What do they really teach you at University? They teach you how to effortlessly, pass an exam, after months of missing lectures and avoiding seminar preparation. They teach you how to survive on a meagre budget of £3 a day, a super noodle and coffee diet getting you through the week. They teach you how to cope through tedious lectures with a pounding hangover, suffering from a 5am finish due to many snake bites and tequila shots from the night before. What they don’t teach you, however, is how to handle post University. There is no class that informs you about the struggle of watching an empty day run past you, sluggishly, before your eyes. It feels almost like your life is in the fast lane, moving recklessly before you, but you are being left behind, so ludicrously, time has lapsed, and you must watch yourself be left, whilst everyone around you progresses forward. University doesn’t teach you the harsh reality of rejection from your dream jobs. There is the ambiguous assumption as you grow up that you follow each education tier; from nursery, to primary school, to secondary school, to college, to University, then a full time career. But what happens when there is a break in the works? And your life plan doesn’t flow into your hopes and dreams as you had wished? Hopelessness turns to anger, and you begin to resent those around you who promised you success in the end. Why spend over £40,000 on an education that doesn’t deliver opportunity.
I suppose it’s not all bad. Whilst you’re at university, you cherish the short-lived moments where you have the chance to visit home. A place of serenity, where the food is piping hot and enriched in flavour, the beds are thick and cosy, and it feels like you’re sleeping on a fluffy cloud, and not to forget the love and affection from your missed pets, who give you warmth and the attention you deserve. Now you have graduated, you are able to enjoy this full time, and long gone are the days of having to scavenge change dropped carelessly under your bed for tonight’s dinner, or worrying endlessly about how you’re going to pay this month’s rent. But sometimes I think to myself, that’s what made university feel like home. The spontaneous look you would shoot your friend as you meet each other’s eyes and you know exactly what each other is thinking, “Out tonight?”. Or the daily catch up with your close group of friends who live down the road, and any excuse to go to the library but not even to concentrate on our studies but to hang out and feel accomplished that we made the effort to “study”. Of course if you’re in the library you definitely have done work today.
From first year until final year we would always complain about how tough the work load was, and curse upon the number of exams we were forced to endure, or whine about the severe amount of essays that we were obliged to write. University wasn’t always about the presumed party life style. We started off with a conspicuous eager attitude, with a keen flair to learn. We spend our time in University awkwardly trying to fit into various friendship circles until we finally find our predestined friends for life. We never thought we would see the end, year after year it seemed like the finish line was so far-flung, but here we are now. Now University withdrawal symptoms have been triggered into play, and you cannot stop obsessing over how your perfect University bubble has been popped and you would do anything to take it back. Life as a graduate is a gruelling state, which is rarely expected. Looking back upon University, I now feel it was quite succinct over that short time. I especially wish I took the time to enjoy the moment, rather than raring to have the year be over and done with. But at the same time, the notion of university has left a beautiful watermark in my mind, as one of the best experiences of my life. I can thank University for many things, rather than an educational lesson (although that was its main purpose) University was a life lesson, and that is something very exceptional to value.