Last Thursday, I decided to attend a career fair. After all, I’m in second year now; the freedom of freshers’ has worn off, second year stress has settled in, and it’s time to start thinking seriously about what I’m going to do with my degree once I leave. Consequently, I entered SportsPark wide-eyed, optimistic, and ready to find my future. However, I left seriously disappointed.
If you also attended the fair, you may have noticed one overwhelming aspect: that it seemed tailored towards Business and Economics degrees. From retail outlets such as M&S and Aldi, to a handful of technology-related businesses like Apple, HP and Sky, the fair had everything for the business-inclined graduate.
Meanwhile, students from the faculty of arts and humanities – those studying Art, History, English Literature and Politics – were left severely under-represented. For Literature students such as myself, there were few options to explore other than teaching, and whilst I’ve no doubt that teaching is a demanding and rewarding career path, there must be something more out there for arts students than more students. Although this is considered the stereotypical career path for students of my degree, I would have thought that at UEA, of all places, it would’ve been possible to find a more original approach.
The School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing is one of the university’s biggest and most reputable schools. UEA prides itself on its prestigious creative writing course, specifically the MA, which has generated notable alumni such as Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro; indeed, the current chancellor, Rose Tremain, studied English Literature here, and has previously taught on the MA. Why, then, even at UEA, is there a lack of focus on arts-based opportunities for graduates at the careers fair?
The university is currently sixth and 14th in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey and the Times Good University Guide respectively. By placing more emphasis on the future of all their students, and paying attention to those humanities students who find it notoriously difficult to find jobs after graduation, I believe the university could see a rise in their league table placing.