To graduate will be an awfully big adventure.

This time four years ago, I think I was still doing my A-levels. And then there was to be a long summer of friends and holidays and then, then there would be results day. After that, as long as I’d reached Nottingham’s requirements, I’d be off to university in September.

I’ve been trying to think back to remember how I felt, which is difficult. Not only was it four years ago, but my Mom was seriously ill, which took precedent over what I was going to get in my A-levels. I mean, I must have been excited. Since I was about 15, all I wanted was to go to university. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I’d watched too many films, read too many books, but my heart was set on university.

Originally I was going to do English Literature. Then it was German and English Lit. And by the time AS level English Lit had finished bashing me over the head, I knew I didn’t want to spend three years at university studying it. So German it was. I made lists of universities. Compared them by what grades they wanted, how far away from home they were, even if I’d ever been to the city they were in. I was excited. Anxious to leave home, be an adult, learn something about Germany that wasn’t just the language.

And now it’s all over. My four years are at an end. It’s very anti-climatic. No-one warned me about that. My last lectures were exam prep that basically no-one turned up for. My last exam was a translation exam, so it involved lots of vocab learning but no heavy duty, practice essay writing, notecards filled with dates type revision. If I can paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way uni ends. Not with a bang but a …huh.

University has been pretty great. I’ve learnt to cook, to motivate myself, to actually clean a house. I’ve learnt how to play Quidditch and how to swing dance. I’ve made friends and lived abroad for 9 months. I’m even basically fluent in German. And while I still ended up studying some literature, I didn’t hate it like I thought I would. Except Brecht. I do not understand Brecht.

Now what? It’s a time for making plans and moving forward with life. Which is terrifying. I mean, I like moving forward, I like the fact that in theory the world is open for me to do whatever I want. But the job hunt is not going spectacularly well, I have no idea where I’m going to be in a month, two month, three months time, and I’m not really sure what I’m doing with my life.

But I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’m scared, yes, but that’s not going to stop life happening. So I just have to get on with it. And if I can move by myself to Germany to a town so in the middle of nowhere that even Google street view hasn’t made it there yet, I’m sure I can cope with whatever is about to happen. So graduation is an awfully big adventure, but unlike Peter Pan, I’m ready to grow up.

2 thoughts on “To graduate will be an awfully big adventure.

  1. I graduated 2006 (German and Russian) and, well, I’ve had some ‘dead-end’ admin jobs since then as well as doing a second degree and finally I’m coming back for a Masters (Russian, research). In 2006, like most of my fellow linguists, I just wanted out and to be earning. 3m post-graduation I got a receptionist job and I’ve never been looking for work for more than 3m since (though I was out of work for 6m in 2009, but I spent 3m of that enjoying myself). 6m into that first job I was applying for a BSc in Quantity Surveying and Construction Commercial Management at Trent (!). Made redundant 2009: decided to finish the course but I’d already got the research bug: in 2008 I realised I missed the whole research thing, so starting making plans to come back.

    So, it took me 3 years after graduation to realise what I should be doing with my life, and another 6 years on top of that to (semi-)achieve it. But I wouldn’t change anything: it’s not just about where you end up, it’s about how you got there. And that’s why I went to Uni in the first place!

    And Brecht: I remember doing that at A-level. I don’t think Brecht understood Brecht, but I think that was the point?!

  2. Pingback: Harry Potter and the German Dissertation | Kat's Blog of Stuff

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