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There’s snow on the ground outside, and the wind is biting, sharp little teeth of ice that nip at your fingers if you forget gloves (and you do, so often) to venture outside. Graduation is a long way off, but not at all, and the future questions are being asked more and more frequently.
‘What are your plans for after you graduate?’ ‘Applied to anywhere yet?’ ‘Grad scheme? Travel?’ ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?’ ‘How’s your cv looking?’ ‘Have you thought about employment?’
They’re like the fast, hidden currents in a deceptively calm sea.
2016 is the year of my graduation. Class of, swishy, overpriced gowns and caps that if you want to toss you have to pay for. Photos in front of Firth Court for better memories than those spent drinking too much tea and trying not to cry over books with words that sort-of-don’t-really-make-sense in the IC. Repetitive strain and definitely needing a new pair of glasses because of so many goddamn online papers that hold the secrets to getting a 1st.
2016 is the year I finally get pushed into the real world, where weekends are not the same as weekdays, where money is hard earned and jobs are hard-to-find. Where suddenly you have to go about meeting people in a way that doesn’t start with ‘hey we do the same degree’ or ‘uni of or hallam?’.
2016 is the year I say goodbye to education (for now??) and I am fuckin’ terrified.
But 2016 is also the year I end writing papers for grades and I end not writing for fun and I end not having enough time to do things well. I end staring at a guitar I bought because I wanted to learn and I start actually having the time to learn it. I start differentiating between days again because weekends are not the same as weekdays – it’s not the same monotonous cycle of revision and notes and having that 12k word dissertation just hanging there. I start travelling, working, living, breathing in a different way than nearly 19 year of education has let me.
At least, I hope.
2016 is the end of many things, and the start of many things. And right now, my thoughts on graduation are that it’s real and it is happening, and I’m not sure what to make of it.