by Karoline Nanfeldt

Tag: students

Transitioning from student to adult

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.

Blog about being the most read blogpost

A picture of balloons saying "PPLS 2018" in a big room with windows.
Picture from when the graduation party hosted by my school after I graduated

It feels a bit meta to blog about blogging, yet here it is.

In 2017, I wrote a blogpost for the University of Edinburgh’s blog on teaching (fittingly called Teaching Matters) on what research says about attendance when lectures are recorded.

The post was the most read blogpost on the blog in 2018. This blogpost was written as it was a very commonly asked question by academics whenever lecture recording came up, and clearly it is still relevant.

Having now graduated university and no longer being a student intern (or really a poster child anymore, no one at Heriot-Watt has ever seen the infamous poster all over UoE campus) I stand by what I say more than ever. I actually attended most of my lectures, but I did have a lot of stuff going on besides my studies.

If I had not spent a lot of my time on extracurriculars, I would have never ended up working in learning technology and found an area so well-suited to me. My CV may still only have consisted of a degree and not much else, and I am so grateful I took advantage of just a few of the opportunities studying at UoE offered me. Shockingly, it has turned out that a degree teaches you a lot more than just subject-specific content – it teaches you lots of things from how to learn things quickly, to balance your time to meet as many deadlines as possible, working under pressure, working on things that does not interest you, meeting new people, and the list goes on.

If I missed a lecture here or there, it clearly was not detrimental to me or many of my friends who sometimes did the same. Be there for students to come to you with your concerns, but also accept we need to learn from our own mistakes.

We will usually turn out okay, I promise.

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