A Mickey Mouse degree?
Sam Noonan graduated in English and media studies from Sussex University in 1993. "I wanted to go into TV production - being a researcher appealed to me. I thought people would snap me up, but that's not the case." Five years on, she is working at American Express in Brighton, after a stint selling Eurostar tickets.
"I enjoyed the course. But it doesn't equip you professionally at all. It was academic, not vocational. The first year we dabbled with a few practical elements - TV and radio editing, floor managing. We didn't touch on writing for print journalism. It was entirely academic theory: film studies and film analysis. I realise now that I should have been involved with the university newspaper; experience counts for more."
Noonan has not been entirely unsuccessful in her aspirations. "I worked on the news desk at The Financial Times for a few weeks. And in PR as a picture desk editor." But she left both disillusioned. "University courses should prepare you for the environment. There's this image that it's glamorous; I found it superficial, unfulfilling, cut-throat."
She has now decided to do a PGCE to teach A-level media studies, where she will do her best to disperse the stars in her students' eyes.