Now I know that Purgatory in it's traditional sense pertains to the Catholic religion, but I thought it's underlying meaning of being an intermediary state, an 'inbetween state' if you will, from where you were and where you want to be, resonated most with life post university.
Though it is clear that not everyone feels like this, and if you don't then you are one of the lucky few; however, from having cross-referenced some of my friends and other people I have met along the way, post university life is daunting. I first thought about this whilst watching Jim Chapman's YouTube video, where he drew his life, explaining a similar feeling when he left university. Suddenly you are taken from the regimented, progressive academic life you had gotten used to, into the 'real' world of jobs, and even more daunting- 'careers'. I think the predominant sense of dread comes not from leaving your friends (the good ones will stay in touch), or from getting to go to Reflex every other night (hangovers start to get tiresome-eventually), but from not knowing what it is that you WANT to do. Want here being the operative word. Getting onto Graduate Schemes is first and foremost, very competitive, and secondly, very time consuming- so to undertake them in itself is a big commitment. These sorts of commitments, whilst you are slaving away in the library for your dissertation so much that you start to resemble an extra in 28 Days Later, are ones that take a lot of forethought and dedication. It is because of this that many students opt out of this sort of commitment, the downside being that you are left wondering what is that you really want to do when you leave the concrete jungle of your University Campus.
The danger after you leave university is to jump unwavering feet first into any job, because your parents would have told you time and again, the job market is tough. Whilst this is true, many mistakes can be made from this attitude- and you can end up in a job that wasn't meant for you, inevitably facing the more frightening decision to leave that job and start in pastures new. Though I can empathize with echoing thoughts of 'any job is good at this stage'-we all need pocket money to fund the next Gin and Tonic (OK, so we haven't taken a complete hiatus from alcohol)- I think that people have started to forget the importance of passion and love for what you do. Some people find this earlier on, so never get to face this stage of purgatory, and some people will go into a job that has a career, perhaps isn't what they want to do, but it's OK for them, and others- like myself- are left pondering what direction to go in.
The message here, perhaps contradicting the initial tone of this Blogpost, is not bleak. On the contrary, it is one filled with optimism. Though it may be a long road ahead, what recent graduates have the opportunity to do is find their passion, and it is from this you will derive your direction in life. A career is not a job, it is a lifetime dedicated to a profession, and what worth is that if not something you are invested in spending your life doing- and something you will be content with. Though some passions may seem more 'unrealistic' than others, if it is something you are truly passionate about you will succeed. I'm sure many of you are familiar with Steve Jobs, who said that the 'only way to do great work is to love what you do', and from this the fruits of your labour will start to appear. Find what it is that you are passionate about, what you love to do, and once you have found this you are well on your way.