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Graduation - The end of an era - by Rhodri Andrews

Published: 11th May 2010 09:25

By Rhodri Andrews

Graduation. A word that fills me with mixed emotions. Looking forward to a new chapter of my life brings excitement, whilst leaving the last three years behind floods me with dread.

University life has become all but second nature to me; the late nights out, endless last minute deadlines and a carefree attitude have been mashed together to form a routine that I have easily become accustomed to.

To come to terms with the fact that this lifestyle will be taken away from me in a month’s time is something that is difficult to comprehend. I start to ask myself questions; “Will I ever get a chance to dress up in stupid costumes, go out for the night, and then walk home and still feel vaguely normal?” “Will I ever be able to rush a piece of coursework without considering how good it is?” “Could I still pass off pasta as a regular feature in my weekly menu?” The answer to all these questions is quite frankly “No”; these questions only apply to a student, and couldn’t possibly be accepted in the adult world.

Maybe leaving these so-called “lifestyle luxuries” behind is a sign that, at 21, it is time to grow up and get a firm hold on the real world, but after living like this for three years, do students, me included, really have a desire to?

Three years previous I looked upon the transition from school life to university in a similar light. Now looking back, that adjustment was almost seamless, with new friends appearing instantly and a steady set of lectures meaning I settled in quickly. The lure of a doing-whatever-you-felt-like approach also played a part in changing what seemed like a big leap into a natural step.

A part of me is wishing this new adjustment in is also as smooth as the last, but another part knows this could only ever be false hope. Who am I kidding? Going from being a university student to having a full-time job is a big step. 

I don’t think I am the only graduating student that has fears of only ever amounting to a regular 9-5 office job for the rest of their life. Maybe it is this, getting a job I won’t enjoy, and not just entering the big bad world of work, that alarms me.

Having said all this, the thought of finally growing up, perhaps not mentally, is something I am looking forward to. However scary it is wondering how long it is before you’re completely left on your own two feet, or how you will fit your social life around your new job, I see these as little achievements to aim for, like stepping stones to becoming a fully-fledged adult.

Looking at myself now I still see the same boy who bundled himself into halls back in 2007, and although I feel like I’ve come a long way, sometimes I think I haven’t changed a bit.  As a result of this mirror image, I’ve developed this apprehensiveness over how I will fare in the real world, and how I will have to cope without the “safety nets” of my parents and a student loan.

There’s no doubt I will miss university life a hell of a lot, it’s been a huge part of my life, being one of my most enjoyable experiences, and most importantly has shaped who I am today. I will take a lot from my time at university and this will hopefully translate into a positive outlook for the next episode of my life, as I attempt to become a fully-grown adult.

Maybe I’m not stupidly panicking because it hasn’t properly hit me yet, and I’m still looking forward to another month of being a “tax-dodger”, so I haven’t quite been thrust into the working wilderness just yet.

When I finally do leave my house in Portsmouth, get a final glimpse of the university buildings and all the clubs that I once occupied, a titanic wave of memories will flush over me, beckoning me to stay, something that will be extremely hard to resist. In all truth it will be hard to leave university life, but maybe I haven’t realised how hard it will be until the four weeks pass by in an inevitable flash, and I end up being able to count the days left on one hand. 

Even though the end of my student life is looming, ask me my thoughts on graduating in a month’s time, and I may possibly have a totally different outlook on a working life, but for now, I’m quite content to see out the rest of my days at university.

 

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