This is traditionally the time of year when student teenagers return to the nest like migrating summer birds, lugging laundry, debts and ever more unsuitable girl and boyfriends with them, but looking around my friends with older children I think that traditional student life is becoming as endangered as the white rhino. What used to be little more of a pit stop between the end of term and the start of their summer adventure is turning into a summer at home en famille.
Fewer and fewer students are able to afford the fabulous summer or gap year trips which Alex Garland brought so beautifully to life in The Beach, instead they are having to hunker down in their old bedrooms for most of the summer or, horror, join the rest of the family on holiday!
And there is no escape once they have graduated as proper jobs give way to “internships” aka slave labour for those who can afford to live without wages.
Yesterday I overheard a lovely, rather Sloaney girl, sitting on the bus with her mother angling for a bigger allowance as she explained just how long she would have to spend chasing internships before she got a sniff of a proper job. Her mother’s face was a picture of despair, sympathy, and “ohmigod how are we going to afford this?’.
Today’s Telegraph underlines the crises with a report that 45 graduates are chasing every graduate vacancy. I thought it was tough getting a job on a local paper when I left college but I don’t think the ratio’s were anything like as high as they are today to get any kind of job. And certainly once we had finished our journalism training,as long as we weren’t picky (I wasn’t!) we were almost guaranteed a job eventually.
Today I know of recent graduates hopping from one newspaper or magazine to another for years without any expectation of money other than expenses. It’s great experience but it is unfair, especially on those who can’t afford the luxury of working for free, to expect people to live on bylines while they chase their dream.
Let me know whether your student children have returned home for good and how you feel about it – as warm as a Wall’s sausage ad or as grumpy as Victor Meldrew?
Deal of the Day:
Easyjet are offering a hundred holidays for £100 per person! Can it be true? Let me know how you get on.
Scary Statistic of the Day:
According to research from moneysupermarket.com students are being overcharged by an average of £500 each on their student loans