ranking of their degrees importance of course. Teamed with an inexcusably immoderate oxford hat, like a student ready to be initiated into Gryffindor, you get the sense that Mr Potter may appear at any moment.

Yet the only magic taking place here is deception, the magical illusion of ceremony and reward, that will make the worries of a £50,000 debt and a high risk of unemployment, miraculously disappear.

Throughout your time in high school and college you’ve been fed the same line, “The more educated you are, the more successful you will be”.

This same line has now become a deep embedded ideology institutions have been repeating for decades, which has dramatically changed the peoples general behaviour towards education. Now, education has been deemed the only way to create access, opportunity and career success.

The reason why?

Well, it’s our societies obsession with meritocracy and its adept association with education and class. To be educated can only be proven by merit i.e GCSE’s, degrees, PhD’s, NVQ’s………..and the list goes on. You are taught that by obtaining such merit, doors into higher paying careers and specialist industries will open.

A UK Bachelor’s degree:

Average Cost: £50,000

Result: Certificate

Pro: Education

Con: No guarantees of employment in your chosen field of study or preparation for the working environment.

Introducing: THE STUDENT CON GAME.

After basking in the afterglow of your graduation; its the moment you discover your new reality of unemployment. You solidify your place in an overcrowded job market and realise there are more graduates than there is jobs.

But don’t expect this suprise to reveal itself until you receive your degree.

With a lack of opportunities in your specialism, you discover you’ve been conned. All of a sudden your degree isn’t enough. At this stage, you recognise the value of hands on experience is held to a higher standard, than your shiny certificate.

This is when you contemplate whether your £50k loan was worth the paperwork?

Not only are you competing with graduates, and the general public, but internal employees are applying for the same positions. They may not have the education, but good companies will invest in educating their current staff to degree level.

But don’t expect to be forewarned of these formalities whilst in university, because who knows…………..you might just end up leaving.

Just imagine the disappointment of the 50% of students who don’t even end up working in their field of study? (Independent UK, 2014)

Unless you have paid for your degree outright or have financial support, debt is a result of why you may probably fall into a different industry. As higher education comes with a cost that you now have an obligation to at least try to clear before you die.

How are students to know that despite their dedication to receiving this degree, they may end up choosing between their career and a job?

Years later, you yourself will go on to find truth in the latter. Fashion graduates in the insurance industry, biomedical graduates working in property management firms, law graduates working full time in restaurants, I mean the list goes on. University is nothing but a blurry memory to these individuals who discovered a passion in different industries.

At this point, university just seems like an expensive investment you make to justify that time in your twenties where you get to answer the question:

‘What the heck do I really want to do with my life?’

But my question is, is that answer worth £50,000?

London: The fight for a piece of the pie

We all know that in the capital, life is bigger, louder and schedules, are tighter. That being said, there is a majorly naive presumption that there is more opportunity.

There is no wonder that there are so many people flocking here to get a piece of that heavily carbed capitalist pie – that is London in its essence. The naive presumption comes in when you think there is so much opportunity, that you are as entitled to a piece of the pie as anyone else.

Why? Well because you have worked hard enough to be at the table. The education, the experience, the burning ambition to win!

You see the competition here starts way before you have the job, or even during the interview stage.

The moment you come across that first job description, know one thing, there is more than meets the eye and you have literally signed up to the hunger games!

What they don’t tell you Is that this city is full of over qualified dreamers and scarily competitive employees. Once they sniff out competition, the hunger games are on and you have to fight a good fight in order to sit at the table.

By working here, you will notice there is alot of smoke and mirrors, and dont think that behind the scenes there is someone cheering you on. If you are good, you have to be brilliant!

Picture a calm office on the surface. Very quiet, people sit silently and focused. Laser beamed on the task ahead.

Your lucky to hear a pin drop. It’s silent and you can almost taste the stress and anxiety. Behind every banging drum beat of people slamming their fingers into keyboard oblivian, is a floor trembling undercurrent of hatred, jealousy and greed. Nobody says a word. There’s no small talk, just focus and straight faces. Every conversation is calculated

An email too far, a “fuck off” under the breathe and mix of oversized egos are a normal part of office life here.

Everyone is gunning for that position, that title and that intoxicating piece of that pie that smells so good on this boiling melting pot of concrete.

I can see why, as everyone wants to be that somebody, the somebody that makes the decisions, gets picked up by their driver and avoids the overcrowded traffic of savage commuters and sits comfortably upon a pedestal of wealth.

I’ve yet to experience the uplifting northern atmosphere of office banter. I’ve actually been truly spoiled in Manchester, because during my past office experience there; the employees are real people, humans. Not relentless working machines with no soul. When your bored, get up and walk over to another desk, for nothing other than a chat. It is normal for the girls to be chinwagging about boyfriends and big brother in Manchester.

But here in London, where the crown is so heavy and the power is so close that it’s almost as if you have it, here, everyone has this imaginary piece of the pie.

Well, until they really don’t.