Graduation: the scary first step toward adulthood

Reflections on university life; from Salvos’ tunes to JB Morrell blues, graduation at York

[Image: Dan Powell]

With graduation on the horizon for many third years, it has made me reflective and, to be honest, pleased that I got through university fairly unscathed. Graduating is a defining moment in our lives or, as Facebook would describe it, a “life event”. The momentous nature of graduation is demonstrated by the abundance of social media posts, shows like Fresh Meat, and of course, the beautiful prospective student photos thrown at us by the University.

The prospect of graduating is intimidating because, rather than leaving school for another academic institution, this time we are actually entering the big wide world. We must face the reality of jobs and careers and other general post-university complications that go beyond the cocoon of university life that has protected us from the outside world of adult life.

I for one don’t really believe it is happening after all those hours spent in the Purgatory that is the JB Morrell library, where time seems to stop and you leave to find that it is completely dark outside. University life, for me, has involved hundreds of nights out to the fabled clubs of York like Popworld, Flares, and Salvos; nights that make undergraduate life slightly easier to endure until graduation. Furthermore, the funniest moments at university have tended to be the small ones, many of which are in-side jokes, that few others are likely to ever understand.

Would I say it has been difficult to complete three years at university? Well, I’ve definitely gone through some tricky periods; the endless Dominoes in second year combined with complacency towards my course, and drunken nights at Salvos, led to a difficult time. But these times, when it seems that university is particularly cruel, are simply part of the shared student experience which can be overcome.

Then, there was the dreaded dissertation. The Tab claims that people have done their dissertation in 24 hours. Well, if this is the case then they are either geniuses, possibly fuelled by a questionable substance, or just incomprehensibly disorganised and lazy. The dissertation was a travail to say the least, the hours and hours spent reading and then writing about the most niche topic. The optimism, often felt at the start of these studies, was soon replaced by fear and disbelief at having to read the same chapters repeatedly.

Nevertheless, after three years at the University of York, we are soon to be thrown out, in a slightly drunken haze, with our free gowns (cheers Koen Lamberts) to a life in which only God knows where we’ll end up.

While panicking is inevitable, there is ultimately a myriad of choices for us “millennials” after graduation. You might be going on to another university to do a Masters, travelling abroad, or doing a graduate scheme (likely at a firm that always came to the careers’ fairs, which are regularly neglected until the fear of third year set in). Or perhaps you could end up on Love Island with Eyal and Jack talking about pens.

Whatever the case may be, graduating will be brilliant and the endless stories from my time at the University of York will stay with me forever.

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