“If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten…”

15 January 2009

With our news section dominated by stories about CUSU Ents, access and the excellence of Cambridge’s research programmes, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s still 2008. Or 2007, 2006 or 2005 for that matter. We’re not sure, but it’s probable that these questions were preoccupying the minds of the first students and Fellows of Cambridge (well, possibly not CUSU Ents).

As preparations for the University’s 800th anniversary gather momentum, this is a time when many people in Cambridge are looking back to the past, reflecting and thinking about the ancient traditions that we are all a part of.

However, this is also a time when some of us, particularly finalists, are looking ahead with anxiety, wondering what- if any- job might be awaiting us after graduation.

There can be no doubting that 2009 is going to be a grim year economically, especially for those looking for work. As this week’s investigation shows, certain sectors, particularly banking, are cutting back on recruitment sharply, creating ever fiercer competition between students for the remaining vacancies. The days when the words “I have a degree from Cambridge” swiftly landed you a handsome salary and a job “in the City” seem to be gone for the moment.

That said, there is lots to be positive about. For a start, anyone who is still in higher education can rely on a guaranteed income in the form of student loans, unlike many other people nationwide.

We must not be sucked into doom-mongering– there are still good jobs to be had and it is encouraging to see so many students employing their considerable talents in the public sector and in particular helping to reduce the current shortage of teachers in this country.

Our time at Cambridge is all too short, and it is important to make the most of it. It is easy to forget amidst all the doom and gloom that this is an amazing place to live and study, and we are all lucky to be here as part of the University’s 800-year history. Even in these difficult times we have plenty to be thankful for.

As we enter a new term and a new year, we must do our best to remain positive and embrace the opportunities offered to us here, confident in the belief that things can only get better.