In May 2015, I finished my Journalism BA/Hons degree with a solid 2:1, and shuffled bleary-eyed from the bubble of student life, expecting a dream job in the media to not-literally-but-pretty-much-as-good-as fall into my lap.
When I went to university, I had figured that I was ahead of the game after getting a head start early on working for The Voice newspaper and a couple of online publications during sixth form. Highly marked coursework projects, an encouraging work experience stint at the Independent, and praise from the Daily Mirror (who referred to me as a ‘journalist of tomorrow’ when I made the final three of their somewhat hyperbolically named ‘Voice of a Generation’ competition) even let me begin to think I was some kind of prodigy.
After moving back home to London, a fruitless sixth month job search reminded me that out here in the real world, getting through your degree is often just the first hurdle, and after half a year self-indulgently wallowing in post-graduate depression, I sucked it up and got a job in a pub.
It’s decent – as far as working minimum wage because you can’t keep doing nothing goes, I can’t complain – but so far, post graduate life is exactly the wasteland I was afraid it would be. If you’re currently at university, my advice is: never leave.
I’m fully aware that it’s my own responsibility to nurture that wasteland – you know, plant seeds and watch them grow, yada yada – but it feels like one of those things that’s easier said than done. Currently, I’m still just kind of bumbling around trying to get my bearings.
So here I am, closing in on a year out of university, a year in which I’ve mostly walked my dog, shuffled around the house barely dressed or washed grumbling that I don’t have enough money to go anywhere, and struggled to master the art of pouring Guinness.
The Wasteland is my attempt to put writing back into that mix.