So I did a thing last week… I completed my undergraduate degree! My university journey has been a complicated and somewhat long one (which I won’t get into now – maybe in another post…), but on Tuesday I finally finished and I don’t quite feel how I expected.
I think I maybe didn’t expect as much of an anti-climax; people don’t tell you that graduating really is as simple as an hour sat watching a few speeches and other people walk across a stage, a 10 second walk across the stage for you to shake hands with someone, and then sitting and watching more people walk across a stage and some more speeches for another hour. Then you take some photos, maybe go to a drinks reception hosted by your particular school and talk for a while with friends and/or family. Finally, after a couple of hours of melting in your gown, you return it along with your mortarboard. And that’s you, graduated.
It’s a very long day, but at the same time it all happens in a blur. You chat with friends, try to remember to say thank you to all the people that have helped you along the way, think a little about all the other people you’ve met at university that are also graduating. And then you say goodbye. Goodbye to the buildings, the people who you know you probably won’t ever see again, and the friends who you hope you do see, but you know life may well take you in completely opposite directions. Then you go home, and come to the realisation that you need to change your Facebook bio from ‘student’ to something else. Then you wonder if everyone else has a ‘something else’ when you don’t. Then you worry that you’ll never find a ‘something else’, or have to settle for doing a ‘something else’ you don’t love instead. And then you get scared and start frantically applying for jobs anywhere and everywhere you can, including some that you really do want, and others that you hope to god they don’t actually invite you to interview for.
I think the thing you have to remember is that most people are in the same boat as you
So, what’s next for me? At the moment, I’m not planning on doing anything musical as a career. I know this sounds crazy after the all time it’s taken for me to get here, but I just feel like I need a break from it. Maybe I’ll come back to it in a few months (or years!) or do some casual teaching on the side – for now, I’m not ruling anything out. I’m currently looking into something PR/Marketing/Social Media based (a wide spread there, I know) and applying where I can.
I’m lucky that for me, there isn’t so much of an immediate rush to start building a career at graduate level as I’ve had a job for a couple of years now that I really do still enjoy. I really love writing, and this little corner of the internet is something I hope I can still find lots of time to invest in – between all the job applications, interviews and offers that *should* come flooding in any day now… (Potential future employers, I’m looking at you here!). And if one day this ends up being something I can do full time, then great; but if not, all I can hope is that I find something that excites me and I find fulfilling.
Was your university/graduation experience different from mine? Share your story in the comments!