Since I’ve decided academia isn’t for me, the sooner I can plan for the future and know where I’ll be in a year’s time, the better. It’s a daunting thought. Assuming I can get a job, for the first time in my life I’ll be financially independent and free from the world of studying. There are so many issues to consider here. I need to decide what it is I want to do, and what I realistically can do. Journalism of some sort is my dream (why do you think I began this?), but applications for Guardian internships this summer failed and I can’t count on that working out. I’m increasingly convinced that I’ll be best at non-profit work related to animal rights, nutrition or environmental campaigning of some sort. But I also need to keep in mind my commitment to Giving What We Can. I have only pledged to tithe whatever I make, but nowadays I do want to take the further step of trying to earn much more than I need so that I can donate more.
And then, just as important, is the consideration of where to live. Any job suitable for me is almost certain to be in London, and all my social circles by now centre around the capital. But the property market there is, notoriously, insane. I’ve been scouring RightMove and sense that £800 a month for a studio-apartment the size of a shoebox and without a genuine kitchen is the norm. The prospect is nauseating. And yet, commuting drags hours out of your day and annual train tickets can cost several thousand pounds on unreliable and vastly overcrowded routes. There will be no easy options here. Life is much easier when living costs can be split with a partner. Perhaps I’ll have to give serious thought to living with friends for the foreseeable future.
Whatever happens, though, I do want to be clear that I fully recognise that these are emphatically First World Problems. I’m a white, male Oxford graduate. Any obstacles I face will inevitably only be bumps on a road otherwise paved with privilege. I hope I take that seriously, and I want to do my very best not to forget it.