‘So what are you doing after uni?’ ASKS EVERY SINGLE person in the world who sets eyes on me at present. Writing a blog post, it seems.
Piss off, I think, smiling and making some recycled joke about how I wouldn’t need to get a job if I had a penny for every time someone asked me that question. Yet these perfectly nice people asking a perfectly appropriate question make a very good point. What do I do after uni?
And by the way, I’ll leave it for you to decide if the pouring rain outside and my writing this post have something to do with each other, but perhaps it’s God’s way of telling me to stop being a lazy sod and to get on and write something after the embarrassingly long hiatus since the last one. (Did that woman really complain about a £2 cup of water six months ago!?)
Not that I need inclement weather to spur me to write – quite the opposite – but I suppose in reality it’s about time I got back behind the keyboard and wrote something other than an essay or a cover letter. The truth is my last few months as a student have kept me quite busy, but I now find myself in June, with twenty years of education, over 50 speaking exams (and even more written exams), a fair few vodka-spiked hangovers and a degree behind me. All that and I still find myself in some weird, other-worldly state of impermanence that I don’t quite like.
I often remember last year – oh yeah, that one where I had money – and the days at the end of August when I felt physically exhausted for no apparent reason. Other than the hideous wisdom tooth infection preventing me from eating for a week, I could only think it was the busy and exciting life I’d had for so long finally coming to an end. I think finishing uni is a bit like that, too; everything in that bubble is so hectic and intense and then, suddenly, like a bird being shot in the sky, it stops. And you’ve got a dead bird at your feet and are left wondering what to do with it. Do you hear me, fellow final-year students (although we’re now in the rare and elusive breed of ‘graduands’)? Whether you’ve got a grad scheme with Morgan Stanley lined up in August or not, don’t you feel uncomfortable with this weird limbo with no tangible purpose, no necessity to get up in the morning, no deadlines hanging ominously over our heads? Don’t you think it’s strange that life won’t restart in September, much as it has done for as long as we can remember? Don’t you think this life we have at the moment with our student bedrooms half-empty, just like our diaries, is an unfulfilling one, either sitting on degree results or awaiting them, deleting rejection emails from jobs while secretly wishing we were packing their bags and going on whimsical worldwide adventures?
Not to mention the imponderable prospect of moving back home. FOR GOOD.
It just feels ‘blank’. Yes, that’s the word for it, much how my Filofax looks, in fact, in stark contrast to the scribbles and doodles in the weeks before it.
I’m not too upset; I have the Olympics and oh-so cheesy grad photos to look forward to in the coming months.
Either way, to call university ‘a chapter’ would be, I think, a bit too dismissive. For me it’s its own book in life’s library. It’s a book I have finished and, in the end, quite enjoyed. Despite that, I’ve always found there to be something a little bit sad about finishing a book; finally closing its cover and slotting it carefully back onto its shelf for good. But what do you do when you’ve finished a book? Well, start a new one, of course.