Like many, I noticed the hurdles that university forces you to face from the get-go. Moving away from your parents, living with strangers, waking up for 9am starts; yet the hardest part of all, before it has even started, is thinking about what comes after.
If you have a family anything like mine (don’t worry – I have had enough conversations from my panicked peers to realise I am not alone), you will have received that lecture from a family member on a birthday, that you didn’t know existed in march, asking for a blueprint of what you want to do after Uni.
“Urm”, “eh”, “ah”.
You’re now a week in, the words of Auntie Dawn fade to the back of your mind, you are figuring out just how much freedom you actually have.
You realise that there are a lucky few who have a clear idea of what they intend to use their degree for, but also discover that there are many who have a passion for their subject but don’t know how to put the metaphorical pen of wisdom onto the blank canvas of the ‘grown up world’.
“…erm, maybe I should start to think about it.”
It is hard enough asking a question sometimes, let alone when you don’t know how to it and have no idea as to what you want to answer to be. Most universities, mine included, love a brightly coloured poster and a flurry of emails documenting events that can provide you with ‘valuable’ experiences.
Despite any scepticism as to how useful they may be for you, they hang in your head.
I feared trying to answer the rhetorical questions splattered over the brightly coloured paper in even more striking ink. Then I realised how irrational my fear was, I didn’t have to know what I wanted to gain experience in – that’s the point of it all.
“Aren’t there people to help you with that?”
If you are as lucky as I am there are people dedicated to helping you figure out what is best for you, giving you options and guiding you through. I didn’t use it, I found someone better. Myself.
Read the posters, step outside, smell the coffee, sing the clichés; the best way to find out what you want to do is by doing something different.
I even enjoyed it.
University is the perfect platform to make discoveries, talk to people and find out who you really are. When you know, you’ll know where the path will take you next.
“So, when are you going to find time to do that then?”
1st, 2nd or 3rd? Cut the stress, there is no prize for who finishes first on the podium. The stigma that denounces many from taking internships or volunteering because you are ‘only’ a first-year or ‘already’ a third-year student is rubbish.
There is no need to rush. Use the time you have a no-interest overdraft, no commitments and as many lay-in’s as you want to figure out what you want from university. Well as long as it doesn’t clash with your important sleep schedule.
After all, maybe all the “erm”, “uh” and “ah”’s were just much needed moments to pause and think. When you answer as to whether or not any of the experiences have been useful, yes or no, all experience is beneficial. Best of all, most of it is free.
Well almost best, you will also be able to tell Auntie Dawn that she shouldn’t have questioned you.