I handed in my final project/dissertation/ECP the other day and that felt as good a time as any to start a blog. I had been working on this story for EIGHT YEARS and the ECP in general for a year, then, all of a sudden, it’s gone. Finished. Caput. After I handed in the project, I went home and had a look at some different job adverts for teaching or editorial, and then I cried. A lot.
It’s hard to explain the feeling of emptiness you get when you hand in something you’ve worked so hard on for so long. My ECP only consisted of the first two chapters of my novel but I know I want to continue it and hopefully, one day it will be published. Chances are, however, even if I do manage to become a published author I’m probably going to have to have a ‘normal’ job for a while to help pay the bills. This is where I become stuck, I currently work in retail and my current job isn’t too bad, I like a lot of the people I work with, (and there aren’t many places that blare Disney music out loud before the store opens leading to staff creating their own musical!) but I don’t really want to work there for the long hall.
As a third year at University, I get asked a lot what my plans are for after graduation and it’s pretty tough seeing the look of judgment or disappointment when I say I haven’t a clue. I want to be a writer! That’s it, there isn’t really anything else to it. Except, there is… I keep thinking that maybe if I learn to be a teacher I will have whole summer holidays to write; if I become an editor, I can learn trade tricks and get to know what will make my novel interesting to a publisher. Yet I can’t help but shake the feeling of not being good enough for either of those careers.
I wish I had enough money to not need to work for a year, or even six months, I could just set up my desk and write. I could do my research without thinking about the other things I should be doing for my job or other assignments. I could use that time to finish my novel and send it out, hopefully attracting the attention of an agent or publisher who thinks my novel is good enough for an up-front payment. I don’t really care about the amount of money I make, as long as it’s enough to live. If I can make enough money to pay my rent, bills, and eat, then I’m happy. If I can’t, then I’m not.
Post-University Depression (PUD) is a term I came across a few hours after handing in my ECP. As a massive Google fan, I turned to the search bar after an hour or two of crying and typed in how I was feeling, I’ve handed in my final university project and I feel lost and empty, I then read an Independent article about ‘Graduate blues’. The article not only points out that students basically live in a three-year-party that is cancelled rather abruptly; but also touches on the feelings of shame or disheartenment over not walking away from a degree with a solid job in their field of choice.
I would have to agree with the article that there isn’t enough awareness about PUD. We hear of a mixture of success stories with students walking straight into their dream jobs, and we hear about a few students having to move back home as they can’t afford rent alone. We rarely talk about the feelings of those individual students and, as far as I’m aware, we never talk about those students in between. The ones who know what they want to do but for some reason or other cannot do what they want. The ones who may have a job and can afford to live on their own but feel like they have no other choice.
These may be ‘millennial-first-world-selfish’ problems, I can’t really deny that, but nevertheless, it is still a real problem. We need to ensure that all students have a decent support system around them and make sure they know it’s okay to not have the right job straight after uni. I can wish with all my heart that the government suddenly decides to give students money to live on for the first year after graduation, but chances are I’m going to have to stick with retail for a little while longer.
Luckily (?!), I still have six more assignments left during my time at uni (this may or may not be one of them!) so I didn’t really have the time to mope around and fret over ‘The Real World’. We can, however, hope that my ECP has really kicked me up the butt to finally finish a novel about the world I started dreaming of when I was 13. Hopefully, I will be able to show you all my nice shiny new series within a year or two!
For now though, this blog will have to do!