The decision to take an MA is not one I arrived at lightly. Like all arts students, I did the rounds. I dressed up my CV, feigned enthusiasm and spent my hangovers applying for companies I’d never heard of for jobs I’d apparently always wanted to do.
Forty applications, four interviews and no job offers later however, and my existential crisis was reaching its climax.
I’d turned my back on journalism a few months earlier because “there was no money in it” but halfway through my third year it didn’t seem like there was much in marketing’s broad church either.
My corporate cry for help didn’t last long; by April I’d completed a successful U-turn and was looking for a newspaper ballsy enough to take me on. Alas, I’d left it too late to go down the entry-level route with all the other hacks; deadlines had passed and I’d spent my time attending unsuccessful interviews instead of interning.
I could always take a year out, I mused; but I wasn’t prepared to return to the suburbs or the prison-like dominion of parent landlords. What was a lad to do?
Having been suitably seduced by statecraft and political theory throughout my undergraduate degree, killing time with something similar and getting a few extra letters at the end of my name was a tempting distraction.
Still, I’m not naïve – I applied to enough recruitment firms to realise that the premise of an MA “enhancing” anything about your employability outside of academia is ultimately disingenuous. Most prospective employers place more emphasis on work experience and extracurriculars.
Yet, I’m going through with it anyway. Why? Well, on the one hand I am now actually considering an alternative career in academia; but with my journalistic ambitions in mind, I honestly felt that the luxury of two different university experiences could be quite useful. Anecdotes sell.
The only thing left to do was to decide where my extra year in the bubble was going to take place. I applied to Cambridge because I let personal insecurities get the better of me; I applied to King’s because it was close to home; and I applied to Durham because it wasn’t.
Having spent three years at Durham’s understudy, York, I’d grown quite fond of the collegiate system. So, nursing the wounds of an Oxbridge rejection, being a bit Tory and an enthusiast for all things traditional, my choice was an easy one.
I’m looking forward to Durham and everything that will follow after it- the obligatory NCTJ (sigh) and then hopefully by some Toby Young turn of fortune, a cushy column somewhere.
Failing that, lecturing doesn’t pay that badly, does it?