Sunday, 20 November 2011

Graduate Myth #7: Everyone Else Is Better Than You

When a group of graduates get together, you'll find they often start to play a form of one-man-downship. One may be pleased about their new job, and another will express admiration for their progressing career. The first will respond with a variant on “but you have a better job/house/children/dog” and thus does the spiral continue.

The thing is, all graduates are basically failures now, right? Our degrees aren't worth the paper they're written on, we are all spongers off the state and we fail at being adults. As such, when someone makes any kind of progress it merely serves as a reminder that we are all such miserable failures as human beings that we should just lie down and die and stop taking valuable resources away from people that need them.

You will be pleased to hear that this is a myth, and one of the more common ones at that.

I am consistently amazed at how much better than me the vast majority of people seem to be. Wanda and Terry have just bought a house. Doris has just had a baby that she was actually trying for rather than an accident with contraception. Maurice is an area manager. These are not real names (I wish I did know people called that) but these are real examples of people exactly the same age as me. As I sit here in a t-shirt with the Cookie Monster on it and debate whether it is acceptable to eat toast for the second meal of the day, I casually glance at Facebook and despair at my existence compared to all of these amazing people I seem to know. Seriously, I am clearly a wreck masquerading as a human being.

But then, I do have a job. I am sitting in a flat that does not contain my parents. Admittedly I don't own said flat, but who does these days? Plus, I'm getting married in less than four months which freaks even me out, let alone the gasps that the information elicits from fellow graduates.

Going to university, for many people, is a deferral of being a Real Adult. Yes, you go and live by yourself and manage your money and study and love and all those good things, but no one expects you to make commitments. You are not required to buy a house, or have an amazing job, or push out babies, or get married. In fact, people will look at you funny if you do manage any of these things. Contemporaries who didn't go to university, however, tend to manage these things faster. As such, you come out of university, hit about 23, and then panic because everyone is BETTER than you and why haven't you ACHIEVED and OH GOD OH GOD and the cycle starts again.

As such, I'm going to let you in on a secret:

If you're reading this, and you're a graduate, then congratulations! You have achieved something massive in your life! You worked hard enough in school and college and whatever else to get the requisite qualifications to enter a respected institution,where you knuckled down for the requisite amount of time and managed to achieve a recognisable qualification. Dude, you rock!

So there.