While graduations might not be happening until April for some brand-new graduates, technically third years have finished their degrees and need to look towards the next stage in their life. We are finished with the deadlines, and nonstop assessments, our reading lists have been read and there are no more lectures or seminars. So, what do we do in graduate limbo?
The graduate waiting game
Once you graduate, there are options. You can stay in education, work towards a masters’ degree – either because you enjoy education or to be better suited for a career or job you have in mind. Or you can dive straight into the job market. The thing is, jobs and masters’ both require applications, so the first thing you need to do is get writing. For jobs you need a CV, and a lot of time to fill out endless personal information and situational questions (that I will always say never give you enough information). For additional education you need to write a personal statement, and possibly submit some written work.
‘The second you ask me to write about myself, I return to being a year 7’
As a humanities student I can, and have, written 10,000 words about poetry, the history of sexuality, and how interesting and complex Emily Dickinson’s relationships were. The second you ask me to write about myself, I return to being a year 7 learning that letters can now be in maths too. There are plenty of websites and forums out there that are a great help for writing personal statements, as a side note though, always check what the university you are applying to is looking for.
You have written your CV, and your personal statements, and now you are waiting. Waiting for emails is a great way to spend your summer, especially while also waiting for that final confirmation of your degree classification, and job applications. Unfortunately waiting is the new game, and while normally I am sure a lot of us would be enjoying the freedom from deadlines by going out and partying with friends, we are living in the middle of a pandemic. Thankfully, more and more things are opening up! The cinema is open, some art exhibitions have opened again, and shops are back for shopping sprees, so there are plenty of things to occupy our time outside the house whilst waiting for those emails with some good news. Unfortunately, you cannot be outside all of the time, there are some limits to how much you can spend on amazing days out and hanging out with friends again. So, what do you do while waiting?
‘waiting is the new game’
Take the time for you!
Some people luckily have jobs, whether part time or full time, and if you do not, I would recommend it, as a way to earn some extra money, spend your time, or simply as experience. For the rest of us who are applying for a single position along with 2000 other people, it is an endless barrage of rejection emails, and confirmation that they have received your application. The anxiety of expecting every email to be some sort of news is not incredibly fun. So, learn something new! No matter how silly or useless it seems, how niche, or specific, learn something you want to learn, unaided by the expectations of the education system.
‘every decision in your life has been in aide of doing better in school, of making a better CV’
The freedom of final year makes you realise how every decision in your life has been in aide of doing better in school, of making a better CV, being more prepared for the next year. So, choose something YOU want to do. I have rather spontaneously decided to learn Ancient Greek. It is a slow process, the alphabet itself is a lot to learn, but I want to learn it. There is no ulterior motive, where I really want to study Plato next year, or I want to take an Ancient Greek module. I am learning Ancient Greek, because why not? Why not learn the language of the culture that I have had a fascination with for over a decade? Maybe you have always wanted to take up crochet or knitting, but have never had the time, or thought you should have spent it working on your degree or your job. Perhaps you have wanted to focus on your mental and physical health now that you are not stressed constantly, take up a sport, go to the gym practice meditating, work on mindfulness, live in the moment, go on nature walks.
Learn who you are outside of academia. Take the time waiting to get to know yourself again. Enjoy the waiting, because once you get that response, it is on to the next adventure in your life.
Article written by Gemma Larkin.