Today is the day all your hard work pays off! Over are the nights of energy-drink-fuelled assignment submissions! Your mum has already cried twice and staged 3 photoshoots in Albert Park. (And not that anybody can tell under that hideous black robe but) your outfit: gradu-ATE! So…now what?
If you’re looking to add a little colour to your life, go for a walk through campus in September. The spring flowers are out in their full glory and regalia—and so are the graduates! Pink for arts, blue for law, green for envy that they’re free, you’re still stuck in this hellhole, etc. But how is our graduating class feeling? UoA students give Craccum the DL on the anticlimax of major life moments, crippling job uncertainty and the importance of comfortable footwear.
(ala Bo Burnham) UoA grads, how we feeling out there tonight? (Not good!)
Rachael (23, BA/LLB)
‘It’s a little anticlimactic. 5 years and a bunch of student debt—just to cross a stage for 18 seconds. There’s a lot of standing around and my feet are killing me!’
It might be better than the COVID years, when all graduates had in lieu of a ceremony was closing their laptops and looking out for a piece of paper in the mail. But the real thing (much like the degree) can feel like a blur of names and waiting for it to be over. So fuck it! Make the most of your 18 seconds in the spotlight! The ceremony is recorded so why not spice up that instagram grad post with some real content? Practise your strut in the mirror, choreograph a comedic bit, go nuts and be memorable! Before he was instructed to pull the car around (on account of Rachael’s killer heels, she looked phenomenal though) her boyfriend remembers:
‘There was this guy who stopped to take a selfie with the dude who was capping him! And a Tongan family who sang when their kid crossed the stage—it was really nice!”
Just went to the sickest gig at Spark Arena!
Jeremy (22, BA(hons))
‘Terrible venue choice! I’ve been to Tyler the Creator in Spark Arena but grad’s the gig that gave me heat stroke…But after I got home and chugged like 2 glasses of water, I think I realised—I’d finished this thing I’d been working towards for years. And that was pretty cool.’
But after recovering from the blowout celebration with friends and family; once the hangover has worn off (as well as the sense of accomplishment), many grads are coming face to face with the punishing job market in Auckland.
Cody (21, BComm)
‘If I get one more notification on SEEK saying oh you have an impressive resume but your application was unsuccessful…Bitch if my resume is so impressive, then hire me! All the firms want people with experience but I can’t get experience till one of the fuckers hire me, can I? In conclusion: fucking hire me!’
And even after the inane job application process; the hours spent writing unconvincing cover letters about how your life’s passion is corporate law, wanking off recruiters with buzzwords you found on their company website and insisting you’d ‘be delighted!’ to work on minimum wage (for a firm that can definitely afford to pay you more), what lies on the other side of employment? In Monique’s words (23, BE(hons):
‘Why do we work so hard just to work?’
‘It’s just the whole going to school to get to uni, then going to uni till you graduate, just to get a job and work for the rest of your life.’
Prithi (22, BA/BComm)
‘The first week was fun. You put on your little corporate fits and feel all grown up! The second week, I was like god I’m going to die here. The pay for grads is shit and the lady in the cubicle next to me is like a billion years old. She keeps shitting on Meghan Markle and showing me pictures of her grandkids. Lady, I don’t care that little Stevie just started second grade! And I’m not even a royalist—I’m just saying—pretty sus that you don’t seem to mind any of the white members of the royal family…
In our uni years we exist in a relatively safe, progressive bubble. It’s a period of time where we study, socialise and live amongst a bunch of young, diverse and educated people. In the workforce, things are different. When dealing with dinosaurs at work, we advise the following:
A lesson in workplace chats:
-keep things light and surface level (how about all this damn rain we’re having aye?)
-see it as an exercise in patience; you can’t like everybody but you can practise the ability to smile, nod and be civil (and bitch about them to your flatmates when you get home)
-look super busy any time the conversation veers towards offspring (or steel yourself for the oncoming slideshow: pictures included)
Frances (23, BProp/BSc) reminds us to utilise the blessing of lecture recordings and enjoy the flexibility of having control of your own schedule:
‘I didn’t realise how much I took it for granted—just randomly going to the mall or the beach on weekdays. I could avoid all the peak hours. Now I have to deal with people and wait in lines on the weekend like an actual peasant.’
Dream job? We do not dream of labour
It’s okay if the job you have right now isn’t your dream job, or even if you straight up don’t like it. It’s okay to see it as a means to an end; a way to feed yourself, travel and go on fun outings with friends. Life is long and you have time to achieve all the things you want to. As Nick (22, BComm/ BE) says:
‘The great thing about working is that you don’t have to bring it home. After you clock out, there’s no assignments or study to do. Those hours are just for you.’
Use those hours to do things that fill you up! Go to night markets and cute dinners and do all the little hobbies you neglected because you had an assignment deadline looming! (From 5-9 pm) the world is yours!
There is a light that never goes out…
Rosa (23, BA/LLB)
‘My whole family flew up for my graduation. I could feel how proud they were of me and it made me feel really special! We made a big deal of it; I hung up the dress I was going to wear in the morning, we took a billion pictures and ate and drank at really nice places. It was such a good day!’
To our graduates: congratulations! May we all be you someday! Against all adversity (teaching yourself your degree during COVID) and hardship (atrocities of the job market), you still made it. What lies on the other side is no match for you!