So, last summer a pretty big thing happened to me, I graduated from University. It was the closing scene on years of hard work, post-it-note planning, stress-induced anxiety attacks and, most importantly, caffeine. It was the highest of the highs! Perhaps mostly because I spent the day with the people I love most in the world and had some very tasty Italian food from Don Marco. But also due to the relief of not having any more deadlines.
Now, here’s the thing. Once you graduate, there isn’t a thing anymore, there’s nothing. You graduate but are then thing-less. My life was writing essays, reading books, amending my scripts then all of a sudden I was torn form the city and plopped back to the house and the village I grew up in. The place I also grew out of.
Initially, nothingness is good. It was a time to play video games and binge watch those Netflix Marvel shows. But with your heart in another place, and no longer living off the student loan cheese, the craving for the opportunity to move forward and suddenly prove yourself the success that piece of paper says you are builds to desperation.
You don’t suddenly get the dream job you studied for. That isn’t a big statement, most people are aware of this. But you won’t get the backup either, or the backup to the backup. In fact there will be a struggle for the zero hours jobs that being a graduate you’re both under- and over-qualified for. You will end up scrounging for anything. I don’t know if this is because of the economy, the increase in graduates or simply having studied English and not wanting to suddenly become a teacher (maybe a professor, one day). I don’t have those answers but I do know that to get anywhere you just have to keep pushing. Drag yourself to the job centre and take the job in the toy shop. Learn things about people and that if their daughter doesn’t get a Hatchimal that you have ruined Christmas for them forever. Grow in unexpected ways from these challenges.
I’ve managed to move into the realm of full-time work. Career style. It’s not the career I was looking for. But right now it’s what I do and I find that it challenges me every day. Through it I’m starting to shape the life that I want in my fledgling adult years. It’s also giving me the chance to evaluate what I do want. Part of me keeps dipping a tentative toe into the pool of returning to university. To return to the place that made me. Partly in hope to get further into the career world I wish to be a part of (and by further I mean at least being able to see its hazy form on the horizon), but really I think it is because I miss my thing. My thing is writing.
So, graduating is hard, being an unemployed graduate is hard and then finally getting a job is hard, that’s life and whatever. But it’s not really the titles that matter. I am what I do and that should be what I want. So here I am, writing.