A mug of coffee sitting on top a planner.

April 21, 2021, by UoN School of English

Thinking about the future when time has lost all shape and predictability

English degrees don’t outline a select career path. We’ve all heard the jokes with that central gist, that the only thing to do with an English degree is to become a teacher (no shade implied; I have nothing but respect for the profession!). Of course, there are plenty of other jobs available to us too. Some of us have post-university employment plans – but perhaps, most of us don’t.

Considering careers is a daunting enough task for any young person barely sure of their footing in the world, but in the midst of a pandemic, the difficulty of future planning gains an entirely new dimension. Time has become shapeless and stagnant and yet every day it rushes by us, this bewildering and weighty thing that carries with itself expectations that feel impossible to meet, pressures to still be functioning like you were in the great Before to be prepared for the inevitable After.

And it is true. The world isn’t frozen forever; seeds planted today are what grow in the future… but there isn’t just one sowing season. Future-you deserves your best efforts now, and current-you deserves recognition that sometimes, your best effort is getting through the day.

Everything you ever achieve, in all of your life, is only possible because you made it through all days up to that point. Of course, you have to put in work to achieve goals. But even if all you achieve in a day is not dying, it’s not nothing – it’s integral to anything you ever manage again, every good grade, the dream job, the life you want.

Sometimes the furthest forward I can manage to plan is what’s for breakfast the next morning.

You need to do whatever you can right now for your employment prospects, like attending online career events, or speaking to any of the excellent people from the Careers and Employability Service for guidance. Just remember, one step in the right direction is closer than you were before.

You owe yourself compassion. Take a deep breath; in the lovely, optimistic words of The Killers, ‘Everything will be alright.’

Rajdeep Nagra is a Classics and English student at the University of Nottingham.

Image credit: Estee Janssens
Posted in Student Words