Students on Standby
Graduating has always been a stressful concept. Whether you are happy to see your university on fire in the review mirror or you’re content in clinging to fond memories of badly heated lecture halls. Either way, it is a time of replacing old worries with new ones. Employment is usually the primary anxiety-causing aspect of this transition. Every year there are reasons to fear this graduation moment, after all, employment is a sensitive thing. Now, the pandemic is making everything rather difficult. The decision to move away after college and start the next chapter of our lives is deeply affected by a new conundrum, the whole working from home thing and the frustrating uncertainty about when this will no longer be part of the job description. We have been in this pandemic for over a year and we have all experienced missed opportunities, however, the altered working environments have directly affected student’s decisions to move after graduation, especially if the move would mean leaving an area of cheaper (ish) rent for … not so cheap rent. The notion of moving for work has sort of been removed as a post-graduation necessity, so students are left with a new question. Where do I want to work from home?
This is similar to the pre-pandemic desire to work from anywhere, anywhere now means any part of your sitting room because let's be honest freshly graduated students aren’t exactly in the home office stage of their lives. And getting to that stage now seems like an impossibility because we are being held hostage in the space between student and working professional. During this transition, we are meant to shed ourselves of certain aspects of student life. Like midweek drinking and shit apartments, but alas I am weighing the pros and cons of, come August, remaining in my desperately obvious student house with my painfully obvious student hating neighbour because considering all the uncertainty isn’t the devil you know better than the one disguised as a 700 per month room nowhere near a Luas?
The excitement of entering the working world armed with our marginally useful degrees and uncomfortable work attire may not be a thing of the past but the hope does reside in an uncertain future. The usual feeling of post-graduation fear is compounded by the fact that even though working from home is still the expected norm, job descriptions make it clear that the successful applicant will be able to come into the office if regulation at that time allows it. As if on day 56 of my new job I will receive an alert: ALL ASSISTANTS TO OFFICE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY. This seems unlikely in the grand schemes of things but if I want to be a successful applicant I will have to be within a reasonable distance from my cubical and that’s that.
This would be all well and good if we knew for certain that at some point we would be allowed to don our pantsuits and join the working population or if I could guarantee that I will have a job in three months. Considering that I can’t control any of these things I will remain where I am, in happy denial clinging to the identity of a student and keeping the idea of Dublin away until I find a job or a place to live. I suppose that leaves me with another question. What comes first in a pandemic economy, job or apartment?