How I feel about completing university

A few days ago, I had completed my degree and my time at university had ended. As I left the exam room, having completed potentially my final ever exam ever in education, the feeling was inexplicable. I didn’t know what to do with myself for the rest of the day. For the past couple of months, I kept a planner/diary/daily plan of tasks I needed to complete, mostly failing to stick at it, but it was something to make me feel productive. Now, the anxiety of exams was over, the sadness of never seeing some people again was settling in, the excitement of what I am about to do next was there (I kind of have no idea), but overall I didn’t know how I was meant to be feeling on finishing my degree.

I saw one person write on Facebook “The end of an era”, and I guess it was. I think my experience at university was slightly different than other peoples, as they speak about the struggles, all-nighters, highs/lows etc. Sure, I had to do just as much work as everyone else, I had shit moments but I never got to the stage of ever really struggling with it. It was all kind of a breeze. Mostly because my anxiety didn’t allow me to chill out and kept me on top of things so I never got to the ‘I have to submit 4000 words by tomorrow’ stage.

It’s often said by pretty much everyone, the best part of their university experience are the people, including lecturers. I agree. The utmost reassuring thing I learnt from fellow students and lecture was that they had just as little idea as me with what they wanted to do next. Some people said they wanted to move to a new city and get their own, some talked about travelling, and some plan to return to their hometown. It helped me understand it’s okay not to have your shit together. The whole process from start to end of university taught me that life isn’t a straight line. Prior to university, I began sixth form and in my head, everything was sorted. I knew what degree I wanted to do, how I was going to do it, and what job I was going to get. Oh, how naive was I. It took a gap year and a lot of indecisiveness on what or where I wanted to commit to for me to complete a degree and still have little idea what I want to do next? I have options and it’s just finding which path inspires me the most to commit to it. Obviously, I’m going to become desperate when I don’t have a graduate role lined up in the upcoming month, but that’s okay. The world isn’t going to condemn me for not launching the new, tech start-up by 24, or not becoming named partner at a law firm by 30. You have to understand life isn’t a straight path of targets. You are allowed to take time. Something I still need to understand myself.

This might have gone off-topic but before I even opened a word document to write this, I had little idea of how this piece was going to go. I just wanted to write something about my 3 years of university and I have. Soon I will be holding a degree certificate, hoping that I haven’t made a dumb career choice just because I’ve gone back to treating life as a checklist of targets.