Intern Day: The Crunch on Campus

Campus Photos 1 - Nihan Aydin

When I compare York with the City, I can only find two features to defend York's claim to be one: its impressive Anglo-Saxon cathedral, and its recently opened Vivienne Westwood boutique.

And when I tell Londoners I go to university in York, the general response is, "Oh, that's really pretty isn't it? I think I went there when I was about ten."

Even so, after a summer of working, socialising, and raiding the free fridge at home (all along to the soundtrack of the credit crunch), I was rather looking forward to returning to my quaint, time-warped student bubble.


Two weeks into term and I was still shocked about how little some of my fellow humanities students knew about the whole dilemma. When expressing my concern over securing a job after graduating (" know, because the financial world is in crisis and all"), the vacant and/or shocked expressions made me want to rip off any traces of 'clueless' labels I may have placed on countryside-nostalgic City mates and press them into the centre of my confounded confidantes foreheads.

I felt awkward, if a little empowered, hearing the words of my investment banking mother come out of my own, most probably influent, mouth. And I felt amused hearing snippets of other students' various understandings of the notorious 'It': upon purchasing a ticket to one of my college's Freshers Week events, the answer I was given as to why the price had risen by 200% since last year was a sheepish "I dunno. The credit crunch thingy?" followed by a smirk.

This is not to say that my northern campus is absolutely crawling with ignorant idiots. As a student of the arts, I really should feel, if anything, obliged to argue that current affairs perfectly underline the inferiority of business to culture. Nevertheless, almost as a dichotomy to the mentioned students (clearly preoccupied with juggling important dissertation research and charity volunteering), are those working towards Finance and Economics degrees. They are loving it. Lunches and pre-clubbing gatherings with them are infiltrated with their painful banter directed towards the unfortunate few who did summer internships at Lehman, and their confidant declarations of knowing it was destined for demise. Even a simple, "How are you?" is eagerly though oh-so-casually answered with an updated account of their applications to investment banks - which ones they're going for (and why)Â…, how well they destroyed the online numeracy test, the ambiguous but sexy voice of their telephone interviewerÂ….

So what does all of this mean for the future of the job market? My answer is simple, and bleak. Struggling to keep their heads above the City smoke are more so-called arty-farty, soft subject graduates, and mooching at the bottom are even more unemployed bankers.

Perhaps, then, staying in this historic, time-warped bubble is not so bad after all.