Between a rock and a mountain of debt

By MK McGrath

Art yet unknown

Throughout university, a first has dangled above us all like an omniscient promise that your 17 years of Education will, at last, reap its rewards. A first, for those without a trust fund, seemed like the golden ticket handed to Charlie just prior to his inheritance earned through his meekness in a series of bizarre trials. Or so I thought...

I have just graduated and, as you may be able to tell from my embittered tone, I did get a first. University was tough, every year I would have to miraculously find £1000 to move into a new dump where I would freeze during winter, sweat during the summer and ultimately use as an inexplicable middle-world between the library and my job. On top of this, my pitiable minimum loan decided on my father's income (one which would have to last six children, two of which were partially disabled), would have to stretch through TFL's ever increasing travel fees and Lidl's life-saving cheap bags of rice. But I always thought it was worth it: I loved education. I even wanted to become a lecturer myself. The reality, however, has since put me off the idea, a question I would often ask those who were kind enough to share their career paths is, 'But did you have to keep up a bar job alongside?' and the answer I often received was, 'Um...Well, no. I was fortunate enough to have my parents support me'.

I always watched their faces grow a little embarrassed as if before I had even expressed it, my question had revealed my fate would not be the same. So, it's been 8 months since I graduated and where do I find myself now?

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"Work hard, receive nothing unless your daddy or mumma can help"

Entirely jobless, verging on homelessness and with a persistent court summons from Southwark Council demanding I pay a bill that I've repeatedly reminded them is not mine to pay. It leaves you in a bit of a funny place. I'm very fortunate to have a wonderful girlfriend and friends that keep me from the ever-luring possibility of slipping into a hopeless depression but I have no doubt that if things don't change it will, of course, come for me too.

Perhaps you dislike my tone, I guess I come across a bit entitled, and really, I wish my bank account matched my phrasing for otherwise I wouldn't be this moaning, petulant graduate at all.

Yes, it isn't a great situation. But it is one that thousands if not most graduates are going through, the court summons perhaps aside. There is something about being terrified after the fairyland promises of Capitalist slogans fall apart; "work hard, receive nothing unless your daddy or mumma can help" isn't as catchy. Your fear is persistently in the pit of your stomach, how will I pay rent, how will I buy food, how can I go to an interview if I can't afford the travel? The right clothes? And dear god, what about council tax? It churns like you've had a bender based on doing shots of pure acid and Barry Scott's best. But hey, with grades like mine, what's there to whinge about?