Advice: Uncle Sam on Postgrad Studies

They call him Uncle Sam. The advice giving, suggestion slinging, arm-round-the-shoulder everyman who’s always there for you. Unless he’s too tired that day or too busy or something. He likes helping you help yourselves. He doesn’t like self introductions, lists or irony.

“Dear Uncle Sam,

I’m in my third year, which is shit, quite frankly. Mummy and Daddy say I need to start looking for a job. Should I do a masters just to avoid this?


Definitely take the masters. Think about it. What will you gain exactly from entering the workplace, getting up at 7.30am each morning and learning new ‘skills’ when you could be lounging around your house in Lenton, making infinite cups of tea for your housemates and claiming to ‘have never been so drunk’ every Saturday morning after another big Friday night out at a fine Nottingham institution. It really is an obvious choice.

Convincing your parents might be an issue. They have probably deluded themselves into believing a 9-5 job is more valuable than your ability to cook a mean scrambled eggs on toast, which more time at uni would allow you to perfect. So you’ll have to take your masters in something pretty impressive, like aromatherapy or golf management.

They might want to know why you have decided to take a masters. You’ll need a good reason as they aren’t going to believe its because you’re passionate about your subject when it took you six months of uni to be convinced that Hallward Library actually existed and wasn’t a myth like Hercules or Sutton Bonnington. So make sure your excuse for doing the masters is inspiring. Say something like ‘look, if you had one shot, and one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?’ Sure, this may be the introductory lines from Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’, but he won an Oscar for it so it will probably work on your parents.

Don’t forget, you will have to work one day but in the interest of putting it off for as long as possible, why not also go for a PHD? Try and take it in America because some of their programs last four or five years. Then afterwards you will be mature, have had optimum uni-related fun and be super employable. Maybe.

You’re welcome, by the way.

Uncle Sam

If you have a problem you want Uncle Sam to solve send an email to

Samuel Deaner

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Photo credit: Stephen S. via Flickr.


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