Dear Third-Year

As we are approaching the mid point of the academic year, Editor-in-Chief Alex Boulton looks forward to her final term and upcoming graduation.

It has hit me recently that my time at university is almost at an end. In a couple of weeks, it will be Christmas and after that I have a measly 12 weeks of university teaching left. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I can’t wait for a life without essays, deadlines and seminar reading. On the other, being cast out into the big wide world is terrifying.

The most common question I’m facing from friends and family outside of the university bubble at the moment is ‘what are your plans after graduation’. People inside the bubble are starting to apply for grad schemes and being offered jobs when I don’t even have an idea what career I want to pursue. I’m scared of unemployment, not being able to find a job in this graduate crisis we always hear about. I don’t want to do a masters as I don’t think I can face another year of essays, assignments and exams, and anyway, I probably couldn’t afford one. This indecisiveness means I have decided to do a gap year, to put off the inevitable for even longer.

This term has seen my last Freshers’ week, last November reading week, last Halloween, last Christmas Ball. Graduating sees an end to student discount (no more 10% off wine at the co-op), it no longer being acceptable to go out on a Tuesday and even the end to more practical things like council tax exemptions. I won’t see my friends nearly as much as we revert back to our respective ends of the country. I will (if I get a good enough job) start paying back my student loan, which I can’t even bring myself to calculate. I feel like it will be less acceptable to leave my dishes until the next morning, leave the house in joggers or eat leftover pizza for breakfast. I’ll be an actual adult with the responsibilities to match

While it is nice to go home over the summer or Christmas holidays, I’m not sure how I’m going to cope moving back over my gap year. I’m used to my independence, being able to walk anywhere within 10 minutes and coming and going as I please. It’s going to be sad to not have a base in Bristol, a city that I have fallen in love with during my time here.

As well as being terrified, I am excited to start a new chapter. My time at uni has seen so many ups and downs. I’ll have no more essays, no more deadlines or exams. I’m looking forward to the graduation ceremony, to pick out a dress and have my family watch me pick up my degree (which I have worked so hard for). I’m excited to travel, read for pleasure, not think about academia and spend some time with the friends and family my degree has caused me to neglect.

While the end is scary, I think it’s best to accept it as inevitable and realise I’m probably being over-dramatic in my assessment of graduating. I’m going to make the most out of my time left so I can look back with fond memories, enjoy my gap year, work on my employability and get ready for the big wide world and full-time employment.

What are your feelings on graduating?

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