Although submitting my final uni essay was wildly underwhelming and probably the biggest anti-climax of my life, it marked an important moment in the closing of a season of life – and that season was university.
University has always been the goal, something I was taught to work towards since school. Something that has motivated, excited, scared and shaped me as an individual. It hasn’t been an easy ride, from the stresses of UCAS and results day, to pouring my blood, sweat and tears into my dissertation, it seems uni has always been punctuated by stressful times. Having said that, I cannot imagine my life if I hadn’t gone. It’s taught me so much, not only in an academic sense, but also about myself. I truly feel like I’ve found my ‘people’ and I really fail to see when I’ll actually leave Nottingham – the past three years have felt fundamental, and a time I’ll look back on with glee despite the moments of intense stress.
But having submitted my last assignment to Turnitin (just the name sends shivers down my spine), it warrants the question: what next?
I was struck by a feeling of, well, this is it now. This is the first day of the rest of my life. I won’t have to reference Chicago ever again, or cram in the library until the early hours of the morning, or even write an essay. This is all assuming I don’t do a panic masters, of course. As much as I feel excited at this prospect, it is scary. The safety that uni has provided over the last three years, where I don’t have to worry too much about the future and responsibilities are at a minimum, is slowly fading away. We are left to our own devices, bolstered by a degree that we’re not even sure we’ll use.
I struggle to imagine a time where I won’t be living with friends, staying up late watching films together or just hanging out. We need to get jobs, real jobs. Ones that require us to go to bed along with the rest of society, and don’t allow for those midweek pub trips that leave you more hungover than you intended. This is life now.
It does excite me, the freedom and everything that comes with graduating – apart from the whole job searching thing, that does not fill me with glee – but there is a sense that the chapter of uni is coming to an end, and it needs to be grieved. I think this time of transition, between being a student, and a functioning member of society is the most difficult. Trying to figure out where we belong, whilst adjusting to all the changes made when we graduate is not easy and it’s a time no one prepares you for. Suddenly, you’re thrust into the world with little but a laptop of seminar notes and a hefty student debt, expected to be straight on the corporate ladder and making the next steps. That may work for some people, but for me, I need a little more time.
I need a little more time to adjust to this new phase of life, where I’m young, but now I have responsibilities, bills to pay, houses to save for. I think this is just a mourning period. An awkward time in between where things aren’t settled yet, plans aren’t made, and this will take time. It’s only been a week since i finished my degree, I haven’t even left Nottingham and I’m already sad it’s over.
I’m sad it’s over, but this is the next phase of life, and though it’s filled with uncertainty and challenges, I am so excited to start this journey. But for now, I’m just happy to reflect on my university experience and embrace the time that’s left.