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.

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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)

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10 Steps To Refresh and Reboot Your Body

Do you know those days where you just feel a bit ‘meh’? For some reason you just don’t feel 100% and it’s getting in the way of everything you’re trying to do.

Well, here are 10 little steps you can take to feeling refreshed, rebooted and ready to tackle that to-do list once again:

  1. Take a shower
  2. Wash, condition and brush your hair
  3. Lather yourself in a fresh smelling soap, my personal favourite scents are citrus ones. They make me feel so clean and ready to take on anything.
  4. Exfoliate and/or shave what needs doing
  5. Moisturise your body, head to toe. This is especially important in the winter!
  6. Wear your favourite PJs or comfies
  7. Put on a face mask
  8. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure. I find it hard to do anything when I feel a mess.
  9. Make sure the space you are in is warm and clean
  10. Get yourself your favourite hot drink

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Then you’re ready to take on anything, my friends. At least this is what normally works for me. What helps you feel refreshed and rebooted?

Speak soon,

Rachael

Four Songs To Ease Your Soul

I’ve done a few music posts on this blog (see here, here and here) and in each I’ve explained why I rely on music a lot. Whatever you’re going through, there’s probably a song about it. I mainly rely on music to boost my mood and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

It’s a strange, stressful time of the year and I’m aware some of you might not be in the best place right now. So here are four of my favourite songs to ease your mind and remind you that whatever the issue, you’re not the only one.

Listen To The Man: George Ezra

Listen here. This is such a wonderful, soothing song. It reminds us that “we’re so young” and we don’t need “a plan of what you’re going to do” despite what others say and sometimes we just need to hear that. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or down, I turn to this song and it calms me down instantly.

Cup Of Tea: Kacey Musgraves

Listen here. This song talks about the fact that we can’t be liked by everyone (“you can’t be everybody’s cup of tea”). As both a tea lover and a stresser, this song tells me exactly what I need to hear and reminds me to just enjoy myself without worrying about other people’s opinions.

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Deadlines and Commitments: The Killers

Listen here. The Killers are my favourite band of all time. I think everything they’ve done/do is just brilliant so I’m a bit biased. But this song in particular is so beautiful and Brandon’s voice is so soft and soothing throughout. I think this one will definitely appeal to the lonely souls who are feeling a bit lost right now.

What Do You Mean (Acoustic): Justin Bieber

Listen here. We’ve all heard the more upbeat version (by Skrillex and Diplo) and no doubt you’ve heard this one too. It’s the same song, but without the beat behind it which gives you a chance to focus on the lyrics more. Although this one might seem like a bit of an oddball for this list, I feel like the idea of someone no longer being around once we need them is something many of us, sadly, can relate to.

Let me know what songs you turn to when you want to calm down and feel better.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Four Simple Ways To Get Your Shit Together

There’s nothing worse than feeling lost and stressed. The summer is basically over now and we’re all getting back into our normal routines; our workload’s are increasing and things are generally starting to pick up. In this time it is so easy to feel like things are getting on top of you and you’re starting to lose grasp.

I’m a worrier by nature so I feel like this quite often. Because of this, I’ve have come up with four simple things to do to make you feel like you’ve got your shit together and are once again ready to take on the world.

  • Clean Your Makeup Brushes

If you’re a makeup wearer then you’ll know the pain of washing your makeup brushes. I mean, maybe it’s just me being lazy but it’s a task I hate doing and will try to avoid it for as long as I can. But, dedicating even half an hour one evening to go through everything and clean is guaranteed to make you feel like you do indeed have your shit together and are winning at, well, life basically.

  • Self-Maintenance

Everyone can stop what they’re doing for a least a couple of hours on an evening and you should do. Take this time to run a hot bath or shower and pamper yourself. Shave your legs (if you fancy), wash and condition your hair, exfoliate, moisturise: do whatever it is in this time that makes you feel good because I promise you’ll feel amazing afterwards and all the more ready to keep going.

  • Do Some Exercise

Now I’m not encouraging you to take out an expensive gym membership and work out everyday. I mean, if you want to do that don’t let me stop you. But exercise doesn’t have to cost anything. Simply getting outside and going for a walk does wonders for both your physical and mental health. Put in some headphones and go for a wander and you’ll return feeling lighter and brighter.

  • Tidy Room, Tidy Mind

I can’t work if the area I’m in is messy and quite frankly I don’t understand how anyone can. Even if you’re not a neat freak, just do a quick whizz round of your room- put things back in drawers, make the bed. Having a clearer space with seriously help clear your mind and allow you to focus on what actually needs done.

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Keep calm and carry on my chums. I believe in you.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

Five Things That Are Okay

I worry far too much about stupid little things and I know I’m not the only one. With everything else going on in our lives, we really don’t have time to be stressing about the things that don’t matter. So to calm us all down a little bit, I’ve created a list (yes, another one!) of five things that are okay:

  1. Trying something new and failing

No matter what happens, at least you tried. There is no way of knowing whether you’re good at something or really enjoy something unless you give it go first. But even if this isn’t the case, that’s fine. You can now move on and find something else you like even better!

  1. Listening to music on repeat

Although there are countless of brilliant artists out there, sometimes we become infatuated with someone so special, who speaks to us in a way no one else has before, we disregard any other form of music and focus entirely on them. And that’s fine- you’re just excited! Enjoy it, soak it up because it’s okay.

(Sidenote: It might not be okay with your friends if you’re forcing them to endure your obsession too. They mightn’t feel it as much as you do so just be considerate)

  1. Being on your own

Sometimes you just need a little breather; a little time out totally on your own. Other people are great but it can get tiring being around them all the time. Sometimes you just want to sit on your own and do the things you want. Whether that’s writing, listening to your choice of music, playing video games or just enjoying the silence. Regardless, alone time is so valuable and so important so don’t feel bad about wanting it.

  1. Not attending

It is encouraged to say ‘yes’ to any opportunity that comes your way. It’ll help you try new things, meet people, develop as a person, whatever. And that’s brilliant. But you can say yes too much. If you don’t want to go to a particular event or you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to. Regardless of what anyone else says you should do what you feel the most happy and comfortable with, and if that’s staying at home and saying “no”, go for it.

  1. Not being liked

Every single person is so different from the next that it would be impossible for us all to get on. There are just some people who we clash with in various ways and sometimes there isn’t any going back from that. This can be a hard thing to deal with when you’re the person who’s on the other end- the person who’s disliked. But the trick is to try to not take it to heart. You can’t be liked by everyone and not everyone is going to want to be your friend. Just accept it, move on and focus on those around you who love and like you for being you.

I hope this helps and I wish you all a wonderful, stress-free week!

Speak soon,

Rachael.