The Graduate Weather Forecast

Illustration by Holly Macdonald

“This is your Graduate forecast for the UK! Please be prepared for arm pointing, a dodgy auto queue and completely wrong predictions.” Holly holds stick, points to green screen and hopes she hits the UK…

“Across the UK we are seeing high pressure as University students load up lorry vans from across the country and make the move South.” Holly points wildly to all parts of the country shouting, “Scotland HOT, Manchester HOT, South East HOT, EVERYWHERE’S HOT!”

Looping her arm at what she thinks is London but is really the middle of the North Sea, she declares, “This high pressure seems to be circulating around the London area, particular hot spots seem to be Shoreditch, Hoxton and Haggerston!” Holly believes this rise in temperature is due to increase use of power tools, flat screen TV’s and extension leads. “There may be patches of light sweat later into this evening as the private view draws nearer and work is still being hung. This high pressure is set to remain as Graduates begin the take down and ultimately wonder what to do with rest of their lives…”

As you may have gathered this month was the Brighton Illustration and Graphics Graduate London Graduate Show, Studio 350. Whilst prepping it was recorded as the hottest day of the hottest week in July and it’s not only the temperature that’s rising. I felt the pressure that week, degree results where flying through the letter boxes (I got a first class stamp, wink wink), friends and fellow students are starting to get jobs and I’m wondering how I’m going to transport and build my work in London. I suppose what I wasn’t prepared for was that I’d be more stressed and anxious post university than when I was meeting my final deadlines for my degree. (Read Graduation is like a slowly deflating balloon)

I’m a little overcast with disappointment, I suppose everyone goes through this underwhelming feeling. The expectations that there’d be agencies fighting to represent you and people bidding to buy your work have not been met. Although unemployment is up I don’t seem to be feeling the benefits, probably because the graduates job market has fallen behind ‘the recovery’ that other people, but certainly not me are seeing. The market for graduates is on the increase but as The Guardian article “Unemployment has dropped but the grad job market has not fully recovered” explains, it will take decades for it to return to what would be considered normal post-recession employment rate.

Then of course there’s the announcement of the George Osbourne’s budget for the next five years, which should be renamed The Red Briefcase of Doom and Gloom. This article could have been prewritten before the Chancellor announced his policies, it was very predictable they’ll be lots of cuts. Students will be targeted but don’t worry the minimum wage is going to increase to £9 per hour by 2019, meanwhile the cost of living will still increase so it’s not going to make much difference. I suppose this means some of us will be walking round with a rain cloud of disappointment bobbing above are heads for the near future.

However, what we really need is a bit of thunder and lightning to shock us into action. i.e DON’T SIT AROUND WAITING FOR A JOB! I’m certainly not, it’s time to adapt and we’ve all got to find the motivation to do it. Send emails out every day, badger those agencies but most importantly don’t expect to be handed a job. Go and make your own way, start your own business and if none of that works… blame the government. If money is your main issue then fundraise, make the project you always wanted to make happen. Go read Kollektiv Gallery’s A-Z manual on fundraising and Kickstarters to take those first few steps.

My point is, you’ve never been more free to pick and choose what you want to do than after you’ve graduated. Maybe having no options is more liberating than having one option and being forced to reluctantly take it.

The suns shining, let’s all have some fun!

Holly Macdonald is a political agony aunt for Kollektiv Gallery.

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