So, you’ve finally finished university. Congratulations. How long have you been there? 3 years? 4 years? Maybe 5 or 6 if you’ve just finished a post-grad.
So, what do you if you find yourself in this situation? You’ve spent the last few years writing essays, trying to meet deadlines, and studying for exams. But now, all of a sudden, you have no essays, no deadlines, no exams. “Great” is often your first response to this realisation. But once you find yourself in that situation, it’s not as great as you thought it might have been.
Now, in an ideal world, you will have finished your degree and gone straight into a job. In an ideal world. But this is often not the case. This leaves you with few options but to go home and be 15 again. Not bad. At least for the first few weeks. However, there exists a major problem.
You try to relax. You try to watch TV, go for a walk, knit, or write erotic fanfiction, but you just can’t shake that nagging feeling that you’re supposed to be doing something – something important – despite the fact that you no longer have any ties to your alma mater.
You’ve become institutionalised. You’ve just been released from Shawshank, but now you don’t know how to live any other way.
Here’s a list which may help
- If you’re lucky, you started university when you were 17 or 18 which would mean you’re still only in your early 20s. You lucky individuals: you still have your whole lives ahead of you. You can still be whatever you want to be. Don’t let your BA in philosophy stop you! Become an astronaut! Be an entrepreneur! Pursue your dream of becoming the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic! If you’re 24 or older, well… I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sure there’s hope but I can’t think of any. Start watching The Wire?
- If you really can’t stand being away from college or university, don’t worry there are options. You can go back. I mean, not as a student because, lets face it, you can’t afford it now. But you can still go back. You will be wandering the campus aimlessly, yes, but the take away from this is that you will be back, okay? Carry around stacks of papers and books – unattended desks are a good place to find these. Walk quickly; you don’t have to be going anywhere but it’ll trick your mind into thinking you actually have a purpose there. Sit in on tutorials. Sure, you’re not supposed to be there, but who cares? No one goes to tutorials anyway – the tutor will just be glad someone is there! Start random conversations with first years. Tell them you’re a college ambassador or something; they won’t dare question you. Try the following: “Hello fellow students. Doing some studenting are we? I too am a student at this here student academy. How are you finding being a student? Good? Student”.
- Conserve energy for when you eventually go on to do that doctorate or masters. There are lots of ways to do this, many of which you are probably reasonably familiar with from your wisely used time in the summer holidays. Except now it’s a seemingly permanent summer holiday without end in sight.
- You have lots of time now so why not enter into a pseudo-hibernation. This means going to sleep at 4am and waking up at around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. After a month or two this will have become second nature.
- When you do wake from your slumber, venture out of your room where your world is your oyster. If by “world” you mean “sitting room” and by “oyster” you mean “sofa/couch/armchair/beanbag”. We do, we do mean this.
- Do research into what course best suits you. Make a few detailed notes about the strengths and weaknesses of each course, email lecturers, and contact past pupils about their experience of the course. In reality however, your research will generally consist of about 5 minutes on the university course’s homepage and another 2 hours of Netflix.
- Repeatedly refresh Indeed, Jobs.ie, Active Link, and other websites in the hope that your dream job will suddenly appear. Don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time… You have plenty of it by the way.
- Two words: “flea” and “circus”. As mentioned above, you now have a lot of time on your hands. Did you know that? What better way to spend said time than training your very own troupe of fleas. But what’s that we hear you ask? “You want us to train bassist and founding member of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers like a circus animal? Well, okay then”. Fear not dear readers, we speak of the small flightless insects that form the order Siphonaptera. Yes, you will receive strange looks from children who ask their mothers what that strange unemployed man is doing to those bugs. But they’re ignorant, they can’t see the bigger picture. You can’t let haters get you down, you just can’t.
- Secret option number 6 – write semi-humorous articles for Oxygen.ie.
By James Simcox