They say that there’s only a finite number of stories in the world, and the same can be said of graduates; they come in 7 distinct forms. Don’t believe me? Well, remember that 80s classic Brat Pack movie, St. Elmo’s Fire, about a bunch of 7 impossibly good-looking uni graduates who step out into the big bad world?
Although technology, hair styling, home decor, shoulder pads and Demi Moore’s pre-plastic surgery body have all come a long way since 1985, it still holds water 30 years on. If you have yet to see it, I’m not sure you can truly call yourself “educated” yet.
Until then, for those in the know, which one of the Grad Gang are you?
Billy Hicks (Rob Lowe) – The Bad Boy
Moody, good looking, charming, destined for rock fame but perpetually broke and incapable of pursuing “ordinary” work. If you’re a “Billy” you were lead singer in the group that won Battle of The Bands on campus and that everyone flocked to.
Post-uni you’re still rockin’ those too-tight jeans and the Poldark hair, reluctantly working in a call centre by day and gigging at night. But for how much longer? Fame may beckon but it better get real soon. Besides, your long term uni girlfriend has left you for a suit with an office job and your parents are nagging you.
Jules (Demi Moore) – The ‘It Girl’
Flashy, fashion conscious, living it up and spending it up in equal measure thanks to a regular pay cheque and an inability to say no. If you’re a “Jules” you were first in the queue on campus to leverage your barmaid wage and sign up for a credit card to fund your kick-ass wardrobe. You applied for a campus “crisis” loan to avoid missing out on the January Sales.
Not a lot has changed post-uni, thanks to your graduate loan and overdraft. You might be evicted any day now but it’s fine because you’ll be walking out in Manolo Blahnik shoes and someone, somewhere will be jealous.
Kirby Keger (Emilio Estevez) – The Jock
You were a star on campus, popular, working hard (on the sports pitch) by day and playing hard (with the team) by night, but rarely to be found in lectures, hence the Desmond you scored on your degree. With Footy/Netters/Hockey, followed by dodgy drinking games and your team/pack, as your first loves, you were perennially single.
And nothing’s changed post-Uni. Only now you’re left doing “Oops-Up-Side-Your-Head” alone on the dance floor with no one to high five after downing a shot. Time to hang up your trainers to focus on more achievable ambitions than being an England star and finally work out who you are as an individual.
Alec Newbury (Judd Nelson) – The Yuppie
Unlike most of your Uni pals you had your eye on the prize from day one, played the long game, studying hard, getting a 1st class degree and scoring a stupendously well-paid job to the envy of your buddies. With it followed the flash apartment, tailored suits and holidays. You’re living the dream, right?
Wrong. You’re scared to take risks and it’s making you ill. No matter that you hate your job, are still with the only serious partner you’ve ever had (but don’t love) and have a secret fantasy about becoming a writer; taking risks means you might be unemployed, lonely or, wait for it, actually fail at something. Your perfectionism, festering resentment and suppressed inner-rebel make you grumpy and hard to please. Take some chances. Even if it’s just wearing socks that don’t match to work.
Leslie Hunter (Ally Sheedy) – Little Miss Play It Safe
You studied Accountancy knowing it would lead you to a secure, though largely dull, career. Your wardrobe is full of navy suits, knee length skirts and classic pearls. You haven’t changed your haircut – a bob – since you were 16. You got together with an ‘Alec’ (see above) in the first year of Uni because he seemed to know what he wanted and was a safe bet for a Middle Class future. Other boys were interested but they didn’t have prospects or plans and were too busy having fun at uni.
Deep down you long for adventure but wonder how you’d get the stains out of your real wool two piece and what people would think. Especially your folks who’ve built an actual shrine to your achievements above their fireplace. With candles and everything. Take a sabbatical and go trekking in Peru.
Kevin Dolenz (Andrew McCarthy) – The Idealist
At uni you joined every society going, especially if it had a liberal bias, involved saving rain forests or campaigning against Nestle. You shunned the mainstream uni clubs and pubs and preferred discussing Marx into the small hours over wine and cigarettes in the communal kitchens of your halls.
You work as photographer/journalist and are trying to write a book about the Dali Lama and the Tibetan Struggle. It’s hard work being this principled though, and sometimes you secretly like to stay in, scoffing (Nestle) chocolate by the bar and indulging in your dirty little secret – Sex In The City DVD box sets. The older you get the less you seem to know who you are – you even contemplated secretly voting Tory (or worst still, not voting at all) in the last election, prompting a few days of worrying introspection. Your heart’s in the right place but your head is another matter these days.
Wendy Beamish (Mare Winningham) – The Daddy’s Girl
Before uni you lived at home, during uni you lived at home, and now, some years after uni, you still live at home. You’d like to strike out on your own but that might take sacrifice, such as going without a car, paying your own mobile phone bill, or working full time. Occasionally you dip in to an internship, but only if it’s in something interesting like fashion or PR, or with someone your Dad knows who doesn’t mind if you take the odd long lunch.
Like the thousands spent on your education it never seems to lead anywhere, but deep down you don’t mind. If it did you’d have to move out and be accountable for yourself. You prefer the idea of it more than the reality. Which is why you don’t date either; you’re holding on for a “Billy Hicks” to notice you. Face facts, Billy is a no show and it’s time to cut the apron strings. Get out there, properly. Self-esteem awaits!
There’s an eighth? Well, technically, yes: Andie McDowell’s somewhat two dimensional character
A lady with a good job, model physique, naturally big hair and who goes on luxury skiing holidays with her doctor boyfriend. Her life is perfect. How inconvenient. We don’t talk about her. If anyone can please explain how on earth having it all is possible immediately post-uni, I’m all ears.