For the university graduate, the light at the end of the tunnel is dim. Stepping into a career straight after graduation seems like a modern day fairytale.
As a postgraduate with an impressive academic career, I am mentally exhausted from a fruitless eight month long job search.
Like many other young people, I am caught in a paradox: too many qualifications and not enough experience.
Politicians tell us that there are jobs out there. They suggest that graduates aren’t trying hard enough to secure work.
However, there are now 1.2 million unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Surely the massive rise in youth unemployment can be attributed to the fact there are too many graduates and not enough jobs.
I am trying as hard as I possibly can to find work but have not yet had success.
These days, graduates need an exhaustive list of accomplishments to get anywhere at all.
A demanding three-year degree is no longer enough to satisfy potential employers.
Graduates must also have a plethora of extra-curricular achievements, relevant work experience, a menial part-time job and volunteer work under their belts before they are considered job-worthy.
I have an impressive academic career that I worked tirelessly for until I was 22 years old: I graduated with a Masters degree from a well-respected University in 2011.
I thought going the extra mile would make me stand out in a sea of other floundering graduates.
I also have significant work experience and a strong 2.1 Bachelor of Arts with Honours to grab the attention of employers.
As I walked to my local Jobcentre late last summer after graduation, I was hopeful that I would soon find work.
Then I noticed conkers falling off the trees.
Then I had to trudge through the snow to my fortnightly appointment.
Now the first buds of spring are a stark reminder that I have nearly gone full-circle.
I’ve applied for hundreds upon hundreds of jobs. Many don’t even reply. I worry that my education is worthless and my time studying has been for nothing.
I’ve been invited to a handful of interviews but they all say the same thing. I am too inexperienced.
I feel so angry. How much unpaid work experience do I have to do before someone will give me chance? How am I supposed to support myself whilst working for nothing?
My parents, school and the media convinced me that a good education was my passport to a better future. A degree was supposed to be my ticket out of the deprived area I grew up in.
During my A Levels, I worked in a fast food restaurant. I got home from school and went straight to my evening shift. I got home at eleven o clock at night, smelling like fried chicken. Then I did my homework.
I couldn’t get a job in a fast food restaurant now. Not because I don’t want to but because they don’t want me!
I have applied for low-skilled jobs but I am over qualified. They see my Masters degree and run a mile.
Currently, I am looking to secure a paid internship that will provide me with experience and not exploit me in the process.
Thanks to new government legislation, I know I could have up to 50 years of employment ahead of me.
The sense of failure is crushing but I know my luck has to change at some point; it is just a question of when.