It’s Enough to Drive You Crazy if You Let It…..

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By Nina Collins on 29.8.2023

It’s Enough to Drive You Crazy if You Let It…..

Like many other students, I spent my summer holiday working.

Although unlike others, I chose to work full time in an international insurance firm, located among the bright lights of the big city, for nine long weeks. As a soon to be second year student, it was interesting to experience this kind of corporate workplace, particularly at such a contentious time for students and employers alike, when most are asking the question: is university really worth it?

Every time I moved to a different department, my colleagues would ask me what I plan to do, and of course, I gave the standard confused answer: I don’t know. When explaining that English and American Literature was my chosen area of study, I was sometimes met with a chuckle, others a confused smile, and sometimes a straight up “What are you doing working in an insurance firm?”.

As humanities students everywhere can probably recognize, I’m used to laughing this kind of comment off – comes with the territory. But these kinds of questions certainly weigh on student’s minds, particularly when in a working environment.

Of course, one might not consider insurance to be a direct career path for an English graduate. But after my experience, and having worked with some of the people I have, and some heart-wrenching conversations with individuals whose dreams have escaped them because of the “daily grind”, and because “life just didn’t go that way”, my heart at first, sinks a little. What to expect of these graduates who might not find their dream profession? Particularly ones where so many doors are metaphorically opened after graduation that not knowing where to go is such a large part of the problem?

But actually, it seems like it’s not so bad after all – if you look closely. I was wined and dined on corporate lunches, had the privilege of working in the Lloyd’s of London building, one of the most prestigious in the city – and enjoyed the great capital as the backdrop of my “daily grind”. Many of my colleagues “fell” into their professions and were perfectly happy, university or otherwise.

Lloyd’s Marketplace: Exterior and Interior views of the Lloyd’s Building

It has opened my mind to the possibilities that will be open to me when I graduate, if nothing else – taught me to appreciate my time at university, to work hard and not be afraid of being ambitious, and above all, not worry so much. Working 9 to 5 is a bittersweet concept – you might hate it, but you’ll carry on doing it anyway and probably take some pleasure along the way.

But if you ask me, nothing describes it, in such sterling rhythm and rhyme, quite like this.


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