What a mind-boggling, precariously balanced stage of life this is, especially for those studying a degree with few, if any, job prospects at the end. This period is made even more fractious given undergrads are just a tad past adolescence and a thousand seriously wrong decisions away from being a grown-up.
Maybe I’m over-pessimistic in my views about the limited promise of an artist’s (read any Creative type) career. If so, I blame my high school. My cynicism began to copulate and reproduce after one too many not so subtle hints from teachers that art education should be chosen instead of fine arts, and the overuse of words like ‘wasted years’, ‘the dole’, and ‘two minute noodles’.
As I stumble towards the end of my first year of a Fine Arts degree (I know, right!) I believe I have earned enough credibility to give the internet social commentary on the matter. While trying to nail the snarky tone of every other blog post of its creed, I will talk about the gormless millennial undergraduates who spend more time scrolling while taking a dump than being conscious in a lecture theatre. To those of you who say I haven’t yet earned that right, I raise my middle finger in salute. I NEED to discuss the first year undergraduate. Here is a specimen in dire need of exploitation. This demographic, currently populated by directionless millennials, are nearing the end of their first year of study and their behaviour throughout the year has been roast worthy.
The first year passes in a blur that reminds me of the way my eyes lose focus after over-scrolling on my gram feed. We spend the first months of the year dodging questions about job prospects while navigating the social venture of making friends. This seemingly haphazard beginning is pivotal to the establishment of uni life and yields important details, such as the closest bar to campus (if your uni is so microscopic the only eatery is more like a school canteen), and what the ‘pass’ bare minimum is, because we all know that 52% means you’ve wasted 2% of valuable internet time.
The internet is critically important. It’s more important than attending tutorials. If I had never created an Instagram account with the goal promoting my artwork when I figure out what the hell I’m doing, I would never have stumbled upon two things: the time lapses of works in progress, and make up tutorials. These two particular breeds of videos seem to be in never ending supply on my social media. They manage to simultaneously make me revaluate my worth as an artist, and condense my time between bathroom breaks into meaningless social media binges.
And yes, this wasted internet time would be dramatically reduced if I could get employment. But alas, after being too ‘devoted’ to school work in our early teens or whatever other bullshit excuse we used to justify our laziness, our lack of experience in combination with awkward contact hours makes us virtually unemployable. Also, our natural instinct to lay twitching and agape like a fish out of water when considering employment options does not help.
Thus, the strange existence that the first year undergrad manages to cultivate in their time at uni sits in a mind-bogglingly delicate state of flux. There is the undying need for money battling with the time to study and the aggressive hours spent educating ourselves on Kim K’s flawless arsehole. It is this flux that pushed my examination of this demographic. I am yet to see another specimen of human life undertake the task of spending 20+ hours at uni, ingest a dangerous amount of narcotics, establish new friendships and exercise existing ones. All while maintaining a personality that seems to be equally problematic and pretentious, week in, week out.
We can only hope that one day we will join the scores of actual graduates who now call themselves ‘Creatives’ having concluded their 4 year’s worth of time and money and their struggle navigating the now completely online job market before landing a questionably successful career out of writing articles for blogs thinly disguised as online magazines. Damn! when I put it like that…
Words by Anna Wilson. Photo by Al.