Here’s What No One Tells You About Finishing University

The time has finally come: I have finished my three year degree. I am no longer a student; I will no longer be attending university.

Life has been pretty crazy for the past few months (read: past year) and I always imagined that as soon as university was over, my life would get back on track and everything would be exactly how I wanted it. Oh bless past, naive me!

Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly flooded with relief now that everything is finished and handed in, but I didn’t account for the continuing stress, worry and general sense of unsure that’s still there. And that’s the thing- no one seems to tell you what it’s like finishing university. Sure, we’ve all heard the success stories and probably witnessed the glorious pride that third year students have when they’ve finished, but there’s loads of other things that I’m experiencing right now that I did not expect.

So allow me today to be the person to heed a word of warning. Finishing university is an amazing achievement and this is a time of totally celebration and relaxation, but there’s also a lot of weird stuff that goes on too.

THE MOURNING PERIOD

The past three years have passed by in what feels like a blur. Everything has been going at like a hundred miles an hour since I clicked that ‘accept offer’ button on UCAS three years ago. I actually can’t believe that I have finished my degree and will (hopefully!) be graduating next month! All of those years of hard work, stress and tears have come to a close and will hopefully all be worth it in the end.

As everything has just flown by, I can’t seem to reflect properly on my experience over these past three years and that’s making it hard for me to accept that it’s over. One minute I was working my arse off and living on my own and now I’m back in my family home with literally nothing to do. It’s a very strange situation and I know I should be taking full advantage of this chill time, but I can’t help but feel a little unsettled.

All of the routines I created for myself through my life at university have suddenly dissolved and no longer exist; I am trying to settle into living at home with my parents, after having my own freedom and independence for so long and although I know I have nothing to do, I can’t shake the feeling that I should be doing something productive instead of binging on daytime TV.

It’s taken me a long time to realise that I actually need a little time to kind of mourn the fact that I am no longer a student; that this part of my life, that has been such a major part of it for so long, is no longer there. I will no longer have that kind of lifestyle that you grow so used to over the course of your degree and that is a hard thing to accept and then try to change.

BURSTING THE BUBBLE

One major thing I have realised since moving home and being surrounded by people who actually have normal lives (read: have jobs/careers/families to care for, etc) is that university is such a bubble. The life you live when you’re at university is so far away from what ‘real life’ actually is.

Of course, moving out and living on your own can teach you some important lessons that will be valuable when you enter ‘real life’, but at university you’re surrounded by people of a similar age and everyone is in the same boat. When everyone behaves and acts the same, or in a very similar manner, it is very hard to see that this isn’t actually the norm. That’s what university is. It’s a total bubble and I for one got so caught up in it for three years that I almost couldn’t imagine life outside of it.

So when I left, the bubble burst pretty hard and it’s hit me that the life I’ve made for myself over the course of my degree isn’t really fit for purpose, or something I can continue now I’m no longer in that space.

I now need to build new routines and new attitudes and basically have to construct the structure of my life once again, from scratch. I’m finding this pretty difficult at the moment, if I’m being totally honest, as I get very rooted in my routines and find them very hard to break. But I’m hoping that now I’ve addressed the issue (mourning my past life as a student and learning that what I experienced in this time wasn’t ‘real life’) I can start to move forward and get back on track.

IT CONTINUES

Even though I no longer have any deadlines or commitments, I can’t seem to shake the horrible feeling that I have something to do that’s constantly hanging over my head. Of course I have hobbies and little projects (like this blog!) that I want to get on with, but those are things I want to do for fun for now and have no real deadline or consequence.

The feeling of having something to do is something that all students will recognise and is something that we’ve had over us for years and years. No wonder I’m having a difficult time adjusting to the fact I literally have nothing to do anymore! But I just wish that it wasn’t getting in the way of things right now.

It seems that all of the stress, anxiety and just general worry that I’ve gotten so used to experiencing is still present, even though my lifestyle has totally changed! It’s kind of annoying, more than anything, as now is is the first time in what feels like forever that I can actually just chill out and take some time for myself, but I still feel guilty for doing so.

I know that, as with everything, it’s an adjustment period and things won’t always be like this. I just need to be patient and allow myself some time to get through it. I feel bad for being so unproductive, but I need to stop being so hard on myself. Major changes take time to adjust to and so I need to allow myself some time to do just that.

Nelson Mandela


So this was kind of a little update on where I’m at right now. Hopefully it may help some of you who are also in the same boat, or maybe it’ll allow you to prepare yourself for when the time comes for you. I am hoping to take some more time for blogging now that I’m free, but as always bare with me a little bit.

If you have any experience with finishing university (or any kind of education) and have some tips for me, please let me know! I’d love to hear your input. If you’re currently still studying, I wish you all luck with everything!

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials: (Relevant/University Posts)

Advertisements

It’s Difficult #3: The Response

(This is a follow up post. You can read the other parts here and here to get the gist of the story)

As with most things in my life, I like to ask for other people’s opinions. This is either to prove to myself that I’m not alone or just because I’m a curious person and I like to hear what people have to say.

So for this whole topic of the internet, social media and the way we use it I turned to two of the most popular platforms to see what people had to say.

Twitter

For the first time I used the Twitter Poll thing (it was a revelation, let me tell you!) and I was fairly surprised by the responses.

Twitter Poll.png

As you can see a majority of people said they would be able to go without the internet, then the next large group was not sure. I honestly believed more people would say no but I do think that my use of the word ‘addicted’ might have thrown some people of voting that way. No one wants to think they have a problem, do they?

But still, there’s a surprisingly high number of people claiming they would be able to do it.

Facebook

Facebook was pretty much the same story, with a whooping 80% of all the responses I got were from people claiming they could do it. Many even had some experience in being internet free:

facebook-yes-response-2facebook-yes-response-4facebook-yes-response-5

Other people claimed that although they enjoyed the internet, there were other things to do and therefore would be able to be without it for a day:

facebook-yes-response

(Side note: you are not sad if you like to read)

Some were pretty honest about the whole thing:

facebook-yes-response-3

I feel like this is the one most of us can relate to. We’d all probably be able to get through a full day, but as I said in my previous post why shouldn’t we use the tools if we have them?

There was a response that reminded us of our forgotten, old fashioned values:

Facebook Yes Response 6 Old.jpg

Then there were the nos. I have picked two that explained themselves the best, but to be honest there wasn’t many ‘no’ results to pick from. The majority, surprisingly, were pretty confident in their ability to go internet free.

This response demonstrates how important the internet has become to us and is something I’m sure many can understand:

 

facebook-no

(Note her use of an emoji to show how weird it is that the internet is such an ever present force in our lives. It’s kind of odd when you properly think about it)

As for my final response I’m going to share with you, it once again shows how vital the internet is to our lives (it keeps us connected, it helps us)  and what it can be like when you no longer have it:

facebook-no-2

She seems pretty traumatised by the whole thing, bless her.

Conclusion

So the majority of people asked did think they could go 24 hours without the internet. Those who had previously, claimed that it was because they were busy, around friends or exploring another area meaning they didn’t miss or require the internet. Which makes sense, of course.

But on a day to day basis I feel like the internet is a vital tool and one that would be quite hard to go without now we’ve gotten so used to it. Although there are other outlets for communication, education and entertainment the internet offers us all of these and is always available.

Although we may rely on it too much, the internet is an integral tool in our modern lives and I feel like we should all make more of an effort to take a break but overall let’s get rid of the guilt we have when it comes to being online a lot.

Star

This post is a part of a university assignment I was set. This is the final one of a three part post regarding the internet, social media and other people’s views. Normal service will continue on this blog throughout these posts. Cheers for you patience and stick around for regular posts.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

It’s Difficult: Going 24 Hours Without The Internet

Being set the challenge of going 24 hours without the internet doesn’t sound like a big deal, if you say it quickly. The idea of going one day without checking your Facebook or scrolling through Instagram sounds pretty easy. It even sounds kind of liberating, don’t you think?

I certainly did anyway. In fact prior to the day of the challenge I was feeling pretty excited. With claims of “it’s only a day, really” (more to convince myself than anyone else, I’ve later realised) I turned all my devices onto aeroplane mode and began to plan how I would spent my full free day.

Maybe I’d finally start reading that book that’s been lying on my shelf for God knows how long or maybe I’d take a walk to the beach and check it out. That’s something I’ve been dying to do for ages.

But I didn’t get chance to do either of those things.

Within two hours on the day of the challenge I had crumbled. Despite trying to not be connected I couldn’t escape the notifications, emails and app updates that were blowing up my phone and I had to check them out.

It seemed that on the one day I didn’t want to use my phone, I suddenly became popular. But I don’t really have anyone to blame here.

I had failed my challenge within only two hours. That’s like the time it would take to watch one movie, or two episodes of the latest hit on Netflix. That’s nothing and I was so annoyed.

I was also ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t even go a couple of hours without being drawn to the online world. I honestly thought it didn’t mean that much to me and that this challenge would have been something I could have flown through.

Wait, I am addicted to the internet?

(Read the second part here)

Star

This post is a part of a university assignment I was set. It will be a three part post regarding the internet, social media and other people’s views. Normal service will continue on this blog throughout these posts. Cheers for you patience and stick around for regular posts.

Speak soon,

Rachael.