It’s almost been three months since I handed in my last piece of university coursework. It was a group project for our Investigative Journalism module. While it was a topic that my group members and I were hugely interested and passionate about, it took a lot of hard work and stress to complete the final project. So when we finally submitted it, it was a great feeling!
But there was a greater significance to this particular coursework – it was to be the last one we would submit for our undergraduate degrees. For me at least, there were a lot of mixed feelings. It was strange knowing I would no longer have to complete any work for my degree, but I also felt a sense of euphoria; I’d actually done all I needed to do!
And then there’s graduation. It’s a beautiful day spent with family and friends to celebrate the achievement of getting your degree. You get lots of photos and congratulate the other graduates – it really is truly lovely.
Then it all starts to kick in. You start to realise that it really is over and that you’re not going back to do another year of your course. It means that you need to figure out what’s next in your life, whether that’s a postgraduate course, going travelling or a full time job.
I know just as much as anyone that it can be a hugely stressful, uncertain and confusing time. After years of being at university, it’s time to go into the big, bad world. Some people have their plans set in stone before graduation, and that’s great, but others don’t and that’s also fine.
It’s so easy to compare yourself to what others are doing, and that’s one thing that makes things so much more difficult. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past couple of months since finishing university, it’s that each person is on their own journey. One graduate might have had it all figured out before submitting their final coursework, another might secure a job a couple of months after graduation, and another might not find anything for a year.
None of those scenarios are bad or good – they’re just one of many that a graduate may find themselves in after university. While it may be tough, no path is invalid; after all, we’ve all done exceptionally well to achieve our degrees in the first place.
In a lot of ways, I’ve learned more lessons outside of the classroom post-graduation about what challenges life throws at us. It’s not always going to be easy, but at some point, you will get where you need to be.