In preparation for #pressedconf19 on Twitter tomorrow, I thought I would write a blog post reflecting on transitioning from studying to working – this is a topic I think might require more than one post!
People always told me “You will never have as much time as when you are a student!” and “You will never be as free as you are when you are studying!”. This did not really seem the case when I was running around from morning till evening, trying to fit everything into my busy schedule. I went from enjoying a first year mainly spent on trying to make friends to a fourth year being involved in everything I possibly could. You can read this post about my four years at university in pictures.
It was recently a year since I handed in my dissertation (blogged about that too of course!). I still remember my lovely colleagues giving me an applause at a meeting and I was too sleep deprived to do anything but give a little smile.
Having now graduated, I feel like what the adults told me seem to be a simplified version of the truth.
Now that I work 9-5, I may have less time on weekdays. But I now enjoy weekends doing nothing productive, instead of that constant guilt when I was studying that I should be actually studying. I feel a lot less stressed. I feel much more useful working than I ever did when I was answering the same essay question as the 150 other people in my class.
But I be lying if I did not admit I really truly miss studying. Not because of the spare time or even the long holidays like everyone said I would (though they were perk before I started working). I have been thinking about writing this blog post for a long time, trying to figure out to phrase what it is I miss, and I am not sure it is something easy to put into words.
I miss the social life. Taking a break with friends on the library stairs when you are all trying to write an essay or cramming for your final exam. Having looooong chats on the group chat about lectures or how difficult something is. Having a catch-up with all my kickboxing friends at a social. Spending lunch in Teviot.
I miss being taught new things and engaging with advanced academic topics. I miss studying psychology. Spending hours discussing statistics or reading papers on developing literacy. I am really fortunate that working in higher education, I still engage with research, but it is in a completely different way than when I was a student.
I miss sleeping in and not worrying about dressing professionally every day.
But most of all; I miss being surrounded by people who are trying to figure everything out like me. I remember everyone stressing about what was next, trying to figure out what type of adult we wanted to become. Some hopeful, some not so much.
I miss being surrounded by people who were at what felt like the same life stage as me, worrying about similar things. Currently I’m in that middle phase, transitioning away from studying to becoming a young professional, transitioning away from living in my own little studio to getting married next summer (though that is quite exciting!!!) and figuring out what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.
No one really pre-warned me about this phase. The yearning of an era you have left behind as you transition into a new one. The sadness of the opportunities you never took when you could have. Moving on from people you used to see every day. Being excited to be trusted with a much higher level of responsibility. Realising you are much more capable than you ever believed.
It seems it really is not that uncommon to feel this, but maybe it is not very talked about because it is so hard to put into words. Maybe the craziest thing is that one day I will probably yearn for this phase again.