The graduate: a year on

13669156_10208401636573113_511865577145519424_n.jpgI graduated from Bangor University with a Masters degree in English Literature in July 2016. I am so proud of my achievements and I honest had the best time at University. I met some life long friends and grew so much as a person.

I was never the typical student, I don’t enjoy crazy nights on the drink. I’m a 23 year old grandma and was happy to have found a squad of 20-something grandmas I could chill with whilst at uni.

What I loved about the university lifestyle was the sense of community I was able to achieve by being involved with clubs and societies and getting involved with my department.

I know not everyone has such a positive experience in university and there are a few posts floating around the internet about that. I completely respect and agree with those people that university isn’t the be all and end all and often isn’t all its cracked up to be. And that’s okay, you’ll find yourself along the line I promise.

A few of you might read this post and think “oh cry me a river.” Yes I did have a great experience at uni, but it didn’t come without its low moments. I’m glad those moments happened though, because they made me who I am today and they forged some of my strongest friendships. Your experiences are made up of good and bad and if you are able to take something away from both kinds I view that as a positive.

I was fortunate enough to find my people and find a niche that I am wildly passionate about (Victorians and smoke… you don’t want to know).

So what now?

University doesn’t last forever, and the reality of facing the real world is super daunting.

If you’re like me, you finish your final exams, you pack up your room, you write a sorrow-full facebook status and have a bit of a cry. You face the reality of finding a full time job and more than likely moving back in with your parents.

What a lot of people don’t talk about is how crap you feel in the months that follow graduation. I worked my arse off during my final semester to find a job I could walk in to after university and I was fortunate enough to find one, but you still can’t shake the feeling of being totally overwhelmed.

Before now you could block your life out in semesters and school years but now there is just a big looming blank space ahead of you and you almost can’t help but think you’re going to fail. You wish you could be back in your student house finding comfort in the routine of assignments and timetables.

Now this might not be how everyone feels, but this is certainly how I felt. I went through a period of feeling utterly hopeless. I started to doubt myself and my ability to achieve things. Its very easy to do when you have no idea what will happen. At least at uni you were told your deadline at the start of the semester and had something to work towards. How do you work towards something so seemingly endless?

I wish there was a fix-all solution to this feeling but there isn’t. You grow to accept the change and realise that the only person stopping you is you. You can’t get bogged down with achieving the benchmarks that others expect of you, like buying a house or getting married. You have to be happy in yourself and your day to day life before you can even think about those things (if at all).

My advice is chill out. It’s not a race. You’ll get there. One of my pieces of advice is that the things your worried about right now won’t even be a problem in 12 months time.

A year on from graduation I am still living with my parents and I’m saving as much money as I can. I’m working in the job I got when I finished uni and I work with a lovely bunch of people. I have no idea what life is going to throw at me.

But you know what? Bring it.

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