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New Shoes, New Perspective

As we all know university can be a time of independence for those who have just left high school or college. As they taste their first sip of freedom, new opportunities are placed in their path. However not only is this a time for the new students to enjoy, but parents gain a little bit of ‘me time’. Yet what happens once university has finished and the newly graduated students return home [1]?

It is no surprise that studies have found that both graduates and parents are frustrated with the post university ‘slump’. With the term “helicopter parent” arriving in the early 1990’s, parents tend to gravitate towards ‘hovering’ over their children, from booking their yearly appointments to driving them between social events [2]. And so, when it comes to individuals flying the nest, the “helicopter parent” can come crashing down, as graduates try to find their own individual path in life. It can be said that the majority of parents want their children to do well and to put their degree to use, whilst graduates want to reciprocate the feeling but with a more relaxed manner. Therefore, where does the balance come in? Can you really risk pushing your child too far or not far enough? And can graduates understand why their parents may be urging them to find employment?

When we think of the alternative footwear that Paulo Nutini sung about know that title, when he sings about something new, why don't you try stepping into someone else's shoes and seeing it from their perspective. As Rory Sutherland, a British advertising executive states “perspective is everything” [3]. Now nobody wants to experience any repeats of ‘Freaky Friday’, but think back to when you were younger or when your parents were younger. The normal routine of going to school, college/university and then progressing into full-time employment, is no longer sought after by many young people. Nowadays it’s not uncommon for individuals to take a gap year or work abroad before deciding on their next chapter. People want experiences, something fresh, not a repetitive nine to five job where they feel trapped.

With around 300,000 younger people in the UK graduating each year, it’s no wonder that competition is fierce [4]. Likewise it evident to see why graduates feel pressured into finding employment straight away. At the time it's feels as though everyone is landing graduate jobs except you, and we all know the dreaded question “So what are your plans now?” … However, the previous chief executive of UCAS, Mary Curnock Cook encourages individuals and their parents to appreciate the break between university and venturing into a new career [4]. Advising them that the period between the two should be used to really discover what career path the graduate wants to go down, as going straight from university into employment could be detrimental to their success.

So next time you go to put your shoes on, think about what it would feel like to walk around in your parent or child's shoes for a day. And suddenly everything might feel much better.





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