Students are ABColutely Crushing 2020-21 – Conservative Article
The Students’ ABCs: abs, blogging, continued studies, Depop…
This is an article championing students and young adults. It was easy enough to write.
Faced with a shrinking job market in 2021, as was the case in 2020, many recent and soon-to-be graduates in the UK are adapting to the uncertainty they face. Whether you’ve got friends documenting their couch to 5k on Instagram, blogging about their passion for art, or building their fashion empire, the possibilities appear endless.
When many people think of Gen-Z and Millennials, they do not always think of resilient and adaptable individuals. But, I have seen first-hand how these traits are shining through despite the ever-changing world we live in. I see students out for morning runs and friends starting fitness blogs (no I’m not going to plug them).
What faces 2020 graduates without work, and their 2021 peers?…
- The supply of students was up in 2020, demand for them was down. The trend has continued into 2021, with 27% of UK graduate employers cutting jobs.
- UK students setting their sights on continuing their studies abroad will find far less choice and far more competition. To compound this, higher education is getting a bad Covid rep.
- With students put off graduate schemes because of competition, many have taken a greater interest in postgraduate positions. This should not be snuffed as a Plan B by any means. Demand for commercial and digital skills has, in part, fuelled the increase in postgraduate applications seen by UCAS in 2021.
- Depop has always been dominated by young adults, and the pandemic saw UK Depop user figures more than double to 2 million from March to May.
It is this last insight I want to unpack.
HAZY MADE is a Depop outlet started by Exeter University student Lydia. It boats 44,000 followers on the site and a further 16,100 on Instagram. I interviewed the second-year archaeology student for this article:
Starting off small: “I started off with vintage clothes, then borrowed my nan’s sewing machine (never gave it back). I then taught myself how to sew and made boob tubes for 2 years as a side thing.”
Expanding and gaining experience: “Just before uni started I had a little more time, and started selling a few more styles.” She also had far more time over lockdown. Which is when the range she offered really grew.
Lockdown, as mentioned, boosted users on Depop, and also sales for those serious about expressing themselves and generating an income. This gave Lydia the impetus to put in a few extra hours and give the site her undivided attention. Her followership grew and grew, and she now makes items to individual order specification!
Thank you very much to Lydia for her time when answering my questions. I hope you agree she has given an insight into just how much one student can do.
Students are amongst the largest users on Depop’s platform. Many just use the site to share their style and opinions on fashion. No doubt, the next generation of Serena Van der Woodsen’s and Alexander McQueen’s, depending on what sort of young adult you speak to.
These less traditional ventures after higher education are fast becoming the norm. I am a big believer in people expressing themselves, whether it be through work or something more creative and independent. These avenues should be explored by anyone who is unsure if they want to go into the traditional ‘world of work’ right now.
It is easy for someone to sit here and preach, or however you want to frame what I have said. Nonetheless, I hope some takeaways prove useful to those feeling the stress and strain of their final few terms of university, or those waiting on application results into whichever field they are interested in.
I sadly cannot claim to be part of any of the four alternative-to-work areas I have outlined, but I can see the immediate and long-term benefits. The areas discussed are not an exhaustive list. If anyone has their own niche or something obvious they think I’ve missed, I’d love to hear about it.
Written by Senior Conservative Writer, Josh Tyrrell
Point of Information
Young People’s Enterprise Deserves More Recognition – A Liberal Response
Josh’s article is a pleasant read illuminating some of the silver linings to come out of this pandemic.
I completely agree with my colleague that young people’s enterprise does not get the recognition it deserves. It is more commonly chalked up to be unsustainable or ‘not a real job.’ As Covid continues to decimate the job opportunities of thousands of graduates, the ingenuity of creating a job for yourself on new platforms should not only be celebrated but taught.
The job market was already shifting beyond recognition, with estimates that 33% of jobs in the 12 years have not been invented yet (though this has been disputed). But every job and its operation has been changed by the rise of technology and the Coronavirus pandemic.
I implore all of us to continue to forge our own paths within the job market as we have left out, forgotten, ignored and underutilised for a long time and Josh’s article highlights that our drive and ingenuity can take us places unreachable by previous generations.
Written by Junior Liberal Writer, Lucy Severn
Simply Getting Through the Year is an Achievement for Students – A Labour Response
I can, without hesitation, second everything Josh has said. He’s right to say students are often given a bad rep and this will continue even as we return to ‘normality’. The pandemic has exacerbated this for the most part. Just think back to November where Manchester University students were unethically fenced in yet people had a problem with their right to protest rather than the initial reprehensible action.
Students, in reality, should be praised for simply managing their workload and handing assessments in on time. We can all agree that everyone’s university experience is below desirable right now. Moreover, the expectations of learning and quality of assessment remain at the same high standard. On top of this, students are paying rent for houses they can’t access, are working in unsuitable environments, and have limited access to both academic and limited support.
Students are doing well to get through this year and we (yes, myself included) deserve some recognition.
As Josh says, it’s also amazing to see students juggling more and going the extra mile. I do have concerns about why they have to take on time-consuming jobs to support themselves but that’s an issue for another day. Focussing on the positives, the innovation and the expression of students like Lydia is a joy to see. I too know students who have started their own fitness blogs, online baking shops, and vintage Depop accounts.
Sidenote: Depop is an amazing alternative to fast-fashion retailers. It promotes a move towards sustainable consumption rather than excessive buying solely to raise one’s status. Seeing so many students involved in this change is inspiring and just one reason why we should disregard the narrative of lazy, ignorant students.
To quote Josh, students are “crushing” it. It’ll be particularly interesting to see what paths students take after graduation. I anticipate there’ll be a few more ‘panic masters’ than in previous years. However, I also won’t be surprised if many have been put off higher education for the foreseeable future.
Written by Chief Labour Writer, Abi Clargo