Originally written for publication in The Boar, Warwick University’s student newspaper.
As my three-year holiday (degree) nears an end, I find myself becoming increasingly pessimistic. My dazzling optimism has been engulfed by a cynical alter-ego who holds nothing – and I mean nothing – as possible.
It doesn’t matter how proud your parents are, when you are one of thousands of wannabe journalists, hoping to enter the ever-shrinking sector, having blacklisted half of your potential employers for political reasons, the future doesn’t look bright.
Although this may indeed be a fair assessment of my employment opportunities, it’s a position I’ve voluntarily put myself in. I’ve made my bed (out of unsold newspapers) and am now very much lying in it. What I lament is that I’ve used this self-inflicted destitution as an excuse to dismiss all the good things that have happened and are happening to me. I’ve become something of a grinch.
A few weeks ago I got stuck in the queue at Leamington’s flagship two-story nightclub, Evolve. I was waiting to put my coat away and they’d run out of hangers. “This is ridiculous!”, I cried, expressing a sense of entitlement I didn’t realize I could convey with such conviction. I then made a number of oh-so-funny quips well within the earshot of staff members who were in no way responsible for the hold up.
The next day, I woke to the news more than 200 people had died in a nightclub in Brazil. A fire had broken out – many had been trampled in the pandemonium and others had suffocated. I stopped complaining for a moment. Had my night really been all that bad? Perhaps it was time to take stock.
In a few months, I’ll be leaving a top university with a good degree. In all likeliness I won’t be receiving a call from the Guardian but I won’t be on the streets either. I’ll have a roof over my head. Healthcare. Food. Family and friends. I’ll be afforded far more than a huge proportion of the world’s population and – thanks to our morally bankrupt coalition government – a sizeable number of people in the UK.
Make no mistake, as a generation, we have reasons to harbour resentment. Many of them are justified. We’ve been born into a world in which leaders have dismissed the plight of the poor, ravaged resources and installed corrupt economic systems – bastardized capitalisms – on a global scale. But the vast majority of people reading this have shelter in which they can weather the storm. A safety net. If we want to get angry, we should first count our blessings. We should protest because so many others come up short.
It could, after all, be so much worse.