Sitting down to think about the future is hard; for most 20-somethings, gazing into the future isn’t exactly a pleasant experience. “Go get an internship in a dead economy, sign on for the Masters that won’t get you a job in that economy, and once you finally land that 65 thousand dollars a year gig in mainland New Zealand, have some children on a dying planet because we need soldiers for the impending water-wars. Once you’ve done that can you pay back that debt sweetie?”.Awesome. I realise that that’s pretty bleak, but at this point, bleak is probably all it’s going to be. COVID has really exposed the flaws in our system, and they’re flaws that people are still choosing to ignore. The huge drops in pollution, emissions and general uprooting of the environment seen over lockdown pale in comparison to what we actually need to do to create a decent future for our children. In the end you could just fall back on that age-old tactic. Don’t think about it, that shit is scary.
As far as we know, there is only one species on God’s green earth that is bedevilled by dreams of the future. It starts in childhood with the ubiquitous, idiotic question “what are you going to be when you grow up?” As if such a thing is visible. As if virtually all of us won’t learn that we can’t be the future President of the United States. Or an astronaut. Or a billionaire. Nevertheless, we lie to these sweet little cherubs and tell them they can be anything they want to be. The next 20-odd years are a masochistic grind towards the sad reality that the vast majority of us will amount to sweet fuck all. The silver lining is that when we finally swallow that bitter pill we are free. In the end, it doesn’t matter what we do, it matters how and why we do it. The guy that spends thirty years learning how to stretch noodles understands some things about existence that most of us never will. The meaning of life is to make a life of meaning. Whatever that means to you. So don’t fret about the future. That is a problem for tomorrow.
As I look into my crystal ball, I see nothing but a fluctuation in the lockdown levels, Jacinda Adern is re-elected, Josh laughing at that statement, and conspiracy theories coming in as strong as the Jacinda Ardern live updates. Yeah, it’s safe to say the future is looking pretty bright. In saying all of this, what does this mean for the students of Waikato? The first years that are coming in might be asking themselves if their bedroom, is now their new lecture theatre. Do the graduates of 2020 have any hope of finding a job? Or is taking on a post-grad paper a means of surviving financially? Are the students in the middle of their degree looking at alternative pathways because the future isn’t promised? As much as I would like to think my crystal ball has all the right answers, I think it’s about as helpful as the magic 8 ball you get in the Warehouse’s toy section. The future is uncertain, but what we do have is the present. Live for the moment and shake those 8 ball like the WAP king or queen that you are.
I’ve been thinking about my future a lot lately, and what is in store for it. I’m nearly finished my degree and have been hunting for jobs, trying to snag that elusive internship. It’s proving to be pretty difficult in a post COVID world, where many businesses have seen a tremendous fall in revenues, they’ve had to lay off staff, and not many of them are taking any new staff on. Especially interns. So what does this mean for my future? Honestly, I don’t know. Probably sounds a bit dramatic, but I’ve been thinking about doing a few things. Possibly staying at uni for a bit longer, can’t really travel so that’s those plans in the gutter. In this issue there is an interview with Sandy Muller, who is the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Manager, who will have more information about this topic. To be frank, I’ll probably learn a lot from it, and maybe have a bit more direction for my future.