Life After University
Changes, Uncertainties, Post-Graduation Blues, and Where to Go from Here
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to go to university, so when it got closer, and eventually came around, I was ecstatic. In September 2014, I moved into my accommodation, and I remember feeling incredibly homesick for the first couple of weeks or so. There was this constant feeling that I was going to actually be sick, but after attending some lectures and talking to a few people, it all settled down.
University quickly became something I loved. I enjoyed the second year more than my first year, and when third year rolled around, I loved that time even before the previous years.
I made friends who are into the same things as me (or similar things at the very least). We share some opinions, but even when we don't, I feel like I can talk to them in a civil and very interesting way about our differing views. It didn't take me long to gain confirmation that taking a Creative Writing course was definitely the best decision, and I couldn't imagine going anywhere else, not just because of the friends I made, but because of the lecturers I had.
The entire experience was everything I could have wanted and more. My time at university was the most "me" I'd ever felt. I learnt a lot about myself, and it's safe to say that those three years of my life (especially the last two) were the best of my life thus far.
Leaving university, I didn't have a "next step." I didn't step into a career, internship, or anything similar. I didn't even really have a plan of how to get there, but I was, and I'm still, content with that. Having just left behind a part of my life that I genuinely loved, I didn't want to rush into the next thing and risk doing something I didn't enjoy and being stuck doing it for an extended period of time. I wanted to be careful with what would be my career.
Having a degree in Creative Writing means that I have some transferable skills. The subject itself, the lectures/workshops I attended, the people attending them with me, and the people teaching them all helped me to grow and learn. I can apply a lot of what I learnt to a lot of different jobs, and I can apply them to my personal life and hobbies. I feel like I got more out of university than just a degree.
So now that it really is over, and I haven't stepped into the next thing, I don't quite know what to do. Navigating life post-university is vastly different. I graduated in July 2017, and I'm currently in a retail job back in my hometown; there's nothing wrong with that. I have an income and I'm somewhere I know (somewhere familiar), but I miss university.
Don't get me wrong, I was happy to move on in life. I was content to get to that point where my schedule would involve going to work and not lectures. However, I miss what I'd created there. I had this routine. I built everything around when I had lectures/workshops and how much work I needed to do.
Sure, I wasted some days by getting up really late or just not doing much of anything, but for the most part, I had a routine and I felt productive. Right now, I don't have a routine because my schedule is different every single week. I wouldn't mind so much, but I'm someone who works best with some kind of consistency, even if it's only small. It's like I've come home and not really settled. I've managed to a little because I'm in the house I've lived my entire life and the bedroom I've been in for years. However, now that the start of a new (academic) year has come and gone, it doesn't feel right to still be here.
At this point in my life, it feels like I'm floating (or drowning, depending on the day). Everything is a little hazy to the point that it's hard to see what comes next. That's both intriguing and terrifying. I'm happy with my progress thus far, but it's also incredibly overwhelming. Some days it catches up to me.
I miss the life I created, and this transition period is hard, it's difficult to navigate. There's a lot of pressure, but there are things I'm trying to keep in mind, such as:
- Breathe. Sometimes, when I get anxious or overwhelmed, I have to remind myself to just take a moment. It doesn't always help for very long but just to have that split second of relief can make all the difference.
- Keep going, don't settle. Although it won't be the exact same, I can recapture some of what I had during that period of my life. I've not really lost all of it (I'm still the same person, I still talk to some people, etc.), but things have changed. Am I unhappy with certain things in my life at the moment? Yes, but I'm not going to settle for it. Keep moving, no matter how slow, and take steps (no matter how small) towards the desired destination.
- I'm still young, and the world is still spinning. At the age of 22, I'm still quite young. There's time for me to navigate myself through life. This is the perfect time to be unsure and to not be settled. The world is still spinning, and I need to keep spinning with it.
I know things will work out eventually. It's scary not knowing when or how many changes I'm going to have to go through before I get there, but deep down I know things will be OK eventually.