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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

Graduation. Just an insignificant little word if you think about it, but it signifies so much. An end of an era, the beginning of something completely new. You are about to be expected to be an adult… and pay taxes. For me, I’ve only started thinking about graduation recently. Not the best plan to wait until your fourth year to plan out your next steps but here we are. And I’m going to be honest with you, it’s terrifying. Every time I mention graduation I see eyes widen in fear, nervous leg tapping, a pleading expression asking me to stop. And I get it, I do. However, graduation is beginning to feel a little like Voldemort. “He who must not be named”. And names have power.

If you’re new here, welcome… to the end. This is my final episode, my final farewell. As a parting gift, I will share why I’m not (currently) hyperventilating over the idea of graduation.

So, I have ADHD (shock horror). Now you may be thinking, “Wow I had no idea!” or, more likely “How is this relevant?”. ADHD is dysregulation. Dysregulated hormones, dysregulated emotions. So why am I not panicking (more)? In short, it’s because I’ve already had my (BIG) panic.

I started panicking over the summer before my fourth year. I was working an internship in the careers service (a bit on the nose I know), and my job was to help other people figure out what they wanted to do with their lives and their degrees. So, like a good, capable, and responsible worker… I spiralled into a quarter-life crisis so intense that I became a hollowed-out husk of myself.

I started second-guessing all my life choices. Why did I go into science? If I stay in academia, will I be constantly battling my ADHD? And will my peers take me less seriously because of my limitations? If you’re here, you have likely already experienced the constant “you need to focus”, “get your head in the game”, and “I don’t think you can manage this” speeches. It was a constant struggle, feeling inadequate, never good enough. And I won’t say those feelings have dissipated, not in the slightest. But some grounding presences have helped me regain my footing a little.

Academic achievement doesn’t directly correlate with intelligence. Some of the best scientists I know were solidly average in university. It isn’t the grades that matter. What matters is curiosity, a certain degree of stubbornness, and proactivity.

I think a lot of us see graduation almost like a death (dramatic I know but hear me out). I felt like I was mourning the loss of something before I even started my final year. And it is an end, and it is sad, but it’s also an opportunity. I decided that focusing on it was going to turn me into a cave dweller, subsisting on junk food, and wallowing in my musty cocoon of self-pity. So, I started planning past it. I want a career where I get paid to be the “why?” kid. That one child you want to drop kick because the only thing they ever respond with is “but why though?”. If I get paid for it… no one can dropkick me. But I don’t have all the skills I need quite yet, so the next logical step for me is a master’s. But my summer is where I’ve decided to go crazy.

Planning for things that inspire and motivate you is a great way to combat the panic that is graduation. I decided to do something reckless but invigorating (I’m a walking stereotype, I know). I’m going to hike alone for a week, climb Ben Nevis, road trip around Scotland and maybe if I can afford it, travel abroad. All before I start a master’s. I have backup plans, places I could work if I get rejected, to improve my chances when I apply again, and most importantly, I have hope. I have the very childish idea that it will be okay if I work hard, be persistent and get just a little bit lucky. And anyway, just because we are growing up doesn’t mean we have to start being sensible and put together, not yet anyway.

So, if I survive this summer’s adventures, a whole host of new adventures await me next. That is all to say, you’re going to be okay. Let all of the rejections and criticisms fuel you, treat them as a challenge, not a hindrance. Succeed out of spite because you’ve worked so hard to get to the point you are and I for one, am so freaking proud of you. Stay funky, stay fresh, and thanks for reading, you’re going to do great.

Kiera Malham

Aberdeen '23

Hi, I'm a 4th-year Zoology student with a love for writing. I have far too many hobbies and love everything creative.