We’ve predicted what you’ll actually be doing in five years’ time, according to your course
You’ll probably be too old to go to festivals
Everyone has a five year plan, some even have a 10 year plan. Where you end up is often far different from where you want to be, either on a yacht or in your mum’s attic.
PPE is a degree for people who’ve got it all planned out. So meticulously planned out that by 14 they are a Regional Representative on the Young Labour National Committee (elected at National Youth Conference). Time at university is well spent in suits, at various “meetings” or taking part in debates. They are the original social warriors: they “get” people, big society; they want to fix broken Britain. PPE, so they say, is a passport to the corridors of power. Naturally, they’re heading straight for Parliament, or a Libertarian think tank or at least fighting social injustice in some capacity.
It’s a shame, then, that a people who do PPE tend to wash up as an Account Exec at a Political PR firm, writing press releases for “No Crossrail” at the other side of London to Westminster (don’t worry you can still wear a suit). Or, ironically, at a tax-dodging corporate multinational or big four, pretending they were in it for the money all along. It marks the sad decline of PPE: once the University of Manchester started doing it, it became the equivalent of Sociology, and the dwindling job prospects show it.
Where they think they’ll be: America.
Where they will be: Slough.
You had no idea what to study at uni, mainly because you had no idea what you wanted to do. But looking on the bright side, the world was your oyster. You could be in advertising in New York, research in London, Media in Sydney. You’ll have money, you’ll be forever young, you’ll be carefree and prosperous. Newsflash, you’re one of the most debt riddled courses there is. You’ll float from internship to internship, making coffee for people who have no time for you – well for a year anyway. It’s not all that bad, you’ll probably have a mate in business who needs a creative mind for their startup. You’re the real brains behind this operation, he’s just got daddy’s wallet. Float your way through life Classics butterfly, float away.
Business and finance
Sitting in your ice cube of an office, nestled in the heart of Shoreditch, London, you wonder what all the fuss was about when people chimed on about uni debt. You? Well you did the smart thing. Why let someone else make all the money off you, when you can make it yourself – oh, and change the world and the way people think at the same time obviously. Burning man with your mates last minutes? Of course. Put your parents on a private jet to Honolulu for their anniversary? Why not. Every week is yacht week. Business might have been laughed at during sixth form, but look at you now.
“Objection, your honour.”
“Goddamit judge! How can you expect me to defend my client if this very courtroom is intent on seeing him convicted? Hold yourself to the same standards the man I knew 20 years ago did.”
Dave snapped awake as his head lulled forward, having drifted off after his 37th consecutive hour of paralegalling.
Philosophy hope to still be travelling the world, finding themselves over and over again in Burma, actually they’re working in a bookshop in their hometown and living with their parents and can’t afford to do the drugs they want to do.
“LET ME SEE YOU PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR GLASTONBURY!!!”
“Now Timmy, if you put your fingers over the first and third holes of the recorder. Yes, like that. Now blow. See, the sound’s diff – AMY! That is NOT what the recorder is for!”
A boring degree for a boring person. You’ll do exactly as planned: management consultancy. Most of your wage will go on Pret, and most of your suits will be from Marks & Spencer, not Savile Row.
Technology is the future, so you’re definitely onto a winner. Years from now the kids who bullied you at school are going to be sorry they still think Python is just a kind of snake, as you develop the next Facebook in your spare time and accumulate wealth and riches beyond your wildest dreams.
Mum rang. She wants to know if downloading seven different anti-virus software programmes was a good idea and whether you can pop round and make her internet go faster.
After getting a reply from Greenpeace about your dissertation, you’re convinced you’re going to be running that place someday. People tell you you’re subjects nothing more than colouring in, but you’ll show them.
You live in Clapham and work in recruitment.
You think you’ll be building the machines of the future, using your years of experience to craft a wonderful vision of glass and iron which will have the masses fall at your feet like the prodigal son of Steve Jobs and Jesus. In reality, though, you’ll end up working at a boring and faceless firm where you spend half time talking to idiots on the phone and the other half deciding where to put air ducts. Hey, at least you’ll earn a shitload.
You can see it all now: you’re strolling round the streets of Berlin in your t-shirt and sunglasses, ordering people around while they build your twenty-story state-of-the-art building that will dominate the cities skyline. You prefer not to call it a building, because it is a work of art. When you’re not being interviewed and travelling across the world, you’ll be out in Berghain (they all know you in there) with your friends and fans. Your time at uni has made you realise you’d be working your arse off, but it’s more fun than being a doctor.
In reality, you’ll probably still be at uni. Overworked, sleep-deprived and really skint. You stopped going out as much a few years ago, you tell yourself it’ll be different once you’ve qualified.
Dreams of wandering in fields, reading P.G. Wodehouse and Yeats. Working for Penguin (the only publisher they’ve heard of) getting genuinely excited about new fiction every day, or being a prestigious theatre critic for The Sunday Times.
English is one of those transferrable degrees which means you’ll end up doing anything but your subject when you graduate. You’re destined for a career as an estate agent, marketing or if you’re really lucky in PR. About halfway through their degree, something fizzles out in the English students brain. They lose that desire to read books any more. In five years time they will read just two books a year and regret that drunken gap year Shakespeare tattoo on their thigh.
“Sorry Daisy. My husband Jermaine will be home from work in the city any minute now – and I’ve got to take Juanita to the station after she’s finished waxing the marble hallway. Bless her she does such a good job. Ok, we’ll go for lunch and shopping on Thursday yeah? I’ve spotted a to die for dress in Gucci I think you’ll love. Ok bye hun mwah.”
Oh how you dream. The life of a wag of a banker. He’d be on 50k fresh out of uni, and you gave up your job before you even applied for it. You’d work for a bit, marketing here, designing there. Your dream was to be an interior designer, or something in fashion, but you’re not sure. Air head? Please, you got a first in Psychology. And now, you’re a teacher. In Kettering.
They’ll be saving the world, one patient at a time. Hopping in their Audi R8 on the way home from their own practice to their gorgeous yoga loving partner and two kids in suburbia, private school obviously. One boy, one girl, sensible names, Hugh and Annabelle. She rides horses, he plays rugby.
Then you wake up, and realise you’ve got a day of wiping old Doris’s arse because you’re still on placement and haven’t finished uni yet. You get constant Snapchats from your mates in PR and marketing in London, talking about their ridiculous Thursday night doing coke with their bosses, which you only get to check at the end of a long slog in a Doncaster hospital. That salary isn’t worth the seven year degree. Oh, and fuck Jeremy Hunt.
A shrill cry rises above the sound of the crashing waves. “It’s the shark,” it screams: “She’s not gonna make it!” Down the beach you run, tearing off your T-shirt to use as a bandage to tend to the wounded creature. Others would shirk her, but not you – we are all God’s creatures, and you were sent to this earth to help. As you nurse the Great White back to health, the two of you share a moment: as you carry it back to the ocean, it lets out a roar which almost sounds like “thankyou”.
A shrill cry rises above the sound of middle-aged women chatting in the waiting room. “It’s my cat,” it screams: “It swallowed a bouncy ball!” Into the operating theatre you run, donning your marigolds to tend to the mildly wounded creature. Others would shirk her, but not you – we are all God’s creatures, and you were sent to this earth to help. As your feline friend proceeds to vomit the contents of its stomach on the operating table, the two of you share a moment: as you pull its claws from your forearm, it lets out a hiss which almost sounds like “thank you”.
You dream of travelling the world for a few years, with dreads in your hair and tatty anklets around your bare feet. You’re too busy being tanned, political, cultured and carefree for things like footwear. Once you’ve got the travelling out of your system, you don’t really care what you do after that – as long as it’s creative. A curator would be the dream, or maybe an art dealer. You’ll go to dinner parties and laugh over a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape about how much of a joke Damien Hirst is, and how Dali’s work isn’t even that clever anyway. You’ll never settle for a 9-5 desk job, you tell yourself. You think you’re set for something that pushes boundaries, something avant-garde, something ..ephemeral.
The travelling bit is probably true, but that’s about it. Once the tan has faded, you’ll be living in Brixton getting the Victoria Line to your PR or Advertising job every morning. You’ll try some work experience at some galleries, maybe even have a go at setting up your own exhibition, but you’ll realise curating is such a bitch to get into that it’s not worth it and you want the security. You’ll still go to the occasional exhibition and drunkenly scoff over how tragic Damien Hirst is at dinner parties, but art will become a hobby rather than a lifestyle. You’ll stop caring so much about what’s mainstream and what’s not, and you’ll probably be quite successful.