The Graduate: Drifting or drowning?

Graduation is fast approaching, but then what?

Laura Kasongo
20th February 2024
Image Source: Unsplash_Rut MIIT
Regardless of what you study, the most universal experience for final years was possibly visiting home this past winter break. As well as being welcomed by loved ones and/or pets, we were welcomed by the dreaded old question – ‘So, what are your plans after Uni then?’.

I guess if you have more of a concrete professional path, medicine/law etc., that question glides past easily at the dinner table, along with the salt and pepper. Yet, even if you continue the academic route (much respect to you, brave soldiers) we all reach that inevitable, limbo state known as graduation.

When I first watched The Graduate (1967), I found the pool scene quite amusing. Laying on a Lilo, Ben is confronted by his father asking what he is doing and he answers, ‘I would say that I’m just drifting’. Right now, with deadlines and dissertations, the idea of ‘just drifting’ in the summer sun sounds euphoric; comfortable, as Ben puts it. But life is more like open water than a pool and drifting can be dangerous territory.

Your twenties are all about learning, and holding on to youthful ambition is what will get you far

For those who want to head straight into the workplace, graduate schemes are a great transitional option, particularly if you’re an aspiring journalist or business entrepreneur. Internships not your forte? A way to ‘drift’ beneficially could be to go travelling for a year, living and working abroad to expand your cultural knowledge. Or, perhaps, your battle is similar to mine, contemplating whether to move back home or to stay in Newcastle. I’ve truly grown to love this city and exploring its Arts scene has been so stimulating for my own creativity. As a writer, having a plan which keeps me anchored is difficult, since I don’t want to stray too far from poetry in order to make money – I think my best bet is working in the publishing industry. What I do know, with at least some certainty, is that even outside of the classroom your twenties are all about learning, and holding on to youthful ambition is what will get you far. Most of all, take pride in simply being able to wear that cap and gown (even if it is just the gown for us Geordies).

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AUTHOR: Laura Kasongo
Arts Sub-editor, Poet and Photographer.

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