University is about learning new things, experiencing exciting places, meeting life-long friends from all over and challenging oneself at every single step of the way; however, the hardest part of university is not the degree itself but life after.
Obtaining a degree is far from easy; it is about locating oneself in unfamiliar surroundings, exploring one’s own intellectual abilities and attempting to make genuine friends from the get-go with individuals who are otherwise complete strangers. However, the hardest part of university, is the bit the everyone seems to forget: the weeks and months that follow when one’s degree actually ends. It is not the degree itself that is difficult to navigate, but more so what happens after it is all over and completed.
Graduating is the absolute goal of university; it is what everyone looks forward to as it marks the end of education for most. It is inevitable, at least in most people’s minds, that come graduation day, the hectic job hunt (rampage) begins. But, throughout studying at university, the end (and the real world) feels like forever away and suddenly it creeps up.
I’ve found moving home ‘permanently’ to be the biggest challenge yet alongside the process of what it actually means to be ‘finishing’ education. The most dramatic change being that my life no longer revolves around the academic year; and that feels strange, to say the least.
I’ve spent 16 (ish) years of my existence in the safe, at times monotonous, world of school, college and university. My year has always been planned for me: educational pursuits from September to June and ‘sleep-all-day’ throughout July and August. Much to my surprise, I already miss the anticipation and excitement that September has brought to me year-in, year-out. Now my life is full of freedom and that absolutely terrifies me.
However, the hardest part of university was actually moving home, saying goodbye to London (for now) and settling back into my pre-university life with my family back in Cornwall.
First of all,
Cornwall is simply not London. Let’s be honest here, it is pretty and all, but you couldn’t possibly use the words hustle, bustle and exciting alongside this idyllic, slow-moving (and ever-so-slightly-boring) county. They are polar-opposites. I miss my London lifestyle and what it means to live in the heart of a fast-paced city.
I have now lived by myself (in halls) for three years. I have eaten what I like, lived in a way that suits me and left my soggy wet shower towel on the floor from time-to-time without anyone nagging at me to pick it up. Since moving back, I get the continuous string of questions (or accusations, depending on how you look at it) that include: I thought you hated broccoli? Since when did you stop eating white bread? Have you worn that top two days in a row without washing it? Why do you use two separate conditioners in your hair, surely you don’t have to? How can one individual own so many coloured pens? Do you have to snooze your alarm for an hour before you actually get up? Etc. Honestly, it never stops.
the inescapable questions such as do you have a job yet? What are you going to do now? Where do you want to be in five years time? Did you know that the real world includes actual bills and real life adult-ing? Oh no, now you will have to start paying taxes and working for a living! Yes, graduate life is more stressful than being a student sometimes. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what I am doing to do with the next few years of my life; the feeling of freedom will soon wear off and the post-graduation honeymoon period will draw to an end. I am excited, nervous and open to suggestions; what have you done with your life since obtaining a degree or finishing education? Let me know here or leaving a comment below!
‘Home’ suddenly feels like a foreign place, which is incredibly disorientating and hard to overcome at times. I like my own company and after a long time away of simply doing my own thing, it is a struggle living with family members again.
The hardest part of university is the part that everyone looks forward to, the end and life after graduation.
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My advice would be listen to yourself. People are going to give you unsolicited advice about your degree, life, etc. Block out the negative and find the direction you want to go in, It takes a while to get established anyhow.
Thank you so much for this – sometimes I find myself worrying about what others think but then I remember that this life is mine and some decisions take time!
This is an interesting read for me. My daughter went through these same challenges. You describe them well. For some reason, I thought it was just her.
I live in the states.
Hello Janice! Thank you – it is a real struggle for a lot of graduates but I guess, it isn’t really talked about much. I hope your daughter is all well and good! Where about’s are you in the States? Channon!
Moving back in with parents is hard. But necessary. It makes you realize you want to move out and start your life. :)
It is most definitely a challenge – I am slowly getting used to it. For sure, I cannot wait to eventually move out once I decide what to do with my life!