CATFISH SCAMS UNMASKED

Alex Hobern on The CircleThe Circle’s TV social experiment shows Alex Hobern became ‘Kate’ and won the £75.000 reward. Three weeks indoors so contacts others by an instant messaging only.   to be themselves or catfish to pretend to be someone else to test the theory of how people see others online through social media. The circle tenants lived in close proximity on same tower block but not allowed to physically meet until after blocked elimination. And the docudrama reality TV was watched by the public who voted to select a winner. The media project highlights the online conundrum of people pretending to be a picture of another person to impress a potential date to love them. The admirer genuinely thinks the person is who they claim to be and falls in love with them. It leads to game playing with a victim’s emotions who trusts the photo image so much they invest their love, passion and interest to marry them. Once the victim is ” hooked” it leads to constant requests from catfish to provide the needs of the virtual partner in love with. So genuine desire of unsuspecting victim’s emotion played on by virtual partner influences them into deeper commitment and the urgent need to meet physically. The one duping the victims makes up stories to trick the innocent person truly in love with them. People are tricked to think they are speaking to a female or a man if its a woman. Scammer requests bank details, address, pin number pretending to share multi million inheritance with their victim. Another person revealed himself to be a man, blackmailed and threatened to kill parents coerced Ben to send sexual images performing sex acts live over video chat. Felt helplessfrom a man for three weeks pretending to be a girl, finds out information about every part of his life,” Ben’s father told Victoria Derbyshire programme, knew his family, nans, brothers, sisters and the school Ben went to. Everything they find used as information to manipulate him. The images and videos sent by Ben to the man was shared with five other men, who bombarded Ben with further demands. He felt so helpless and didn’t know what to do his father said. He is a different child now but did not know why. After two years meeting demands, Ben attempted to take his life leading the abuse to be uncovered. The main perpetrator was later jailed for four-and-a-half years so be warned and alert.

Alex Hobern on The CircleCHANNEL 4 constructed a whole new personality participants complete with a new face and new gender to show the viewers how this unfolds in real life. So  try to pretend to be another person for whole three weeks to group of strangers only met through an app. Every move is filmed and broadcast to the nation as a developed concept of big brother. Well that’s what Alex Hobern did on Channel 4 reality show The Circle won himself £50,000 in the process voted the winner by fellow contestants, and winning an extra £25,000 in the public vote. A brief recap for those who didn’t watch is the contestants were asked to create social media profile complete with biography and profile pictures and could either be themselves or massage the truth. Of the original six contestants, one woman knocked a few years off her age and one gay man pretended to be straight, but only Alex chose to take on a completely new identity. Some people criticised The Circle, saying it promoted the catfishing creating false persona to trick others online especially as Alex as “Kate” built up a close friendship with fellow finalist Dan Mosaku. A social media comedian Alex, 26, used girlfriend Millie’s picture to pose as Kate, told the BBC that wasn’t how he saw it. So in his own words, he explains his “rollercoaster” experience.

Alex/Kate’s story

I decided to detach myself from looks and my personality to create popular person I could. I could have been a guy, but I thought ‘let’s explore something different.’ I thought it will be interesting to be a woman on social media and look at the issues that brings. First of all I was going to use a model’s picture, but my girlfriend pointed out I’d need to talk about picture with conviction. Its completely her idea to use the picture. It helped me to have a more compelling story. It started off that I was trying to create the most popular person, but it developed into wanting to raise the awareness of social media fake identity. My audience is young, impressionable and so I thought The Circle was a safe environment to explore as we were told there would be people saying they are something they’re not. But when I was in there, that idea got lost quite quickly.Alex/ KateAlex use girlfriend’s photo to pretend to be Kate because when you’re stuck in a room for three weeks and you’ve only got eight people to talk to, you build up relationships with people. You forget they might be fake. After a while it does not matter because you’re interested in their personality. I was really wishing Christopher, actually 22-year-old called Sinead who used granddad’s photo, into existence. I think people felt that way about Kate. The personality was initially made up. I wrote myself a bio and tried to stick to it but I realised I was woefully underprepared. Like for example when Aiden a female contestant talked about snatching her eyebrows, I had no clue what she meant. And then we had to debate certain topics, like Brexit. I had my own views, and I’ve got a degree in politics, but I didn’t want to be belittling or patronising, so I played it safe.Alex Hobern and girlfriend Millie LoganAlex with his girlfriend Millie whose pictures provided the face of made-up character Kate. The same happened with some of the questions about sexual stuff. I thought ‘I built boring character, she can’t have a sexy side’ but everyone else thought I was just on the fence. So I found the whole situation mentally draining. I lost my appetite, ended up second-guessing everything I was writing on the app. I realised everything I said counted towards my rating. There were a few times I thought ‘I’ve had enough now, I’m going home to my family’. And it was difficult thinking the UK public might be against me, and Millie might have been exposed to the hype and the criticism. So I just thought ‘stuff it, I’m going to be myself now.’ I started having fun and I went up in the ratings against contestants to give each other marks out of five. Towards the end I think people figured something out and realised Kate’s personality had changed but they can’t have known the extent of it. I never wanted to glorify catfishing. In a safe environment we’d been told people might be fake. To me, catfishing is emotional manipulation but I played a fake character. I’ve been catfished myself before and I wanted to raise awareness of it in a controlled, social experiment. I had tried to protect Dan by friend-zoning him but I had to try to protect my game plan too. He may be a woman himself, for all I knew.Dan, a contestant on The Circle.Dan found himself getting closer to Kate who was really Alex. I was so nervous to meet him at the end of the series and was almost desperate for him to be my friend. We had to sit together in a small room alone for 35 minutes, which was one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do. The pair since met up for lunch and smoothed over the situation. It’s still not sunk in I won. I went into the final, thinking fellow finalist Sian had been top of the table to win. And when it came to public vote, I thought ‘I’m playing someone fake’ so I thought I had no chance. But winning showed me my personality as me after four weeks of being fake had been noticed.

Show’s psychologist says:

The TV psychologist Honey Langcaster-James worked with Channel 4 on the series as it was aired and on The Circle Uncovered, being broadcast on Tuesday at 10.25pm. She said the series showed those who weren’t being truthful ended up feeling guilty “when they realised a real human being was on the other end of the screen.”Finalists on Channel 4's The CircleContestants Dan, Sian, Alex and Freddie react to the news there will be a public vote during the final. “There was a real inner tension for Alex, between playing the game and grappling with the moral dilemma of doing that as he got closer to players,” she said. “But interestingly, Alex’s popularity as a player grew when he started being himself more. “I think it shows that as much as you set out to show this version of yourself on social media, people connect with you more when they know the real you that you think and feel.” She said, public voted for Alex to win because they saw the “journey” he went on during the show, and realised his deception “wasn’t being done maliciously in The Circle as Alex Hobern became ‘Kate.’ This experiment teaches people don’t depend on words from online “doctored characters” who con trusting innocent people linked to organised crime human trafficking. Do not give money to catfish scammers who dupe victims badly and disappear with money so learn from TV Circle.Alex Hobern on The CircleMany people lost millions dollars through manipulations of catfish so necessary to learn from TV Circle how social media affects lives. It’s interesting the older woman who pretended to be a young had a gut feeling about Kate and warned Dan in vain. Dan preferred to alert Kate of his suspicion but Kate reassured him there was no problem. This classic mistake gives feedback to catfish to convince victim harder and to dupe them more. Kate won’t have won without the emotional investment of Dan who truly trusted Kate’s words. This goes on daily online with scam letters, catfish photos used to deceive people to lure them to part with money to ‘help meet up’ and consolidate the relationship. Sadly damaged reputation of some online dating that hurt people badly who lost their lifetime savings. They lost trust in genuine people who date them later, as effects and scars of their loses is often projected onto them. Be careful and be aware not to make life commitment by the virtual photo of catfish. Dan learned the hard way just as many realised they were conned by men pretending to be women to dupe them. Some insecure about their size, weight, shape also use catfish to pretend to be a model or use a photo of another famous person online to deceive victim. Scam is revealed after they physically meet and see they do not look like photo used online. Others never find catfish scammer changing identity daily like chameleon to dupe people. Tell friends about potential relationships and listen to gut feelings of friends. Do not wear a love goggle blinded by manipulations to refuse to see sense to save yourself from online scam pain and hardships. 

More on this story

  • The Circle’s Dan: ‘I was furious about TV catfishing’
    10 October 2018
  • The Circle: Alex/Kate wins Channel 4’s reality show 9 October 2018
Advertisements

MONEY CHARMS TO BE RICH

Money charms to become rich is the trend some people use to get quick gratification in life. Love of money for vanity to buy material things is concept sold by capitalist as source of happiness and status. This idea affects people’s ego to compete so seen with latest gadgets, latest fashion, latest clothes, cars even if unemployed. Bondage yoke materialism puts some people under pressure to conform so accepted by peers in clicks or gangs. Mistake material possession is equal to value of life so lack of material things, “dehumanize” them so acquire it through dubious mean at cost of others. Its bizarre the least hard-working wants most expensive things due to jealousy and envy, laugh at those living humbly within their means. People perish for lack of knowledge. So paradigm shift to acquire wealth by any means necessary causes brilliant people to lose focus, not concentrate on skills, talents, abilities, to earn genuine honest income. Love of money for lust misguides some to look for such money sources instantly to fit into constantly changing trends. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “people be judged by CONTENTS OF THEIR CHARACTER” not by skin tone, class, race or fashion labels, price tags left on garments to show off brand. Martin Luther’s points out damage done to people not treated fairly. Some actively involved in money charm scams, due to pride, arrogance of entitled generation seeing themselves above “working class” reject physical normal jobs involving sweating or toil. So impatient want everything yesterday without knowing or understanding of principles of how long things take to be made and costs. Live in the moment, to be permanently high, enjoying life seen from their perspective as having fun. Its unrealistic pressure to own only latest constantly in fashion, cars, gadgets that lead to evil lifestyle bondage conscience obsessed to impress others to get Street credit. School textbook topics teach the capitalist model influencing young minds advertising sales contents shops calculate maths and English lessons etc. Compare old textbooks with classrooms disguised market generation shoppers. Money spending preoccupation has no ethics to save money, wait, earn enough to buy things NEEDED without instant loans or credit cards. Free access to money creates debt for people deluded by things of the world, grass is greener keeping up with Jones. Live this lifestyle for years but still empty because of void in heart. Look for fulfilment in wrong places, vulnerable to wiles of deception and entrapment into bondage. People struggling with self-worth taught to get self-worth from how much money they earn equals power. Grow up see others getting self-esteem from earning money. With lack of money, face life of struggle, end up feeling ashamed and humiliated for not enjoying the glamorous luxury lifestyle of others flaunted on TV and in newspapers. So see sophisticated luxury lifestyle of slavery and colonial masters enjoying wealth resources usurped copy lifestyle they cannot afford. Others feel they deserve to take back what the devil stole from them by exploitation resort to such methods. All wealth belongs to God so people are stewards entrusted with God’s wealth to provide for all. Do not seek vengeance on capitalists who dupe, hide billions, reward themselves in luxury. God owns all wealth so God’s business to deal with them, leave it for God Jehovah Jireh to provide for you in Jesus Name. Wealth will not save people as Jesus returns to judge they will throw wealth in caves trying to hide from God.  

The Bible says in last days people will go to and fro in wrong places looking for happiness and enjoyment to feel good about themselves. People want an unrealistic virtual lifestyle not real life existence within God’s will and plans or purpose. Love of money is root of ALL evil as Bible says leading these innocent people to sell souls to spiritualists, witch doctors to get instant money. Money has conditions attached, destroy themselves or others initiated. Innocent people are victims in bondage as the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. So naive, greedy children lured into dark forces by a love of money not realising they get into evil satanism too late. So devil goes for best people’s destiny to destroy and disgrace the family. Ironically, families sacrifice to provide needs so lack nothing from a good home with loving parents, orphan, divorced, widows, poor given all family has. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is met beyond basic necessity so live in luxury but bored, restless seek illusion to have fun in wrong places, entangle lives with the forces beyond control. accompanied by nightmares, evil spirits follow them daily to torment them. Seek deliverance since they got more than they bargained for. Money charms continue working by demanding human sacrifice blood to keep potency or lose everything. They do not become rich or established with charmed money, spend it recklessly as instructed to buy clothes, shoes, drink, smoke, do drugs live a lustful lifestyle. Gain the whole world but lose their soul to devil tormenting them changing rules demand to control them gets worse and deeper in marine initiation meeting satan who gives assignment to kill loved ones and relatives for money. So money contaminates real money causing loss to genuine money mixed with money in bank saving through purchases. So evil spirit money in shops changed sends original money back into evil wallet. So empty coffers of hard-earned money people have. Necessary for good success by entrusting money into God’s HANDS to protect your finances in Jesus Name. Jesus warned there will be lawlessness lack of respect for parents, family in-laws without fear of offending people. The witchdoctor initiation controls their minds secret life is hidden from family members. Loved ones from good family targeted by friends who recruit initiate them. Quantification of the value of life lures people under pressure to destroy others to make satan happy with their pain. As pawns, realise their mistake so run to God for help after coming to their senses. Go down a destructive path, lose friends who died recognise they are next unless urgently delivered in Jesus Name. This time evil spirits fights and struggles with them not to seek help because evil spirits will be cast out. To denounce evil spirit seek deliverance from a deliverance church. Jesus came to destroy all works of devil to DELIVER people from all destruction. Find pastors who deliver you without charging money. Give thanks and Glory to God, Jesus Christ through Holy Spirit. Change sim card, delete online contacts porn sites, bad friends and live actively under deliverance pastor’s anointing. Divine cover of Spiritual father in Christ in church, read to study Bible, maintain deliverance living according to word of God in Jesus Christ Name. Praise God.

TRAIN CHILD FOR LIFESKILL

The Bible says train a child in the way they should go so when they grow they will not depart from it. Especially boys are struggling because they do not express their real feelings for fear of being judged weak. This program is wonderful so must continue through teenage years into adulthood. Limited resources must not stop mentoring them at the most critical times in their lives. Like other Science projects of Professor Robert Wilson among others this program must continue for the next few more years so their hard work will not be in vain. This men are doing a great job and need sponsors to extend it further beyond childhood. It will be good to follow up throughout their teenage and adult years so they retain their knowledge and manners. Other peers and friends that come into their lives later without similar training can influence the vulnerable ones. So need help and support of well wishers to continue this program into teenage years, university, training for skills, careers to transition into adult life. Programmes like First University of the Child and Connections in the Secondary Schools enable children to get the right guidance required. In the past projects were limited to 4 years funding if run by government and then changed into another project for the sake of funding conditions. This is not sufficient long term to help them fully grasp life goals for good success. Their contemporaries often get private fundings to develop practical life skills to continue into business men or the chief executives of corporate bodies. While this program is highly valued and appreciated, please let it not be another statistics of 1% success years later because others drifted off. Coach Carter stood by his basketball playing students in their teenage years despite challenges faced. Please continue this hard work into the future so we look forward to more success from this story. Please ask for more help if you need it to support this program. If you can help please do not wait to be asked first because this good success impacts the community and nation as a whole. Well done and God bless you for your sacrifices and precious times devoted to helping these priceless children. Please encourage their reading skills and academic studies too like Coach Carter. EYE CONTACT IS CRUCIAL BECAUSE OTHER CULTURES TEACH CHILDREN OUT OF RESPECT NOT TO LOOK DIRECTLY INTO EYES OF ELDERS. Misunderstood by Western Countries as “lying” unable to keep eye contact, picked on needlessly, harrassed by law enforcement, lacking important knowledge to understand the difference in the upbringing of children by other cultures. This Instagram photo by @bayouredd

PLASTIC FREE PARTY CHOICE

Lindsay and Glen

Lindsay, 36, a writer from Kent, and her Australian husband Glen, 38, first tried living without plastic in 2012. It started out as a month-long challenge so turned into a way of life for the pair who live in Perth, Western Australia. “I’m more the driver than him but we got involved at the same time,” she says. “I’m the one that puts in more work but he agrees with all the values.” So going plastic free for their wedding, in 2014, was a no-brainer.Table decorationsPlastic finds way into weddings in many forms of food storage, drink packaging, decorations, flower delivery – that’s just the start. For Lindsay, who blogs about living without waste, trying to make her special day plastic free came first ahead of any other wishes. “We said we want to be plastic free ‘how can we do that,’ rather than saying, ‘We want roses, we want to have canapes, can we do plastic free memorable but not break the bank. Simplicity was key. To me simple means no fuss and devoting whole weekends to projects was out, says Lindsay.Food menuInvolving suppliers from outset was the most effective way of making a plastic-free event happen, she says. “It’s really about having conversations with people and explaining why you want to do it. People are willing.” But its about taking matters into you own hands. “If you get stuff delivered to you, that’s when it comes in packaging. It was making sure on the day we went to all the deli, the bakery et cetera so we could guarantee there was no packaging.” Eco Wedding Styles done includes recycled materials.Wedding decorations

  • Invitations: electronic, sent via email or Facebook
  • Flowers: freshly picked by family and friends from their gardens, arranged in old jam-jars
  • Decorations: borrowed lace bunting from old tablecloths and curtains • tins fished out of recycling bins and wrapped in twine and in hessian ribbon, which was also used for table runners • hired tablecloths and tea cups • bought beeswax candles in jars
  • Food: local businesses focused on locally sourced produce • hired pizza oven • cakes from a bakery that didn’t use plastic packaging • Indian snacks donated by a friend as a wedding gift
  • Drink: tap beer and cider • local wine • pre-made soft drinks served in jugs • loose tea and coffee • no straws
  • Tableware: venue’s own crockery and cutlery (although having pizza minimised amount needed) • borrowed glasses
  • Gifts: guests told not to buy presents – to avoid any waste and wrapping
  • Dress: rather than spend hours trawling charity shops, the bride bought a High-Street dress she wore again and then sold on eBay
  • Hair and make-up: used make-up bride had • washed hair with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar
  • Favours/confetti: did without it

Lindsay and Glen's weddingLindsay and Glen married local bowling club in Perth Lindsay accepts achieving a 100% plastic-free wedding also meant relying on other people. For wedding, they hired a pizza oven and used a local deli to provide fresh ingredients without plastic packaging but did they know what went on behind the scenes? “It’s possible some plastic that I didn’t see… whether he got a packet of salad in a plastic bag, I don’t know were counterbalanced by air miles required to fly her family albeit just four people to Australia. “In hindsight, I should have fallen in love with the guy in the village – but I didn’t,” Lindsay jokes. “I fell in love with a guy in Australia, so it’s one of those things you have to compromise. My parents, my sister and brother flying out for a wedding – it’s a one-off.” They did decide to have the wedding as local as possible in the city of Perth, rather than the countryside, to reduce driving distances. How difficult for Eugenie to achieve? Wedding planner Katrina Otter says working with the right people is key, as some of the more “old-school suppliers” are less keen to adapt. “Make sure you have the right team on board, work with a team willing to do it or one where it’s already part of their ethos.” She adds: Bride and groom might not know plastic involved cutlery wrapped in cling film. No royal wedding is complete without a vibrant floral display.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving the chapelFlowers were a big part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding day And, traditionally, a key part of those has been the floral foam – the bricks of green, spongy foam that provide a foundation for floral arrangements, as well as a water source. Katrina says finding an alternative to the non-biodegradable plastic material has become a big issue for the industry and many florists are looking to do it another way. The florist who created the displays for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, Philippa Craddock, says she didn’t use any floral foam for their big day. The number of couples requesting plastic-free weddings is on the rise, says Katrina, although it remains a small proportion. Another issue to consider for any bride having live TV coverage is the hair and make-up. Kate Arnell, who blogged about her zero-waste wedding, in 2014, says she found it tricky to find plastic-free make-up and hair products. There are a lot more available and since swapped to plastic-free alternatives she says. Whether Princess Eugenie opts for Lindsay’s bicarbonate of soda, vinegar concoction on hair yet to be confirmed. Eugenie wedding wants plastic free on big day. In addition to venue, food and drink, music, the dress, hair and make-up, a bride’s checklist goes on. And also Princess Eugenie added another factor into equation her wedding to be plastic free. The Queen’s granddaughter, who is marrying Jack Brooksbank on 12 October, told British Vogue the couple’s house was anti-plastic and want our wedding to be like that as well.” So how realistic is it? Lindsay Miles discovered, there are quite a few things to take into consideration. If it is just one day, why bother? “A wedding is such a significant day that it’s even more important to be true to your values than on any other day,” says Lindsay. “You can’t go back on your values just because you’re getting married.”

  • Are you ready for another royal wedding?
  • WATCH: Five ways to break up with plastic

Related Topics

FASTFASHION HARMS EARTH

ClothesFast fashion is harming the planet, MPs say environmental impact of disposable clothing in perfect condition needs to be tackled urgently.  Young people’s love of fast fashion is coming under scrutiny of Britain’s law-makers. MPs say fashion industry is major source of greenhouse gases overheating the planet. Discarded clothes are piling up in landfill sites and fibre fragments are flowing into the sea when clothes are washed. The retailers admit more needs to be done, but say they are already working to reduce the impact of their products.Graphic: Numbers on our consumption of fashion

What do MPs say?

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee says there is a basic problem with an industry that relies on persuading people to throw away good clothes because they are “last year’s colour.” Psychilogical manipulation of a person feeling left out if not wearing the latest clothing means some even wear an item only once. So do not want to be seen photgraphed or attending function in same clothes. Those who do are even mocked and laughed at by their peers. It has serious consequences because it is affecting the environment. It quotes evidence that:

  • British shoppers buy far more new clothes than any nation in Europe
  • People buy twice as many items of clothing as they did a decade ago
  • Fish in the seas eat synthetic fibres dislodged from the washing

The MPs have written to the UK’s top fashion bosses asking how they can maintain the £28bn benefit their industry brings to the UK economy, while reducing the environmental harm. They believe swift action is essential, because if current clothes consumption continues “…they will account for more than a quarter of our total impact on climate change by 2050”, chairwoman Mary Creagh told BBC News. “Three in five garments end in landfill or incinerators within a year that’s expensive fuel! Half a million tonnes of microfibres a year enter the ocean. Doing nothing is not an option.”Second-handMore clothing must be re-used or gifted

What are the solutions?

The committee’s report to government could include a call for the fashion industry to create less pollution, a demand for longer life for garments and a ban on dumping clothes in landfill. The MPs also have concerns about social impacts. They believe fast fashion is fuelling quick turnarounds among suppliers, which may lead to poor working conditions. Among their questions to retailers are:

  • Do you pay the living wage and how do you ensure child labour is not used in factories?
  • Do you use recycled materials?
  • How long do you keep clothes, and how do you encourage recycling?
  • Do you incinerate unsold or returned stock?
  • How are you reducing the flow of microfibres into the sea?Presentational grey line

The Retailers Response?

Peter Andrews, head of sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, told BBC News population growth and increased demand have led to an increase in the overall volume and environmental impact of clothing. But said members are now designing products that are made to last, and they are encouraging customers to return unwanted clothes for reuse. “We know more needs to be done, but the best answers will be achieved with collaborative global actions.” The companies approached by MPs are: M&S, Primark, Next, Arcadia, Asda, TK Maxx and HomeSense, Tesco, JD Sports Fashion, Debenhams, Sports Direct International.

Science & Environment

3 SINGLE PARENTS UNITED

Watch the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 BST on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel in the UK and on iPlayer afterwards.

Family & Education

  • 4 October 2018

MY LIFE AFTER UNIVERSITY

Kevin BrochMy life changed after university moving home, losing friends, broke unemployed after university. Kevin Broch left uni. with a short feeling of relief and a sense of achievement, followed by a long feeling of being lost. It’s the end of university and, if luck is on your side, you have had the best three years of your life. The nightlife was amazing; you’ve made lots of new, life-long friends, spending hours in the library on coursework and preparing for exams. Hopefully, this has paid off but what now? This is question many students ask themselves when they graduate but few realise adult life is about to come down on them like a tonne of bricks. When Kevin Broch graduated from Royal Holloway University of London, in 2015, was looking forward to leaving uni and beginning professional life. But, the feeling of hopefulness soon turned to helplessness.

‘Heartbroken’

Now a successful music producer, Kevin says teachers prepared him for leaving college and entering university – but when university comes to an end “no-one tells you what is next now it’s down to you. “I had short feeling of relief and a sense of achievement followed by long feeling of being lost,” he says. Many students say the final year of university tends to be the most stressful and that they can’t wait to hand in dissertations and be done with it.

Claire GambleClaire Gamble found it really hard to meet people or settle into new life after university

But leaving can feel like an anticlimax, and that unique feeling of excitement, stimulation and freedom that university provided can be hard to replace. Claire Gamble, 33, says: “I felt heartbroken moving out of my house on last day of university I couldn’t stop crying.” After four great years of living independently and making solid friends while studying at University of Sheffield didn’t know what was happening next. Claire is not alone. Loneliness seems to be common feature of graduation blues. Kayleigh Rattle, 31, graduated from Warwick University in 2008, says: “Never forgets indescribable loneliness felt leaving university. “And, actually, I try not to think about the experience too much today because it still triggers a wistfulness so palpable for a time that’s now passed, and happened a decade ago.”

New identity

Many students aren’t ready to say their goodbye to close companions when they all go home. University prepares young people for transition from adolescence into adulthood but not the realities of working life? Graduate employment rate stands at 82% according to the Office of National Statistics in 2017, so it takes time to secure a fulltime job. So after three years of relative freedom, hordes of students will probably find themselves packing their bags and trundling back home to their parents’ house. Kayleigh says: “I really struggled with that – having a curfew again, not being able to sleep in the same bedroom as my boyfriend, and, I felt, being treated like a child again.”

Kayleigh RattleKayleigh Rattle describes university as combination of indispensable relationships and learning

This feeling of stepping backwards can be an extra incentive to find a “proper job”. Carolyn Mumby, counsellor coach with British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, says: “The return home can feel like trying to squash yourself back into the shape of your previous self. “It can be challenging to maintain your autonomy. “You may be challenging autonomy of your parents and carers who have adjusted to life without you living at home. There is a renegotiation of roles and relationships. Sophie Phillipson, 27, felt “ovewhelmed” and “nervous” at the prospect of facing adult life. She went on to found the website HelloGrads, which offers skills to help ease the transition from education to working life. She says: “You come out with a good degree and then reality hits. And it’s quite difficult because you think you’re going to get a good job, if you don’t, you can become overwhelmed.” Emily Williams, 24, and a Sheffield Hallam graduate, took a job that was really disappointing. She says she used to walk to work every day and think: “How can I get slightly injured, not enough to be seriously hurt or die, but just enough so I don’t have to go to work?” She suggests people take time to find out what they want to do. “There is absolutely no shame in going back home and getting a job at your local supermarket whilst you figure out what your passions are,” she says. “Don’t feel like you should already know what you want to do.”

Julie and Sophie PhillipsonSophie Phillipson, and her mother, Julie, set up website HelloGrads to help other young people transition from university into adult working life

Sophie says: “There’s a lot more to consider than you first think – and nobody tells you. “Money is constantly on your mind and there is a huge pressure to succeed from your parents, even though they have the best intentions.”

‘Blagging it’

Student fees tripled in 2012 and Sophie believes this has a part to play in the pressure students place on themselves to succeed and make their degree “worth it.” Social media doesn’t help. “No-one posts the countless rejections they faced to get to their position,” Sophie says. But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Graduates are still likely to be employed than people with fewer qualifications. Claire says that although leaving university was tough, 12 years on she is settled, has a family of her own and a successful business. She believes young people shouldn’t expect working life to be like university. But should “embrace new challenges, because your next adventures are just beginning.” Emily seconds this and says: “No-one has a clue what they’re doing. People in their 30s tell me they don’t feel like proper adults yet. “Everyone is going with the flow and blagging it as they go.”