Freshers Week is finally over!
For a lot of people this time of the year is the start of something new. It’s exciting and terrifying and the end of an agonisingly long wait as Summer comes to a close.
For others it’s a return to familiarity as they embark on a year of study that was harder than their last.
However, there are some of us that can only see Freshers Week and the first semester of uni as one thing – a reminder we’re not students anymore!
If it didn’t hit you when you handed in your last assignment or finished your final exam, or even when you walked up in front of everyone and were declared an official graduate by the Chancellor, then it will now. That part of your life is now behind you. It’s time to move on.
Maybe that’s not the case for everyone. Some of you might be going back to do a Masters, or perhaps your university experience is one that you’re glad is over. For most of you, though, I know that isn’t the case.
So I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the five worst things about finishing university. Some of these points may or may not apply to you, it depends on what your situation was, but hopefully most of you can relate to what I’m saying.
And if you’re one of those lucky people that’s only just beginning their uni adventure, I hope you enjoy it. People aren’t wrong when they say it’s the best time of your life. Just know that this list may well be a sign of things to come…
5. A Bit of Spontaneity
How many of you reading this did something on a whim when you were at university?
All of you, I’d imagine. It’s part of what the experience is all about, doing things because the opportunity presents itself.
I can’t remember how many spontaneous nights out (or at least nights of drinking) I had across the three years that I was at Edge Hill. Nor can I remember how many times I called my friends up to see who was free and up to doing something. Anything.
University provided so much freedom that isn’t found elsewhere in life.
Depending on what course you took the timetables for the most part left you with a lot of time in the day to do whatever you wanted. You don’t get that when you’re in the working world, nor do you have so many opportunities to do as you please when the responsibilities hanging above your head grow bigger and bigger.
Sat here writing this I miss being able to walk around the corner and go somewhere with my friends, and I know that even if we were all still together we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do as much as we did when we were students.
It might seem like a little thing to some people, but it’s often the little things in life that you miss the most.
4. An independent woman
As I said before this list might not apply to everyone. This point in particular is focused on those of us who moved away to study at university.
I remember when I first told my friends at home that I was planning on studying outside of Norwich. Everyone was certain I would be dead within the year because I was the least independent person they knew.
To be honest I would have agreed with them. Nevertheless, when the time came I travelled halfway across the country to study at Edge Hill, and without a doubt it’s one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. All the work, friendships, nights out, etc. aside, the experience was so important for me in terms of maturing into the more independent person that I am today.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside.
It all worked a little too well, because now that I’ve had a taste of independence I don’t want to live any other way. Whilst that in itself is a good thing, what’s not good is that I cannot do that until I’m able to move out of my family home, and that’s not going to be happening for a while.
For reasons that I’ll go into later as I move through my top 5, I do not have the ability to leave home, which means I’m stuck living the way I was 3 years ago. Although being around family is not an issue, after a few months I’m starting to get tireless and am yearning for the opportunity to move out and live by myself or with friends.
I know that for a great deal of people this issue is all too real, and it’s one that feels like it’ll be years before anything changes.
I suppose it’s not all bad though. Home comforts, eh?
3. Any spare change?
The world revolves around it. Everyone needs it. Graduates don’t have it.
University was probably the first time most people realised just how expensive everything is, and how difficult money is to come by. Granted that realisation may have come when you were hunting for the spare change you needed to buy that bottle of vodka for your night out, but that doesn’t matter.
If the reality of paying bills, rent and every other cost you come across in life didn’t hit you when you were living in student housing then it definitely will now.
So much to pay for and so little to pay for it with. You can’t move away from home without money. You can’t go out and do (most) things with your friends without money. To be honest there’s not a lot you really can do without money. Not now that you’ve graudated.
It’s days like this when all the drama around student finance seemed like such an easy time. It was worth it for that extra bit of cash.
Guess it’s time to find a job then.
2. Stuck in ‘Limbo’
You’re not a student anymore, but you’re not employed either.
So what are you?
It’s the problem so many of us face when the excitement of graduation has passed and we realise that we need to start doing something with our lives. We’re so caught up in the buzz of the summer holidays and we just want to enjoy a little extended break, but at some point it has to end and we have to face the situation before us.
It can be a really tough time for a lot of graduates, especially if there’s still confusion about where you want to go with your life. For many people, too, it’s not just simply a case of finding a job, because so many of your applications get rejected for one reason or another.
Under-qualified. Over-qualified. Too inexperienced.
The list is frustratingly endless and it can be difficult to cope with when it feels like you’re no longer moving forward with your life. All those beliefs you had when you started university about job-hunting being easier once you graduate have definitely gone by this point.
Why did I ever think that? is probably what’s going through your head right now.
And even those who grabbed any job they could to fill their time because they needed the money can feel as though they’re in limbo. It can take a long time to finally feel like you’re making the right progress after graduation and, unfortunately, there’s just no way of knowing when that will happen.
Oh well, who needs to work right…?
1. Where are my friends?
The people everyone needs in their lives. Whether it’s 1 or 100 (or more likely somewhere in between), they make your day that little bit better.
Some of the strongest friendships you will ever have are forged in those few years spent studying together, but they’re not without their barriers.
*enter the end of uni and everyone moving away*
There’s nothing worse than moving away to university then coming back three years later to find that none of your friends live near you. Out of all my close course friends from Creative Writing I’m the only person that lives in the South, and it makes meeting up so impossible.
Meeting up requires travelling, which costs money, which requires me to have a job, which I can’t seem to get. Even when I do have a job I then have to take time off work to meet up with everyone. There’s just no way to win.
It’s the worst.
I don’t know how I would have coped at uni, particularly in my final year, without those friends. Having spent so long surrounded by people that you do everything with, it’s heartbreaking to suddenly be separated from everyone. It makes you feel extremely isolated, especially when meeting up with friends from home is also complicated because they’re all moving away or working all the time.
Some people might look at this and think being away from friends is not the worst thing about graduating. They might be right. It’s subjective after all.
But for me, if you truly had an amazing university experience then you would’ve made the greatest friendships whilst you were studying.
The ones that last forever. The ones that you can’t live without.