University students in Iraq's class of 2004 are finishing final exams and about to graduate after a tough year that saw their country lurch from one violent cataclysm to another. The students will attend a few celebrations, where they traditionally sing songs and feast. But there will be no summer break for graduates wanting to find work in Iraq's precarious job market. For many, the pressures of adulthood have already begun. 'My responsibilities will be bigger and bigger in the future,' said Ali Qazem, a 22-year-old student of English among the 9,000 to graduate from Mustansiriyah University. 'I'm expected to be a man. Someone who graduates should bring money to his family. I really hope to find a job in the future.' Mr Qazem and his fellow students' hopes have been tempered by the harsh reality of political instability and an estimated unemployment rate of 60 per cent. Baghdad's class of 2004 has studied hard. The past year's security woes prevented students from socialising, ensuring their noses were stuck in their books. Asked if he had fun during his four years in college, Salwan Ali, who majored in business, laughed and shook his head. 'There were no parties and no girls,' he said. 'I just studied.' Donya Barazalji, a professor at Baghdad University, said the absence rate was just 2 per cent during the year. Once they graduate, the students are on their own. Few if any of Iraq's 20 universities can offer careers placement advice, or even a jobs bulletin board. Saad Kadhem, a spokesman for the Ministry of Higher Education, says the Ministry of Finance will try to place about 1,800 of this year's 70,000 nationwide grads into poor-paying but reliable state jobs. 'I'm not optimistic about my future,' said Amir Hossein, a 23-year-old about to get a degree in management. 'There's nothing. All the students are jobless.' Educators say English has replaced engineering as the most popular subject as students look to become translators for the coalition forces, international organisations or foreign media now in Iraq.