Dissertation, coursework, presentations, deadlines, final nights out and last coffees with friends that come from the other side of the country… The last couple of months in your final year at university are a very stressful and emotionally confusing whirlwind. The feeling of the unknown is a daunting prospect and throughout those three or four years you put to the back of your mind that it’s all going to have to come to an end.
I was lucky to feel so comfortable in my new home at Lincoln University and made friends that became my adopted family. You adapt to your new life and become a product of your environment; free to be whoever you want. I didn’t have my mum telling me I couldn’t get a disastrous spray tan that I would later regret when a child points and laughs at me when I strut out looking like I’d been chimney cleaning. If I wanted to go clubbing on a Tuesday night I wouldn’t bat an eyelid and live by the rule ‘just say yes’. The world was my oyster and I was on the path to success because I was one step closer to gaining a degree. Once I got that I’ll be able to get that flat in London with the exposed brick walls, next to a cute Parisian-looking café and become a swanky businesswoman in my designer suit. That dream was feasible because I was still in Lincoln, reading English Literature and doing what I needed to get that dream. Maybe I was naïve, but tell me a Literature student that isn’t a romantic.
We had to laugh on the day we all left, it literally felt like someone had died and we must have looked like a right tragic bunch sobbing on the street like kids that just saw the ice cream van drive off round the corner. All of a sudden you’re in the car and off down the motorway, going back home and embracing the real world after 3 long years of independence and self-discovery. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful when you get home and your family is ecstatic to have you back, spoiling you rotten and eating food that isn’t pasta or comes from a can. But, as to be expected, after a while your family wants you to assume your role in the house and hearing “yeah my friend at uni… That reminds me, this time at uni” starts wearing a bit thin. You start to forget names of people who weren’t a major part of your uni experience but they played their part, like the girl in the café next to the library who I had a chat with every day whilst she automatically made me a Mocha.
So back to that exposed brick in my flat and munching a croissant on my way to the office in London, it hasn’t happened yet. Getting that piece of paper with a number on it is just the start of your journey to success. The comfortable routine that you fall into at uni is broken and the most important thing to start doing is exposing yourself to everything and anything, making mistakes and getting back up without losing your determination. That first few weeks, even months, of applying for hundreds of jobs and receiving a polite but brutal rejection or worse, nothing, causes you to start wondering what those three years of studying and sobbing in Sainsbury’s was all about. However, if you’re willing to give up after the first hurdle, you don’t deserve to win the race.