It’s the aftermath no one tells you about –The silence that follows right after submitting your last assignment and a moment to finally pause, take a deep breath and realise it has all come to an end.
You exhale and alleviate years of tension, closing the laptop and moving onto the bed, allowing your head to hit the coveted pillow.
But as you lie there, relishing the accomplishment, a daunting thought inevitably creeps into your head, but you’re unsure how to answer it.
So you ask yourself again, “Now what?”
We all enter university at vastly different stages of our lives in the hope of attaining clarity surrounding our career aspirations. As our world becomes increasingly competitive, it’s the ‘norm’ for newly-graduated teens to move on to higher education right off the back of high school. With adrenaline and hope coursing through their veins, these students are infatuated by the need to officially become adults.
But, this very excitement seems to invariably dissipate once the curtain is finally drawn. Instead, we’re plagued with some pretty heavy – and frightening – questions. And at that point we come to realise: university is a big comfort quilt; one we’ve perhaps taken for granted all these years?
Every student finishes uni on the brink of a different threshold. A bunch have already secured jobs, others have made zero plans for post-graduation, and some come to the conclusion they actually don’t want to work in their chosen field. Either way, we’re all juggling the same insecurities: fear, doubt, and an inability to know of our fates.
It’s hard to tell whether the transition into full-time work will be a breeze, or if a change in routine could wreak havoc on our bodies. It’s impossible to know whether we’ll find a job aligned with our career preferences, or if that process may take a little – or a lot – longer than anticipated. There are so many ‘what ifs’, but providing ourselves with patience – and the understanding we can’t know with certainty what the future holds –can help us close the uni chapter with minimal resistance.
There is such an intense, underlying pressure to have everything figured out. And when we don’t meet our own expectations, and start comparing our trajectories to those of others, it can be a colossal blow to the ol’ self-esteem.
We must remember: this moment in time brings with it change. It’s the calibre of change that enables us to walk the path of maturation and growth; the kind that gets us closer to our life’s purpose and desire, even if we don’t know what those are just yet.
And that’s okay.