Thursday, 10 July 2014
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
Today is an important and possibly one of the most life changing days of my 22 years. Considering that my graduation from Reading University is tomorrow afternoon, it has only just occurred to me that THIS IS IT. After this day I shall be a student no longer but I think 18 years in education, (including four in this wonderful institution in the south of England), is quite enough. That doesn't stop me from feeling slightly panicky though. After tomorrow I can not put the job hunt off any more, because real life has finally arrived.
As I sit here on the eve of the real beginning of my life, I have become rather reflective. There are many recent graduates, who, despite only graduating in the past few days, are already looking at their time as students through rose tinted spectacles. Many of them have put up Facebook statuses saying 'It was the best three years of my life' and 'thank you Reading for everything....I wish I could do it all over again.' WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Have you already forgotten all the stress? Do you seriously want to take those horrible 9:00am exams again? Do you really want to write 10,000 words (or in my case 18,000 words) of dissertations again? Do you actually want to sit through those three hour boring lectures again where you couldn't take in a word because you were concentrating more on not throwing up all over the table? And what about all those arguments, mistakes, death-by-alcohol, embarrassments, heartbreaks and tears...do you really want to go through all those again?
University is one of those times where you really begin to find out who you are and with that there are always going to be ups and downs. Life isn't perfect, nor is university. There are upsets and tears but also so much laughter and happiness. I would not change one bit of my university experience, even the bits where I was horrendously low as they all add up to make me the person I am today which I would not want to change for anyone or anything. And as much as I would never want to return to the beginning of uni to repeat the bad experiences, I don't think I would like to repeat the good experiences either. They were special back then and remain special to me now, but you can always have too much of a good thing. Repeating the experience, if you could achieve that in some way, would take away this special-ness and definitely not be as good the second time around.
It is so important to recognise university for what it is...a phase in your life which has now ended and it is time to move on from. Those who are determined to hold on to their student status are only impeding their own development, and, quite frankly, are not quite mature enough to grow up yet. University was an adventure, but life is too. So it's time to embark on that one instead.
I entirely disagree with my fellow graduates that university was the best time of my life, but tend to side with the far more literarily-proficient Dickens (10 points if you can name the novel) - 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of despair...' I think that just about sums it up.