End of an Era: On Finishing University

     This week I had my last ever university exam. I’m not an overly emotional or sentimental person, but this is the end of a pretty important chunk of my life, so I thought I should reflect a little. I’m not going to make exaggerations – the past four years haven’t been perfect and amazing, nor have they been life-changing – but they have been important.

McEwan Hall, Bristo Square, Edinburgh University

     For starters, I’m definitely not the same person I was four years ago when I finished high school. I think this has been less to do with university, and more about leaving home, as I think I’m much more confident and independent than I was, especially after living in France on my own for a year. I mean, I still have no clue what I’m doing most of the time, but I’ve figured it out so far. Also, I know that back in high school I was all good grades and good behaviour, and probably a complete pain the arse, but a lot of that went out the window at university. I’ve not pulled a complete 180, but I’m definitely a lot more laid-back about stuff than I was then. University has certainly been stressful, and although that still affects me, I don’t panic or worry nearly as much as I used to. I’m pretty sure this is a good thing, but university has also destroyed a lot of my motivation, and I need to make sure I don’t get too laid-back, since I have to venture into the real world next!
     I’m not going to lie; university has been hard. There’s been plenty of late night essay writing, last minute stress, being completely lost in class, a serious bout of homesickness while in France, and a tonne of bullshitting my way through a lot of the past four years. But somehow I’ve made it to the other side (assuming I didn’t completely screw up those exams, and there’s still a month until results, I think). I have enjoyed parts of my studies, and hated others. Good stuff has happened, and bad stuff has happened. I’ve met some awesome people, and some crappy ones. It’s also easy to feel like you’re inside this little university bubble, but the real world stuff still happens too. I never got involved in any societies or anything at university – I really only went to class – but, in the past four years I’ve travelled a lot more than I had before, been to a whole heap of events and concerts, and worked my first real jobs, which have all contributed to the new experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met in the last four years. I’ve also loved living in Edinburgh, which quickly became my favourite city, and whatever happens next, I hope I’ll be back. Although these were my university years, there was a lot more to them than just my studies; and most of the best parts were nothing to do with university at all.
     The scariest part is definitely how quickly four years has passed though. When I finished high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I figured four years was plenty of time to figure it out. But guess what? I still haven’t. And now the real world is here. I turned twenty-one this year, official adulthood – but could someone please tell me what the hell that actually means? Has anyone figured it out, and if so, could you tell me what happens next? Maybe that’s the real secret though – maybe no one has any clue what they’re doing. I sure hope so. I do that I’m ready for something new though. I’ve been in education for the past seventeen years, and while plenty of others are staying for their Masters next year, I know I definitely don’t want to do any more university, at least for the time being.
     Anyway, I do have a few plans for what’s happening next. First up, I’m off travelling again, and this time, it’s beyond Europe. Next weekend I’m flying off to Mexico for a month travelling through Central America! I think I’m equal parts excited and terrified right now, as I’ve never been this far on my own, though I am going in a group tour again. I’m still not totally sure what the blog schedule will look like, but I’m hoping to get posts up about my travels while I’m there. After that, I’ll be back in Edinburgh working at summer school for a few weeks. And after that… I don’t want to say anything until it’s finalised, but I do have plans in the pipeline. Since I still don’t know what “career” I want, I’m not planning much further ahead than the next year or so for now. Oh, and there’s still the results to come, and then graduation of course, but otherwise, that’s university over! Anyway, reflective moment over – time to face the real world…