Alyssa Shepherd addresses pre-graduation nerves, but instead of focussing on how sad she is going to be to leave university, to leave her friends or how nervous she is to start job-hunting and working, she has written a list of the positive things that will come with post-uni life and how she intends on approaching them.
Just over four years ago, I received my offer to study at the University of St. Andrews. It feels like only yesterday that I was opening that UCAS email with trepidation, fingers firmly crossed, in the hope that my dream university had accepted me. Yet here I am, having just submitted my fourth-year dissertation, with only one exam remaining before I have to leave this little, coastal town in Fife, undergraduate degree in hand (hopefully). The next two months will, inevitably, be a time of ‘lasts’ for all of the graduating class of 2018. Last pier walk. Last May Dip. Last day in the library (OK, that last one we can all definitely look forward to, but you catch my drift). It will also be a time when we have to say our goodbyes to our favourite lecturers and friends that we have spent the last four years of our lives with, if only for a little while.
In moments like these, we can often focus too much of our time and energy on thinking about these ‘lasts’ and ‘goodbyes’, instead of thinking about all of the new ‘firsts’ and ‘hellos’ that are waiting just around the corner for us. As students, we are also frequently barraged by people telling us that “university is the best time of your life – so don’t waste it!”, and how life post-university is miserable, mainly because we will no longer have a student discount in New Look anymore. With all of this in mind, instead of dwelling on the things that I will miss, I’ve decided to make a list of all of the things that I am looking forward to in life after St. Andrews.
1.) Free Time
Whilst the lack of “structure” to university degrees can be liberating, at times, it is often difficult to shake the nagging feeling that we should really be spending all of our time outside of class in the library, studying. The “free time” we do have often feels like it should be spent hitting the books, whilst weekends do not really carry the same salience as they did at school. After university, however, any free time we have will be just that; free time, after work and at the weekend. For most of us, we will be able to simply leave our work and assignments at the office, and home will be a place to relax in, a work-free zone.
2.) Activities – Old and New
Another aspect of post-graduate life that I’m looking forward to is having the free time to finally do activities that there has been no room for in my university life. As a humanities student, I spend most of my time reading about the subjects I’m studying. Reading for pure enjoyment and pleasure, however, has unfortunately fallen by the wayside, since I have come to associate it with work. Without weekly coursework assignments and group tutorial discussions, however, I will finally be able to get my teeth into some good fiction, and enjoy it.
Whether it’s working full-time or part-time during a gap year, we will finally be able to earn real money, from a real salary. I, for one, am looking forward to being able to pay for things with my own money, instead of from my government-funded student loan or monthly allowance from my parents. Although I will still have to pay for bills, and will also be starting to pay back some of that student loan each month, I’m looking forward to being able to afford things with money that I alone have worked to earn, and the sense of satisfaction that comes with that feeling.
4.) Meeting New People
Leaving university also means saying goodbye to the friends that we have made over the last four years, some for only a little while but others for quite a considerable amount of time as we all pursue different paths in our adult lives. Whilst this will be sad and difficult to do, we must also remember how many other wonderful people in the world are waiting to be met, just around the corner. In our new professional spheres, we will make exciting connections and expand our networks for future opportunities. Within these professional spheres, we will also make relationships with different people from our new cities and places of work, people who will also make new contributions to our personal growth as our friends from university did.
Bursting the bubble will be difficult. St. Andrews has been my home for the last four years. It has been a place where I have blossomed, both academically and personally, and where I have met a many people who have made such positive impacts on my life. Although I am sad to leave behind this part of my life, there is so much else to begin looking forward to. It’s time to close this chapter, and start writing the rest of the plot.