student stories: Jan 21, 2020
Life After Uni
Story by Emily

*** Photos are not of or by the author***

It was a warm sunny day in June, 2008. I was sitting in my uni garden with my housemates, chatting about nothing and everything (as we so often did) when my phone rang. Upon answering, I was greeted by the extremely excited voice of one of my course buddies. "Oh my god, I know what our final results are, do you want me to tell you?"

My instant reaction was that of shock. I froze, phone in hand, bum on picnic blanket, allowing the sun to warm my quickly paling face. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The day that I had been dreading, yet at the same time secretly yearning for had crept up on me out of nowhere. My friend now knew my fate: a few small words which would have a huge impact on my life to follow. "But how?" I asked, "We're not meant to get those results until next week?" "I know, I know, miscommunication along the way, whatever, let me tell you!"

I couldn't let her. Although, upon reflection she surely wouldn't have called me, so enthused and eager to share had I failed horribly, but I was still desperately afraid. To bide my time, I insisted she tell me her results and those of our friends while I psyched myself up enough for the big news. "Oh, go on then," I said, staring at my housemates intently whilst pacing up and down the garden. "You got a 2.1!" When those words reached my ears I was greeted by an intense mixture of disbelief and exhilaration. I screamed, then made her repeat the news over and over again until it had settled in my mind and I was satisfied that there was a chance that it could actually be true.

Leaving university was a sad time as it felt like the end of an era, which of course in many respects, it was. On our last night of student intoxication I remember chatting to a friends' girlfriend who had graduated the previous year. "It's hard," she proclaimed when I asked for her opinion on life after uni. "You're back living with your parents, missing being surrounded by your friends and ploughing through the demoralising task of finding a job. Everything changes." "But we'll all still keep in contact, right?" I asked pleadingly whilst motioning to my friends, who, after three years, I had come to regard as members of my extended family. They were, by this point blubbering their eyes out on the dance floor to the DJ's somewhat insensitive record choice of September's 'Cry for You', a song which contains (rather ironically) the chorus of, 'You'll never see me again'. "Maybe" she replied, with a despondency that indicated such a notion near impossible. And with that I trotted off to join my fabulous friends in one last dance.

However, a year and a half later, here I am. My friend's girlfriend was right, leaving behind a life you have spent three years creating is hard, but thankfully, the thought that one is then free to begin crafting a career in anything they so desire is liberating. Post graduation plans for me were obvious; I had dreamt of backpacking across distant lands from an early age and luckily my best friend shared this vision. We worked solidly from August to April and then fled England for four months worth of adventures. 

We had the time of our lives, but returning home after what felt like a noticeable period away meant a great deal of readjustment, a feeling I was familiar with. It is now a few months after our homecoming and I have reluctantly had to return to the bar I was working in before leaving the country. This was a necessity for me as I was becoming both exceedingly poor and bored waiting to receive the job offer of a lifetime.

I am constantly applying for full time positions, am registered with agencies and am putting myself forward for work placements and finally, after months of perseverance, things seem to be ever so slowly coming together. At present, I am shameless, constantly asking those who have jobs in the media (my desired career path) if they could somehow find me work. A few weeks ago I was down about my situation but, based on some wise words from my sister in law, have come to realise I should try to enjoy this lull in my professional life as once I step on the employment ladder, there's no getting off until retirement. So until the hard work begins, I am determined to make the most of my free time, beginning with a party this weekend which is hosted by none other than a few of my pals from university.

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