Not enough is said about the challenging time between graduation and starting that next chapter and back in July, amongst so many baby-faced graduates- I could have done with the advice on what, where and how…
The new year is around the corner and it has had me think hard. In the last 365 days, monumental events have occurred such as graduating and watching those closest to me graduate, amongst a scattering of minor moments that have been just as amazing. However, it has been a little tricky at times. From that last push at the end of the degree where you have a bit of that coursework analysis and one last viva voce but you have not one drop of fuel left. You wish it would just end and you could step with both feet first into that fruitful summer. But the big black tangle I suffered the most with was the post-graduation realisation that everything you have held onto so tightly these past three years is still there, but not in the same precious way.
Before I continue I just want to share that I know this is NOT the case for everyone and I am so glad it isn’t. But I know so many where it is and I was left confused as to why so little is said about it. Post.Grad.Blues.
University will always be the most vibrant and eye-opening moment of my life. The laughter until tears rolled down, the late nights that quickly swung into early morn, the filthy toilets that a quick hover would be required for and the squeeze of all 100 flatmates into one uni bed that was actually a camp bed from Wilko. I found part of who I am at Essex, and I found people who will now always be a part of me. Out of the many memories I have, the ones that happened within the concrete infrastructure that is Essex will never fade or wither.
UNI brings with it some challenges- how the **** do I use the laundry card? Perhaps if it gets too hard I should keep my washing nicely crumpled in a bag for life to take home for a spin? Or the low-level bickers between flatmates about the criminals who have left their Poundland pale blue plate and bowl on the side for around 5 and a half days without even edging it toward the brillo pad. Getting used to having to either know a code or carrying an electric card can become distressing when you’ve been out all night, had that cheese toastie on the way home and as you had the last blissful bite, out flopped your key. To the security office it is… another precious fiver gone. Did I care? Honestly, I didn’t!!
The first year is golden and sacred and if for some reason you are a fresher who is reading this post whilst sipping on flat coke to cure the need to throw up each and every VK- hold onto these days. Yes, it is true, they go quick but if you make the most of them, you’ll have them always. There really is nothing better.
The final term of final year…
Fast forward to May and the good and the bad of the time at University roll into one huge sentimental and unforgettable experience. The last deadline is close and the last Summer Ball is just after. It.all.is.going.so.fast.
I panicked. Now I know, that is just natural.
Graduation rolls around and embraces and smiles, photos and scrolls, families and friends and prosecco is passed around. The next couple of days after graduation are filled with the essence of cloud 9. But for me, a week or so after, UNI came to the final halt and I paused. I was actually upset, sad and dumbfounded that my closest companions and all that I knew was now concluded and I had to define my own steps from here. There was no employability lecture (that I shouldn’t have slept through) or term to finish. Adulthood was here and now. And, I was scared. Yes, I still am. The post-uni blues can feel like the heaviest of chains around the weakest of necks but there is solace in realising it is normal.
Then until now?
I have managed to talk about the sadness of leaving Essex and I have realised that admitting to myself that I actually wasn’t all that ready to leave was when I began to feel ready for what was next.
Now, I haven’t found my feet still, months on but each month more exciting parts of life fall back into place. What has helped this? This very thought:
Uni finishes but the experiences do not and neither does the relationship between you and your beloved flatmates. The new vibrant part is travelling to visit eachother in your hometowns, finding out how to secretly extend your NUS card and laughing with ya pals about the fact you can’t prepare your self for being the latter side of 21 and god forbid… 22!!!!
There is SO much more to come…
You have so much ahead of you and hard work and drive will have a part to play. But be easy on yourself and take time to laugh, reminisce and revisit. We are not just graduates urgently needing to work 100 hours a week, we are human and we have just been through a monumental change. If you feel down about it, that’s ok. You’ve done it and now you have many more ‘best memories’ to come.
Thank you to those who made UNI the best days I could have persistently wished for. You know who you are and I’ll be grateful for life x