Like most of us, I spent a couple of weeks at home over the holidays. One topic of conversation was proven unavoidable. When I just met somebody, when I saw a family member or when my dad asked me whether I’ve heard back from the latest grad scheme I applied to, the one inevitable question consistently popped up – as it has for the past six months.
Everyone wants to know what I’m doing next year. I’d like to know, too.
The stress that third year students tend to feel around this time of the year stems from a compilation of rejection emails, family members asking about your plans, career fairs at uni and friends who already secured a job or a training contract. To a certain extent, it is only natural that we feel stressed to perform well and get our self together. However, some of this pressure unnecessarily piles up because our environment pushes us. Most of my friends are simply overwhelmed because they are obsessing over what comes next. Of course, we should be thinking about the next chapter, preparing for postgraduate life and working on our dissertation during the spare time that we have. We should also, however, be enjoying our last Hail Marys, hating our Thursday 10 AM classes, and pausing for a second when walking by our first-year halls. We’ve come a long way since then, or at least I like to think I have. We will get our selves together, we have time to do so, but it doesn’t have to happen right here, right now. We still have a few months left, and we should make the most of it.
On my walk to a seminar in Bancroft during term 1, I used to pass by the Curve on a weekly basis. Reminiscing over the fresher (meaning first-year, but also literally fresher, less tired) version of me, over two years ago now, I’d give the wooden building a good look every week. Fresher me lived in Flat 8 Feilden House, went out four times a week and thought Contract Law was a difficult module because Christina Perry went through so much content in one single lecture. Final year me sits in the library pretty much every spare hour she has, and between writing her dissertation, applying for masters, doing (terrible) video interviews for internships, job hunting across Europe, and meeting with people for coffee and networking tips, she just wants to take a break once in a while.
I’ve taken the conscious decision to live third year to the fullest – after all, it is my last year of uni, with all my friends living within a 2-mile-radius, and everything that entails. I’m trying to think less about what I’m doing next year, and instead focus on what is going on in my life right now, trying to find peace in the chaos of third year. The work I put in now will eventually pay off, and there’s simply no point in stressing about the what ifs and the maybes. So, aunt Susan, how about you ask me about my uni experience and how that’s going right now instead of pushing me about the next big thing?