Life beyond education.

Today is results day for college students in the UK. It’s the day when they find out whether they’ve been accepted to university or not. So, in light of today, I thought it would be appropriate to publish this post. I’m nearing the end of my educational journey, and this is what I’ve overcome. Enjoy.

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Over the years, the ‘student’ label has been both a cause of great anxiety and comfort. From exam pressures, to the reassuring notion that you don’t have to have everything figured out, it would be fair to say that I’ve loved and loathed many moments. Yet, as I write to all of you, I know that I will miss the feeling I have when I walk into university or hand in an essay that I’d been struggling to write. For not every student is able to deal with the stress that coincides with academia, but that doesn’t mean that they will always be happy when the time comes to say goodbye.

When I started college, I officially started to call myself a student. Maybe it was because I’d chosen to be there, unlike the previous 11 years of school and compulsory p.e. The problem is, I don’t really know, nor would I remember. Back then, I only seemed to care about the highlighters in my bag, and whether or not I had  remembered to put post it notes in the book that I was being forced to read. I didn’t have my sh*t together, but I wanted to pretend like I did. And in my true nerdy fashion, well-organised stationary was the way forward. I’m sure someone else will agree with me, right?

Fast forward two years of hell…

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My 18th birthday!

I wish I was being dramatic, but a-levels were categorically, without a doubt, the worst two years of my life. I had fun turning eighteen, going to the odd party and getting to drink some alcohol with friends, but that didn’t stop my mental health from being anything but healthy. By the time the exams were over, I was both relieved and tired. I wanted a fresh start, but I was also daunted by the prospect of such a big change. Leaving college meant saying goodbye to a lot of familiar faces. A collection of friends who had been a support system for seven years.

Suddenly, the thought of embarking on the next adventure – the next ‘educational’ adventure, made me feel nervous. When you’re five, you take your first steps into the unknown. You let go of your parent’s hand, and if you’re like me, you cry as you walk away. But then the tears dry up, and you make your first friend. It’s easy when you’re five, less so when you’re not.

Fast forward two more years aka ‘The light at the end of the tunnel*…

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A celebratory meal for finishing our 2nd year of uni.  My closest friends, the ones who are also pictured in the photo above. I guess I shouldn’t have worried about the goodbyes after all.

So, it’s officially summer. In fact, it’s been summer for about a month now and I’ve quickly resumed my sleep too much, and then feel guilty, routine. I’ve even received my ‘yet to be confirmed’ yearly grade…A FIRST! So, whilst I let that sink in, I’ve been doing A LOT of thinking. ‘What am I actually going to do with my life?’ kind of thinking.

It will come as no surprise to most people that I have a plan. I’ve had a plan all along. An ambitious, yet hopefully achievable, career path aka publishing. As of right now, I wouldn’t care whether I’m publishing non-fiction books about gardening, at least I would be a part of the elusive bookish world. The place where internships aren’t feasible, work experience is limited, and the prospect of working in the local Waterstones is even a little optimistic at times.

A year from now, I will graduate, and life beyond education will begin. I won’t have good grades to boost my confidence, or days to spend procrastinating my work. If I’m fortunate enough, I’ll have been accepted onto a graduate publishing scheme. Although, let’s be honest, I’ll be lucky to have a somewhat well paying job at all. It’s a competitive world, and the fact that more people are getting degrees just makes it worse. There was once a time when university was barely a requirement, but not anymore. If anything, a degree is the bare minimum of what you need now, which doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.

For someone who has dreamed about graduation, and a life within the publishing industry, it’s difficult to admit that I’m apprehensive about it all. I’ve learnt to adapt to a constant state of read – learn – write essays – repeat. A perpetual state of achievements, which are measured in grades upon a screen, percentages that will amount to little more than the numbers we perceive them to be.  Soon I will be thrust into the real world, and even though I’m not ready now, I’m hoping I will be one day.

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So, what did you think of this post? Although my writing style hasn’t entirely changed, I’ve been wanting to branch out into more ‘casual’ posts. In order to build upon this platform, I really want to start interacting with all of you. From your thoughts about the post, to your own relevant experiences, I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments.

Until next time keep dreaming x

*This post was forgotten among many other drafts that I am yet to publish. Even so, it was one that I wanted to share with all of you. 🙂

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