Home Comment The final year freakout: the road to the inevitable gap year.

The final year freakout: the road to the inevitable gap year.



James Pidduck evaluates the plight of the disorganised and confused final year student, and explains why everything will be all right in the end. 


It may only be term 1, but for the final year students out there, it’s hard to shrug off that ominous feeling that the end is nigh. You’re starting to create that last-year-“yolo” bucket list and tick off everything under the sun that Exeter possibly has to offer. For some of us, this takes absolute top priority – naturally – and the notion of a life after graduation really need not be considered yet. (If you feel I’m preaching to your choir, this article is for you.)


We all know the post-uni dream. A penthouse suite in London. An unlimited bar tab at Chinawhite. A time when food shops won’t even be needed, as you’ll be wining and dining yourself every night. It’s going to happen.

Back to the present, and your parents are starting to pester you about the ‘C’ word: career. Their greedy mitts are out, and they want to start collecting the interest on their 3 year investment – you know their game. No one else has even given an ounce of thought past next week’s Dirty Sexy People. Why can’t Mom and Pops get this? Jeez.

Then you attend your scheduled careers talk. Thinking about my future? “Meh, who’s doing that?”, you announce to your friends. Then they list off their career action plans. And their current progress on their 5 year life-plan. You’re surrounded. You react in the only way understandable. They’re drowning in job interviews; you’re drowning in units.

It’s just hit you. The realisation that you’ve spent £9,000 a year and have no currently plausible career prospects. Maybe Sainsbury’s will take you back into their bosom after that summer job you had the year before last…? Oh, wait, that was a Tesco? Who knows.

A sense of melancholia has overcome you. And no matter how high you turn up your dear friend Taylor, you just can’t shake it off. Shizz just got real.

You pop to the Career Zone – surely they can fix this. But nothing’s appealing to you. You’re not willing to go down that avenue, and that whole field is certainly off-limits. Yaaaawn. Turns out, beggars can be choosers when they want to be.

The only skills you’ve been honing have been those for the dancefloor. Who needs ‘credentials’ or ‘transferable skills’ when you’re the BNOC who twerks on TopTop? Yeah, erm, in the real world, turns out you do…

Then things get worse. Someone alerts you to the fact that graduate job deadlines are a lot earlier than you thought they’d be. In fact, a hefty number of them are closing as we speak, or have indeed expired. You have no awareness of this. Oh look, there goes PwC, and now Deloitte… Ciao.

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You’re getting shut out of the ever-looming adult world, and no one seems to care. A high starting salary can really change people.

And then you’ve got it – your eureka moment. 3 – 2 – 1… Gap yaaaah!

You can’t face this adventure all alone, though. You can’t even walk into ‘The Sanctuary’ unassisted. Do not worry. There will be at least one other person in the South-West in the same situation as you. Turns out, that friend-of-a-friend at that pre-drinks also has no clue about their après-graduation existence. And it turns out you two have a lot in common – you both want a tan and you both fancy a trip to Thailand. What are the odds, people? They’re basically your long-lost twin. You’re living the plotline of ‘The Parent Trap’. Life is finally working out – it’d be rude to hit up that Full Moon Party alone, after all…

A few months later, and you’re FaceTiming a friend whilst on a white sandy beach – cocktail in one hand, numerously-stamped passport in the other. Meanwhile, they’re slumped over a desk with bags under their eyes the size of Kim K’s behind. Who’s laughing now?

Fast-forward to one year on. Your ex-housemate is stuck in telesales wanting to be a barrister, and Susie-off-Vic-Street’s just done a PR post-grad course, still under the impression it stands for Placebo Research. Meanwhile, you’ve taken your time and managed to stack up those work experience placements – you know for cert where you’re meant to be. You’ve cracked the code. You’re going to be giving an alumni talk to a packed lecture hall in a couple of months, no doubt about it. What’s that phrase people say, again? Oh yes, ‘slow and steady wins the race’. Turns out you were right after all…


Gap year FTW. Over and out.


James Pidduck, Online Comment Editor

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