If the title involves a bad word, you can guarantee that’s just the prelude to a lot of bad words. So please, don’t read this particular post if you are not fond of bad words. I am really fond of bad words, obviously.
So anyway, I found out I passed everything this semester, with a High Distinction as the candied, sickeningly sweet cherry on top of what was my university degree. Thank god I got at least one in my final year. I THINK that means I will get my degree?! (more on this coming). Anyway, all I seem to talk about is that I just FINISHED UNI! Like wow, so much awesome. “So what do you do?”, “I just FINISHED UNI man. YEAH!”. The ceremony is next year but I keep calling myself a graduate. I assume I am graduating as there are 5 big fat COMPLETED on my progress transcript right now. (How awkward if I don’t actually graduate next round of ceremonies, I’ve even had a FRICKEN PARTY & EVERYTHING). So anyway, it’s a really weird, in between stage of life. This is what you may find yourself, or other graduates, saying after you have danced around your burning textbooks naked & drunk (based on what I can’t stop blabbing to everyone right now):
1. “I JUST GRADUATED”
Well, shit. It’s not rocket science (unless you just graduated with a major in rocket science?! In that case, I’m a little lost for words right now). Meeting new people means they will ask you what you do. The funny/awkward/confusing thing is you don’t actually really do anything. Except maybe the part-time job you’re still holding on to while you’re floating in this black void of space. Whenever asked ANYTHING about your life, the only thing you really can say is that you just graduated. Most people will give a massive congratulations… and then the conversation is gone. Just like that. A topic usually lengthy & fantastic at breaking ice becomes a mere fork trying to demolish a glacier. Because actually, you don’t do anything except think “help” while pondering the real world you’re standing at the gates of while nursing a hangover from congratulatory shots (the uni lifestyle isn’t gone, even though your student status may be).
2. “WHAT DO I WRITE HERE?”
Forms become confusing. Why?! What do you mean? Am I talking about a tax return? Because that shit is always confusing… No. You see, I now realise every form asks you your occupation. I was getting a massage/facial/pedicure at a swanky retreat, & the form had the obligatory health questions, and my address, my birthday, yada-yada. Apparently to have expensive mud slathered over my face, & my dimply thighs rubbed by a complete stranger, they must know what I do for a living (couldn’t you just buy me a drink instead?!). This is where it becomes SO GOD DAMN HARD. I FEEL LIKE I’M BACK SITTING MY FINAL EXAMS. I START LOOKING AROUND THE ROOM NERVOUSLY TRYING TO FIND THE ANSWER. Student? No. Not anymore (small tear slowly & gently falls from the corner of one eye). I majored in Journalism… Lie & say I’m a journo? Mmm, no. I’m not. That’s weird. Write ‘graduate’? That’s not a thing. Well, it’s a thing, but it isn’t an actual THING. Anyway, forms are weird because life has all of a sudden become weird too. Welcome to the life stage of perpetual in-betweenness.
3. “I’M SO GLAD IT’S OVER”
I am. Genuinely, I am. It was so hard. I cried. I had nightmares. I stressed so much my adrenal glands have permanent damage I am sure. I am experiencing something that happens once in a lifetime (mostly, usually, in general). It’s amazing. & I constantly tell EVERYONE how stoked I am it’s over! But then my conscience, or inner child, or the part of me that never wants to be an adult, screams out NO! No no no no no no no no no no no no no. No. Stay at uni forever. Stay young forever. Do not become a slave to the MAN. CAPITALISM IS EVIL. RETAIN YOUR INNOCENCE. BE AFRAID! Okay maybe I’m becoming a little bit dramatic. But graduates will say (or I have anyway) how so over the moon they are that they finally got here. & it’s true. But we leave out the part that never wants to be anything but a uni student, too.
4. “I DON’T KNOW”
THIS ONE IS THE ONE. This is the holy grail. Prepare to be asked by every single person every single second of every single day “what are your plans now?”, “what will you do next?”, “what are you going to do?”.
It’s a reasonable question. Logical. It probably fills that awkward silence that comes after revealing you don’t do anything & therefore have just whacked a massive stop sign right in the middle of the dialogue between you & said stranger. It’s dangerous territory. Well, for me it has been. I don’t have a five year plan. I don’t have a one year plan. OKAY, I DON’T HAVE A PLAN. I don’t. The last four years have been all about studying. All about getting that degree. All about surviving. Never daring to envisage life afterwards because most days it felt like I might not ever get here. Now I am here. & shit, I don’t know. I majored in two things I liked, & did well at. Isn’t that okay? Isn’t that what they tell you in high school? Ah, alas, I am not in high school. I just graduated uni, therefore making me an adult & my majors must have had everything to do with my life plan & nothing about what I enjoy. Um.. well, shit. When asked what now I just have to say I don’t know. & this makes me feel like I lack direction, drive or ambition. It probably looks like that too. It’s not true though, I have a burning fire that most graduates have & a belief I can achieve greatness. This is probably because I haven’t started job hunting yet (god help me). But it’s there. Don’t ask me anything else, please. Because I don’t know. My qualifications are so broad that there are no set paths. Also, I don’t even know how the hell to actually GRADUATE. Do I just do it? Where are the forms? Am I actually even graduating? What does this stuff mean? What do I do? I DONT KNOW?! You get the picture.
Lastly, sometimes I’ve thought, but not said, “I regret that”. The tattoos on my fingers suddenly seem idiotic. University & its toleration of any hair style/colour/body mod/tattoo doesn’t last forever. I regret not relaxing more. I regret not believing in myself more. Ah, hind sight. The biggest bitch that ever was. Apart from Monday morning tutorials.
Growing up can suck. Graduating can be awkward & weird & confusing. But it’s also the start of the rest of your life… & that shit is pretty cool.