The Grad Index: Which of the seven types of grad will you become after uni?
Oh take me back to the sweet release of first year
“Life begins at 40,” the old adage goes. That, obviously, is a lie. Life begins at 21, when you graduate from uni and realise there isn’t actually much real-world application for a 2:2 in Classical History.
What you do in those first few years after leaving uni will undoubtedly shape you as an adult, be it as a successful one who hates their career or an unsuccessful one who, whittling surfboards on a beach in Koh Phi Phi, is at least somewhat happy.
We’ve cherry-picked seven of the most easily identifiable types of grad you’ll see knocking about in 2017. If you’re The Commuter, may God have mercy on your soul.
They might have studied English or History at Manchester or York or Durham; they might have done Media Studies or Photography at Falmouth or Ravensbourne or the London College of Art. Whichever it was, they’ve been a self-styled “creative” since they were using crayons. Thus, East London was the obvious next step.
Now they work in “media,” although you’re never quite sure what they actually do. Maybe it’s their app, which is “Kind of like Tinder, but for like, socialising?” Maybe it’s the alternative football zine they were starting to combat the “content farms” they loathe so much. Maybe it’s their podcast.
They spend most of their time moaning about gentrification and capitalism while drinking £5 pints of mass-produced IPA in almost-authentic Brick Lane gastro-bars. Where else can they go when they’re still waiting on a recommendation for a Shoreditch House membership?
Natural habitat: Hoxton, Hackney, Dalston, Peckham.
Diet: In the daytime they sustain themselves on the tech startup diet of Pot Noodles and flat whites, mainly so they can spend their evenings eating £10 lobster rolls at pretentious street food pop-ups.
Where will they be in five years? As much as they try and avoid it, they’ll sell their soul to PR for a £5k pay rise. What’s integrity when you can afford a flat with a living room?
The PR Girl studied Humanities at an aggressively upper-middle uni: think Warwick, or Exeter, or Birmingham or Bath or Brookes. She never had an actual plan to pursue Geography, or Philosophy, or Sociology with Spanish – uni was merely three years of getting pissed with a handy 2:1 at the end.
Now, like her identikit housemates, she’s living in South London with a financier boyfriend and an eye to buying her own flat in Balham with a little help from the bank of mum and dad. She works, of course, in PR. Or Recruitment. Or Marketing. Aren’t they all the same?
Whichever one it is, she loves it, and she loves London, and she loves her equally optimistic friendship group with whom she brunches at least once a week at this lovely place she found just off Clapham Common. I say, girls, it’s time for another Boomerang!
Natural habitat: Clapham, Brixton or Battersea during the week. Back at their country pile in Surrey on the weekends.
Diet: Prosecco and avocado.
Where will they be in five years? At a slightly different PR firm, earning a slightly different wage, living with a slightly different boyfriend in a slightly different part of London.
At uni, he was the king. Whether he was Captain of the Loughborough rugby team or Social Sec for the Leeds Gryphons or Nottingham’s BNOC of the Year three years running, it’s become painfully aware since graduating that you can’t be a big fish when all the other fish are bigger and the pond is fucking massive.
That pond, of course, is the City of London. Those fish? All the other business-minded flankers who watched The Wolf of Wall Street once and now think they’ve got the goods to dominate the stock market. Grown-up work is hard, but grown-up play is harder – and these boys play just like they’d have played at uni, had they had a £70k-a-year wage in their back pockets.
Extravagant steak dinners and magnums of champagne are a must; any air of class isn’t. After all, you’re never too old to be sick in a pint glass while your mates cheer you on.
Natural habitat: The City.
Diet: Pints, pints, pints.
Where will they be in five years? Working three floors higher for three times the money he’s on at the moment.
You worked hard. You work hard. You’re a painfully hard worker, and you’ve shown it consistently in the extra-curricular activities and the First Class BA (Hons) and the three or four weeks’ work experience you’ve undertaken every summer since you learnt to walk.
And you’ve never been one to expect anything, either. Nothing comes for free, but… come on. Six months after graduating, you’re a month deep into your second paid internship, after a couple of weeks without expenses here and there before that.
The people you’re working for got the jobs through their cousins and don’t have two brain cells to rub together, yet here you are posting their ASOS returns and pouring milk into their tea.
Still, it’ll all look so dope on your LinkedIn. Think of the exposure!
Natural habitat: A plethora of near-identical media offices around Soho.
Diet: Black coffee, expensed Pret lunches and cast-off office freebies.
Where will they be in five years? Celebrating the end of a paid fellowship with a shiny new role as PA to the Junior Editorial Assistant.
Like the jagged spires of Everest or the deep-cut ridges of the Grand Canyon, some things are eternal and unchanging, so firmly rooted in their ways that no amount of years can change them. This is the way of the Perpetual Student: friends, housemates and degree qualifications may come and go, but they’ve more or less become part of the campus furniture.
It’s a noble pursuit, sure, but it all stems from a fear as deeply-rooted as they are in their chosen institution. A fear of a life outside education; a fear of failure on the London stage. A fear of the monotonous, years-long drudgery of getting a real-life job, and thus being forced to make real-life decisions.
A position on the student exec? Guess I’ll run for it. A scholarship for a Masters? Guess I’ll apply for it. A PhD, you say? Why the heck not. It’s not like I’m going anywhere!
Natural habitat: The library, shady parks on campus, their professor’s dusty office. Anywhere the real world can’t seep in, basically.
Diet: Hasn’t changed since first year: spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne and £5 burger and chips meal deals at the pub in the SU.
Where will they be in five years? Probably still at uni, but with a few new letters tacked onto the end of their name.
During their time at uni, going home (as in, home-home) was a welcome respite; a time when one could relax and unwind and not have to worry about washing their own bedsheets or buying their own shower gel.
How quickly things can change, then – because within the first month of living at home while they find their feet in their new job, the whole thing has become a waking nightmare of 6am starts and 10pm dinners and I’M 22 NOW MUM YOU CAN’T TELL ME TO TIDY MY ROOM.
The problem, need it be said, is the commute. That three plus hours a day spent switching from car to train to tube to bus, spent cramped and sweaty and half-asleep at the cost of 40 minute delays and £4,500 a year for the luxury of a monthly railcard.
Still, at least you’re saving £50 a month. In a couple of years that Help to Buy ISA is going to be pretty formidable.
Natural habitat: Their childhood bedroom; the same pubs they’ve been going to since they turned 15; waking up bleary-eyed on terminated evening trains at Gatwick Airport.
Diet: Mum’s Sunday Roast, reheated daily in tupperwares for the rest of the working week.
Where will they be in five years? Living in a five-bed flatshare in Seven Sisters, dreaming of the days they had a double bed and a garden and someone who cooked their meals for them.
It’s not their fault. After all, three years isn’t enough to make the most of your youth. Once your brief time at Newcastle or Bristol or St Andrews is over, you’re just expected to grow up and stop having fun. Pffft, sounds boring.
Sure, the Delayed Gap Yah traveller tried their hand at an internship and a grad scheme application or two, but their call was of the wild – and with nothing but a sprinkle of wanderlust and a fistful of daddy’s hard-earned cash, they were off for the duration on their trip-of-a-lifetime. Until their sabbatical at 26, that is.
Anyway, it’s all inspiration for their screenplay. Haven’t you seen The Beach?
Natural habitat: Bali, Thailand, Australia, South America, Instagram.
Diet: The local cuisine. Have you tried it? The people here sell it for barely anything. They’re so friendly!
Where will they be in five years? Going back to uni to do another degree. I just feel like Architecture is my real calling, you know?