Corporate culture is draining the fun out of university

Have fun with your sick career in data mining


University is watching the brightest of your generation exchange their lives and their souls for money.

And it’s not money from the Civil Service. Or money from conservation groups or animal rights campaigners or civil liberties forums.

It’s money from people like this:

"Mediocrity"

“Mediocrity”

And this:

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Support that lifecycle yo

Or these lads:

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Polymer whats?

Who could honestly say no to these guys:

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But what are they filing?

“I’ll never be as young as I am tonight.” That’s what should be going through your head at university. You will never have as much time to get away with it, all messed up. You will never have so much time on your hands and so little to do with it.

The rise of the pre-professional – the banking ambassador on your corridor who wears his Goldman fun run t-shirt every day, the girl who gives out pens for PwC outside the library – is one part of our generation’s war on fun. They’d rather spend an evening renewing their car insurance than getting spangled and chatting shit in a smoking area.

It’s not just the fact they actually enjoy assesment centres and are thrilled to be part of group interviews. It’s not just the way their LinkedIn’s are crammed with internships all the way back to 2009, internships they first started doing when they were 13.

No, the sad truth is that this is what they want. Their parents haven’t forced them into this – they’ve forced them into this. This new conservatism isn’t a simple attitude which can be explained away simply by calling them out for being boring cunts. It’s not just about money either.

Being a brilliant novelist or an era-defining poet; a crusading human rights lawyer or a politician who isn’t a scumbag – it simply doesn’t carry the weight it did in the past. University used to be a place where you could believe in being those things, if only for a few short, stupid, precious years.

Neither of them wants to be the next Klimt

Neither of them wants to be the next Klimt

Nobody thinks they’re the “voice of a generation” anymore. We all laugh at anyone who puts the word “aspiring” in their Twitter bios. The old adage “be the change you want to see in the world” is as hopelessly out of shape as Vegas Elvis tackling a half-marathon.

The number of graduates taking jobs in finance and management consultancy ranges from 5 per cent at Edinburgh to 13 per cent at Oxford, 16 per cent at Cambridge, 28 per cent at the London School of Economics and 60 per cent at the London Business School.

A friend of mine joined them. Since the summer he’s worked in Canary Wharf for one of the biggest banks in the world. It’s a job people who apply for the Junior Apprentice would set their grandmothers on fire for. When I met him a few weeks ago he looked traumatised. He’d been working 13 hour days for the best part of three months. There’d been no partying, no coke, not even a hooker in sight. Just work – interminable, punishing, cruel, trivial work – which he said anybody could do.

When you see KPMG reps on campus handing out free jumpers or JP Morgan goons try to sponsor your debating society remember what they want to turn you into, the kind of person who looks at this and feels inspired:

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