Last Friday, I checked the date and felt like the 11th of May had some kind of significance. Had I forgotten someone’s birthday? Had I missed a brow appointment? No, I realised it had been a year since I submitted my dissertation. A WHOLE YEAR. Post-uni life has been a weird blur that’s gone quicker than the whole 3 years of my degree but also dragged more than Ru Paul. Here are the best and worst things about life after university.
Best – Young Money Cash Money
Okay so I’m still not balling and I’m still not out of my overdraft, but it does feel good to finally get a monthly paycheque into my bank account. At uni, I lived on £8000 for a year, and I honestly don’t know how I did it (although I suspect it had something to do with my fat overdraft which was maxed for like 2 years lol). Also, all the money I earn belongs to me, rather than spending it and then realising I’ll one day have to pay it back to the robots who run Student Finance.
Best – Time to Relax
Whilst you’re studying for a degree you can never properly relax. One of my favourite hobbies at uni was to ban myself from doing fun stuff (drinking/going out/shopping) based on the lie that I was “going to do some work”. I’d then do no work, sit on my bed talking to my housemates for hours, feel guilty for doing no work and sleep for 12 hours. Once you’ve graduated, you leave work at 5.30pm and don’t have to think about it til the following morning.
Best – Having Structure
I didn’t know how much I needed structure until I had it in my life again. All throughout school you follow a set structure of timetables, lunch breaks, evenings and weekends. Then when you get to uni, you go into a weird purgatory where you have loads of free time but you’re never sure how to spend it so you do a lot of lying down instead. Adjusting to the working world took me about 3 months, but I now like having a structure. If I spend too long doing nothing I just get well existential, but structure helps to keep this at bay.
Worst – Less Free Time
The amount of free time you have at uni is both a curse and a blessing. Yes, I did waste a lot of time. But as the saying goes, “time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted”. And as Asher Roth also said, “time isn’t wasted when you’re getting wasted“, so I guess it was fine to spend all that time sat in gardens and smoking areas. Post-uni life means you have a LOT less free time. My final year timetable, I had 6 timetabled hours. I now work a 40 hour week. Sometimes I don’t get in until after 6pm, then after I’ve watched Simpsons and cooked tea it’s nearly 8pm. The days of waking up at midday and hanging around until it was time to drink are gone.
Worst – Missing Uni Mates
Here’s something really depressing for anyone who still hasn’t graduated: I see less than 10% of the people I was friends with at university on a regular basis. Probably the worst thing about leaving uni is that the people I was really close with for the best part of 3 years, I rarely get to see. I used to live in a really close-knit house, and while I don’t miss the mess, I do miss walking in to my house and being able to have a conversation with four people who I knew really well.
Worst – No More Academia
I originally titled this section ‘No More Learning’ and then laughed because I learn so much every day, both in my job and about society. However, I do genuinely miss academia. I loved writing my dissertation, I enjoyed the discussions we had in class, I even liked going to lectures. I recently went with my sister to a university open day and temporarily convinced myself I wanted to go back to uni because I’m missing devoting my time to learning something to such an in-depth level. (But am I going to do a Masters? Probs not.)
Leaving university and joining the real world is a lot like tidying your room when it’s an absolute tip. It’s not something you look forward to, but once you get going, become motivated to do a good job ,and remember to stop for snacks, it’s not so bad.