Happy Monday All. The sun is shining, people are emerging from their blanket fortresses after weeks of being on lock down and stores are slowly reopening to save themselves from crippling debt. I want to shout out to one particular local business that has been thriving during this time, a little pizza stand in Clapham, that has slice by slice been spreading positivity along Clapham high street. Everywhere me and my partner walk there is a rosy faced kid or a happy couple carrying their infamous cardboard boxed with a £5 pizza slice inside- to be fair it is damn tasty.
I love living in London, especially as I am currently furloughed and not working. But this pandemic has brought to life some real negatives of living in such a bustling and hearty city, the spread of infection is higher and the tubes are breeding grounds for any infection. On the other hand, it is also a place where dreams can come true. I am not trying to sell London, because personally I think it sells for itself, but I do what to bring to life some very real realities of being a graduate in London. I am a graduate but I feel as though I am hitting my expiry date on being name a ‘graduate’. I graduate last year in June and I expect past June 2020, I will no longer be referred to as a graduate but a council tax paying adult, yay.
“I sold my kidney on the black market and I am still in crippling debt, “but it’s okay, I live in London” – everyone
Going through Uni, you become very aware of how many people have moved from butt fuck nowhere to go to a univeristy in or around London. Why? because the employment potential and salary expecations are higher and they are away from mum and dad. Moving to London is a real aspiration and is not easy unless you have stacks of cash and a few connections. If you do not have these things, you need to have a good head on your shoulders and persistence. I could not have moved to Central London without the help of my partner, my parents and his family to whom I am forever grateful. But now I am here, I am determined to no move anywhere else.
I love that the weekends starts on a Monday and that the parks are home to mini-festivals every weekend. I love that Pret has monopolized London and you can find a fresh almond croissant at every turning point. I love the diversity of London and not being surrounded by the same people everyday. I love that we get ripped off every time we buy something but justify it with the “it’s okay, it’s the price you pay to live in London”. I LOVE that we are all in the same boat of crippling debt, but guess what, “it’s okay, because we live in London”. It’s fucked up but we love it. I know London is not for everyone, I understand why some people would rather stay away from busy cities and away from notorious suit wearing business professionals who would probably throw their nan’s cat under the bus for a promotion, or possibly even their Nan. I understand why they would rather stay in butt fuck no where and pay £3 for a pint rather than £300. I understand. But for those of you who are just as crazy and as messed up as me and are longing to pay 80% of your wage towards your rent, buckle up because I am about to share some very real things about being a graduate in London.
Being a graduate in London
You believe that you are entitled to a Graduate Job
There are many graduate schemes in London that scream competitive starting salary, seasonal loan ticket, gym membership and team socials but you will only succeed if you have Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket, or so it seems. These scheme are fiercely competitive and people have been practicing their whole lives for these positions. Smooth talking people on LinkedIn and taking extra courses to be qualified in one particular software that no one else has ever heard of, or they ditched the nights out at uni to get that incredible grade at uni. My point is, for every 1 job opening your battling with 500+ other applicants. My advice to you is to be shark in an ocean of other scary sharks otherwise you will get eaten. Know your strengths and work with them. Do not be afraid to ask questions and talk to people, you will never know what opportunities may arise. Contrary to what I just said, you are good enough for any job but do not feel let down if you didn’t get it on your first 6 attempts, keep going.
It is super expensive regardless of your salary.
Rent in London is a problem, but it is the price we pay to have everything on our door step and to be social butterflies. Me and my partner pay a lot of our salary towards our rent but are lucky enough to have cash left over. A lot of people can barely make ends meet and work second jobs. This is something I considered at one point in my life. You will find that there are way more reasons to spend money in a big city than there are in smaller towns. Firstly, the cost of living is extortionate and people develop a drinking problem to drown away the long hours that they work. No matter how broke you are in London, there always seems to be cash left over for a cigarette or a glass of wine. If you’re going to move to London I congratulate you and welcome you but I also want to crush any expectation you have of saving money.
London can be a lonely city.
Unless you shack up with the lads in a 5 bedroom house or live with other people, London can actually be quite a lonely city. Where it is so big and there are so many people, it becomes apparent that you do not know many people and it is hard to meet new people when they are already settled into their cliques and most people walk around with a huge fuck off sign on their forehead. Being around so many people has the power to awaken a sense of loneliness within anyone. The busy pubs, park gathering and constant house parties can really get to someone who isn’t social thriving. I can admit that having my girls closer to home would be the icing on my cake but something has got to give.
You will love slumming it with the rest of us.
Your expectations will get a lot lower when you move to London. If you’re plan is to be in a happy relationship and out of your overdraft saving for a house by 25 heck even 30, London is not for you. Unless you’re working a sales job where the CEO takes you to Florida every summer, then you stand a chance. But in the end, you will actually learn to love this new pace you have set yourself. You will be following your own realistic goals and enjoying the journey as oppose to the destination. London isn’t about making it, it is about living your absolute life. You can make it anywhere you live but to really live takes a whimsical city with endless possibilities and pint barrels.
It will take time to build your life.
This one is the most important. You won’t just move to London and get a house, a job, a group of friends or become regular at your local pub in your first year. It takes time to find your balance and it will demand a lot of your energy, strength and mental health. It will feel like you are constantly trying to balance the scales. When you think you’re happy with one thing, two more thing will tip the scales and crush your soul. I am still finding it hard to find my balance. Having a career I am passionate about, finding new friends in the local area and feeling at ease in my new environment. I love where I live and feel so comfortable but I am still in the stage of feeling overwhelmed and incredibly lucky to be where I am. So I know from experience that it will take time to build your life here. All I know is, I will not want to move from here any time soon.
I hope you all learnt a little something and are not put off by making the move to London. It is truly a magical place and affords me a lot of happiness everyday. With that being said, I also want to throw myself into The River Thames on other days. Like I said life is about balance.
See you on the flip side.
Demi Anne x