“Now we are free. I will see you again, but not yet. Not yet.” – Gladiator
Seventeen years of September fresh starts and this year I have no new stationary, no new school bag and I haven’t outgrown any shoes. I am a graduate. I am done with formal education (except for the Masters I am working on from home a couple nights of the week), and I no longer live in a student house.
Back in March, graduation was weeks of pints and final deadlines, late nights and laying on the grass drinking Pimms away. And then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t.
All of a sudden I handed back keys, packed my bags, worried about my deposit, and didn’t get to say goodbye to my favourite lecturer. I moved back to my room at home and tried to make it feel like mine; a few prints and my record player impersonated the room of someone totally okay with moving on from uni.
But now, I guess I am. I have settled into the work from home lifestyle pretty well, I have a dock I put my laptop on everyday when I sit down in my marketing role; I do a great impression of someone who is good at being a graduate. That’s like saying I’m good at being a 5 foot 4 woman; I am a 5 foot 4 woman, of course I am good at it.
The one thing I am sure of, that despite not being ready for the freedom, or prepared for the next steps (who is in a global pandemic with a huge recession and unemployment crisis?), I am ready for the life I have been trying to build for myself. But, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to three years of freedom and fun and friends. I wasn’t ready for the loneliness and the constant second guessing of where I should be. In the battle ground of graduate life and the job market, I am fighting as hard as I can, but I know, as the quote I opened with says, that I will see my friends, my confidence and my certainty again.
With freedom comes a new step, a horrible step really, one that many of us weren’t ready to take. But with freedom, particularly from education, comes a chance to test ourselves, learn what we are made of, and what will make or break us.
This is where we will find out if I will be made, or broken. Welcome to Class of Covid-19: The Graduate Diaries.