SO THAT’S IT, I’M NO LONGER A STUDENT
and I can’t really tell you how I feel because the truth is, I feel a whole bundle of emotions. I’m excited to start my career and wave goodbye to exams, but I also feel, well – lost. And I guess that’s the thing when you’ve spent the majority of your life in a comfort blanket that is education. It sounds cliche, but leaving education behind feels like I’m living in limbo; waiting for the next chapter to start.
Ever since I can remember, I always knew I wanted to go to Universty. I wanted a degree and I enjoyed being in education so it was a natural path for me to take. However, after finishing my A levels, I realised I didn’t actually know what I wanted to study at degree level. So, I rushed my application (or more like, was rushed) and applied to study an Art Foundation course, followed by a degree in Theatre and Costume Design.
For some reason shortly after, I panicked. Was Theatre design really what I wanted to do? What if I couldn’t get a job with that degree? What if everyone else was a better designer than me? Anyway, I canceled my application, took a ‘gap’ year and applied to study English Language and Communications and English Literature the following year.
If I wasn’t going to study an Arts degree, there was no other option than to study English. At the time, English was my second love, Art was the first of course, but since then, my passion really lies with writing and I know I made the right decision choosing a humanities degree.
During my first year, I had the option to try other humanities modules such as History, Creative Writing, Philosophy and many more, so of course, I chose to try Creative Writing. I had no idea there would be so many options.
When it came to choosing my degree title in second year, I dropped English Langauge and Communications and decided on majoring in Literature, with a minor in Creative Writing. My mind was constantly changing and even now, I wish I had of majored in Creative Writing as well, but, what can you do?
The point is, choosing what you want to do with your life is not straight forward. There are few lucky ones out there whose lives go to plan but for most of us, there is no simple route to take. It’s really a case of trial and error.
However, I am more than happy to officially call myself a graduate, knowing that I worked hard towards obtaining a degree. Plus, I got to wear the robe that I’ve always wanted to wear, even though I felt like I was being strangled the whole time. I definitely felt like a member of the Harry Potter cast, and I know I wasn’t the only one. The hat, however, was an absolute nightmare and drove me crazy, not to mention the fact it gives you the worst flat hair. Not good.
But apart from that, (and getting my heel stuck multiple times) it was a moment that I’ll always be proud of. Hearing your name being called and then having to scurry across the stage, awkwardly shake hands and then avoid eye contact with the crowd whilst making your way down the centre of an extremely long aisle (seriously, it felt like it wasn’t going to end) was all so, so worth it.
Maybe I’ll study for a Masters and do it all again one day. Maybe.
Right now, I am looking forward to starting my career and gaining some structure in my life. For me, that is the hardest part about graduating. Knowing what I’m doing, where I’m heading and why has always really helped me to stay focused. As I mentioned previously, suddenly I’m not sure where I’m heading. I know where I want to be and what I want to do, but it is the challenge of getting there that daunts me.
The truth is, graduating is such a personal achievement but in the working world, it has made me question whether going to University was worth it or not. I don’t regret my decision, but there are things I wish I had of known before starting a degree. Although I worked part time throughout my studies, I wish I had focused on getting the right experience. I wish I had of known how competitive and hard it is out there to get a job. And I wish I had the option of doing a work placement.
I finished University back in early May, after sitting my final exam. Since then, I have felt confused, lonely, frustrated and all other kinds of emotions. From attending classes and socialising, to suddenly spending every day alone, working my way through every job site, I felt lonely. There were moments in which I felt like a failure compared to others. I was frustrated when I didn’t hear back from job opportunities, or upon hearing that I didn’t have experience.
I have since realised that thinking negatively isn’t going to get me anywhere. All the interviews I have attended are learning experiences; they’ve toughened me up and have taught me that if you really want something, you have to work hard to stand out. Really hard. But most importantly, that I need to believe in myself and my ability.
Over the last few months, I have been stuck wondering whether I should take any job, no matter what it is, just to stay in work, or to persevere with applying for jobs I actually want to do. It’s a constant conflict that I battle every day. At the moment, I’m persevering because I’m in a comfortable position to do so. I think it is so easy to lose sight of your goals and get stuck doing something that doesn’t motivate you, or make you happy. It’s easy to see those around you doing well, which makes you question your worth. I’ve fallen into that trap, and it’s not a nice place to be.
My goal right now is to continue writing and to not lose focus. If in a few months time, I take on a role which ideally isn’t what I want to do, I’m not going to give up. Opportunities arise all the time when we least expect them, as long as we keep looking.
If you are a fellow or future graduate, hang in there buddy. Life as a graduate isn’t as rosy as it is made out to be, but things will get better. It’s an exciting and stressful time. There’ll be times you’ll wonder if you have any motivation left but don’t beat yourself up about it. Just remember you are not alone; whatever it is you’re feeling, chances are many others feel the same way too. Stay positive, be patient and don’t give up. Don’t expect to be handed what you want on a plate, it’s not that easy, but everyone has the chance to succeed if they work for it.
Oh, and surrounded yourself with people who support you. Anthony and I met during Freshers Week; he was a third year student and I was a naive first year. I remember supporting him through his job searches when he graduated, and now he does the same for me and I’m extremely thankful.
So, that’s it. I’ve thrown the hat in the air so it must be official. I didn’t expect to feel quite as proud of myself as I did. It all feels very real now.
Love Georgie ♥