Education has been a major part of my life for the past (almost) 4 years. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that I initially returned to college in September 2015. I had the intention of getting my HNC qualification in Media and Communication, then getting the hell out and getting an entry-level job in the field. University wasn’t on the cards. Even going back to college wasn’t on the cards. Yet, here I am.
In July of this year, I’ll be graduating from the University of the West of Scotland (or UWS as it’s more commonly known) with an Honours degree in Broadcast Production. That’s assuming something doesn’t go drastically wrong in the next 6 months. But how the hell did this happen? How did I end up with a degree? I received a letter at the end of the 2017/18 academic year confirming I now have enough credits to graduate with a Bachelors degree. It’s crazy – and scary – to me.
My life has changed so much in the past 4 years. I turned 30 years old; I suffered a family bereavement; I had a relationship; each of those things has taught me a lot about myself. Going back to college and university has also taught me a lot, not necessarily about the field I’m studying! I’ve discovered the most efficient ways for me to work; how I handle stress; how I approach tasks and projects; how I work with other people. These are the skills that employers are interested in.
But in a few short months, this journey of education will come to an end. Quite a few of my classmates have shown an interest in continuing on to do a Masters degree. I’m more in the “no way in hell” camp on that front. My time in education is done. I’m all for learning and developing new skills right through my lifetime, but my hours in classrooms will finally be over.
But even though I’ve worked full-time for years and years, and have built my own career through hard work, I have the absolute fear about finishing uni permanently. About being thrown back into the real world. A fully-fledged adult (as though I wasn’t already!)
I know that a lot of students feel anxious about this. I think I feel it more because I’m a mature student. Most of my classmates can now go and travel, they can try their hand at different jobs in whichever location they choose, they can have the time of their lives.
So can I, to an extent. But my reality is so much different to many of theirs. I’m finishing university with the expectation (my own expectation, I should point out) that I’ll be a homeowner within 18 months of graduating. Ideally within 9 months, but I have to be realistic. I’m 31 years old. I don’t have time to go interrailing across Europe or travelling across Asia or working fixed-contract jobs with little security. I need to be saving so that I can start making my own little dreams a reality – and if things don’t pan out how I want them to, I’m going to have to put them on hold even longer.
I appreciate that this is a completely first-world problem. I was listening to a podcast just before writing this post, and it spoke about “maximisers” and “satisfiers”. I’m a maximiser if there ever was one – I want the best house I can find, a well-paid, stable job, a loving family around me. I want to be able to work my arse off and then enjoy the fruits of my labour.
It’s not that I don’t want to visit Europe or Asia. But I want to be able to do it without worrying about money. I want to be comfortable; to be able to afford nice meals and clothes and makeup. I’m not talking about dressing head-to-toe in Gucci; more along the lines of feeling like I can go out for lunch with a friend and be able to pick up the new lipstick that I want.
Basically, in the non-snootiest way possible, I want to be able to afford the luxuries I currently allow myself whilst also having my own home. I want it all. And I’m terrified that this perfect dream that I’ve crafted for myself for years is about to be shattered into a million pieces. I expect the best for myself. And I’m scared that I won’t be happy until I have that – which is impossible, because I always want more.
Until I finish university, I’ll be focused on finishing my research project, which involves a dissertation and a practical piece. Whilst intermittently gazing at photos of perfect homes on Pinterest and workwear wardrobes on ASOS. Hopefully all the plans come together and I’ll get my little dream. We’ll see.
Have any of you had similar fears about finishing education? xx