There is an awkward preconception in life, possibly descended from endless articles about how hard it is for a graduate of any discipline to obtain a job, that when you reach your third year of University, you’re hitting a Masters or a dead end. What’s more, you may not leave with the experience you need to go into your field – experience being equally important to a degree. And what if you’ve not held down a part time job?
What if you didn’t do any charity work because there wasn’t enough time to fit it in between your History coursework for Dr. Tyrant and trying to fill in the last part of well roundedness with an over expensive place on a sports team to show that you’re a cooperative person to your future employer?
Undergraduates today, and to a certain extent postgraduates too, are staring at the grim artifice that they may have made an expensive mistake. They took a risk applying to university and without all this periphery it might not have paid off. The problem, is the periphery – a place on a course is all well and good but how do I manage all of this other stuff too?
Take a damn chance.
Once bitten, twice shy, afraid of this first expensive error, too many undergrads here at Goldsmiths seem to be afraid of the leap that has earned this institution a global reputation; counting themselves out early and reverting to the secondary high school mentality of fitting into a clique, drinking oneself into semi oblivion and reminiscing on your gap-yah hoping for some sort of wild southern pansy version of Trainspotting to come out it and to leave university with a 2:1, japeries put behind you.
What if I put something to the Leopard and it gets bounced?
So what, is what. They’ll tell you what you need to fix and you’ll be all the better for it.
What if I volunteer for PAL mentoring and I’m not very good at it?
They don’t just give you a badge and set you on your way, they teach you what to do.
What if, to be accepted onto writing internships, I need writing experience?
Send something to Smiths.
This is not a 800 word pitch for articles. This is a message to all Goldsmiths students to start chancing your arm – you make your own luck and more than a few of you who are too soon to count yourselves out will land on your feet and feel all the better for it.
I had the writers’ dilemma – it’s certainly occurred to me as a future career path but the administration of certain things last year was abysmal. So I had an idea on the tube returning from work (a shop job I got on Regents St. with no prior retail experience, just by being happy); I’d make my own. Online – surely other people were having this problem? I did, and others were, and we were duly rewarded by the Annual Fund for our efforts – a paper magazine named The Slip, trophy of our discontent, will be appearing soon.
Soon after that the elections rolled around. I wondered about throwing my hat into the ring to be editor, thinking that it would be a crowded field. I looked at it that way, I thought of a plan, I rustled up my friend and I went to hustings with the flu. It wasn’t a crowded field, but I like to think we were elected because they thought we’d do a good job, rather then suffer the ignominy of losing to re opening nominations. But we won. I could say to myself that I was the co-chief editor of a magazine to represent 7000 people. Not bad, for being twenty.
The biggest chance I ever took however, was the only one that had the real chance of going seriously, life-alteringly wrong – I applied for an internship in a foreign embassy in New Zealand. I had been to NZ before, and that’s where I had met the community and made some friends, who brought it to my attention. The worst that could happen was that I’d get bounced, which is a perfectly legitimate and likely outcome.
I didn’t. I took two twelve hour flights (or so) to go and work in an embassy whose language I didn’t speak and had no experience of how embassies even worked, using money I had semi-saved from that previously mentioned job. And it was awesome, even though it was winter in Wellington. I worked for five weeks and built a solid linguistic foundation for hopefully a third language to speak.
When you think about taking an important chance and you ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen remember this – fortune favours the bold.
PS. Unthink experiment is going semi alright. Lots of bugs though.