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An Oxford student’s guide to graduating in an economic crisis

When it comes to financial ruin you could call me a seasoned veteran. As a Greek, we did it before it was cool. Now, if you have any internet access at all, you’ll have read that a fun consequence of the coronavirus is the massive economic recession that is due to follow. Lucky for us, it’s timed exactly when most of us will be fresh on the job market- something which has earned our generation the very heartening moniker: “the Recessionals”. I come to you- like the Pythia of our time- as the bearer of bad news; while the Oxford name was enough to justify that History degree to your parents (“it doesn’t matter what I study if it’s at Oxford!”), it’s no longer sufficient. But fear not- all hope is not lost! I’m here to give you- the average, upper-middle class Oxford student (because, let’s face it, you’re probably the worst positioned to deal with this crisis), the tools to survive the fallout. 

  1. Stop reading the news
    Stop it! I know you’re tempted, just itching to read that Financial Times piece so you can “erm, actually…” an unassuming (and uninterested) girl later on (sapiosexualism isn’t a thing), but it’s not worth it. You don’t need to have the statistics to dunk on us, I promise you they’re not pretty. Make something up. Add a minus in front of it. You’re good. 
  1. Consider a degree in finance
    You said you wouldn’t be a corporate sellout, but demand for pundits is high. You looked down on your friends who unironically went to those networking events, but now you’d happily sell your soul for even just a hint of acknowledgment by a recruiter from anywhere named after two white men (is he from Morgan Stanley? I’ve got to go). The devil works hard, but E&M boys work harder (and they already have the devil on LinkedIn)- like a cockroach in the apocalypse, they’re absolutely thriving. 
  1. You’ll start to have a political opinion- don’t panic!
    It’s weird; you’ve never had one of these before. I mean, you never knew what you stood for, but you knew who you stood with, and that’s with whatever cute guy was delivering an impassioned rant at you last. Red starts to look like a really attractive color- and not in the way that Buzzfeed listicle with dubious sources claimed (28 Ways To Get Your Crush to Notice You if You’re a Disney Person and They’re a Harry Potter Fan Based Off Your Favourite Foods)… 
  1. Horror movies become a great way to destress
    Why did you ever even find these scary? I can take a murderous clown- another rejection letter, on the other hand….
  1. Make it part of your identity
    You know, I’ve found that taking every bad experience and trauma I’ve ever had and just internalizing it, letting it fester inside of me and never letting it go until it becomes an intractable part of my personality is an extremely healthy and fun coping mechanism!
  1. Consider another degree- any degree
    Did someone say: emergency masters? No, it’s not that I couldn’t get a job, I just really wanted to further my studies in…. 13th Century Catholic churches… 
    Bet you regret not following your mom’s wishes and applying for Engineering now, don’t you.
  1. Get used to the fact that all your favourite stores are closing down.
    Brooks Brothers went bankrupt because people didn’t need to buy the pants part of the suit anymore. What are you going to wear to every vaguely formal social event ever now?! 
  1. Become thrifty and resourceful
    When it comes to fashion, one man’s trash… Use those thrifting skills you developed back when it was trendy, and that deep social conscience you exhibit in your preachy instagram stories. If you can’t find anything cute, just crop the top and call it upcycling. It’s like Urban Outfitters Renewal, but for a tenth of the price and without the weird sense of guilt you feel in the back of your mind for funding a controversial company with some very unsavory scandals under its belt. 
  1. Date! 
    Gone are the days when you didn’t need romance in your life- when you were just focusing on yourself and your degree. Now escapism is definitely the answer. Why not burden someone else with the burning existential fear and uncertainty that has been plaguing you since the start of lockdown? Can’t afford a therapist? Get a boyfriend!
  1. Travel (as soon as you can safely do so) 
    Don’t worry, even if daddy’s business goes under, you won’t lose your second house on the Amalfi Coast- property won’t sell anyways. Sure, there’s a deadly global pandemic that’s absolutely obliterating the status quo, but it’s quite taxing to have to face that reality all the time. Take a break, sun yourself by the pool with a good romance novel (are they ever good?) and some lemonade. You deserve it!
  2. Everything is fine.
    It’s fine. Seriously, I’m fine. 

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