Graduation marks the end of an era. So...what happens now? Shona discusses some of things you can expect from the whirlwind journey that comes when you're finished with school.
Change is what this whole ‘life’ thing is all about.
Oh, man! I’ve slept through my alarm again. I jump out of bed and scramble around for my school uniform. I am going to be oh, so late. Why can’t I find my school shirt? It’s not in my cupboard where it should be. And it’s not hanging in the laundry. WHERE ARE MY SHOES? Oh. That’s right... I finished my last HSC exam yesterday and never have to go back to school ever again.
Sweet, sweet freedom
There have been few moments in my life as sweet as when the supervisor in my final drama exam exclaimed “pens down!” These two words not only meant that I could stop writing and hope to soon regain feeling in my right hand, but they also symbolised the start of a new part of my life. I was so consumed by joy that I would never again have to whip out three essays in two hours that I didn’t even stop to consider the fact that my life was about to go through an epic transformation. I was going on my gap year, some were taking time off, and some were going straight to Uni to get into the thick of it; everything was changing and it was going to be GREAT.
So, I jetted off to England where I was to enjoy a year of being a gap student, while my friends all found their own grooves wherever they happened to be in the world. I was making new friends, enjoying my minimal responsibilities and trying to stay warm during the freezing English winter. And all of the other seasons which were also freezing, for that matter. Things were pretty good. Then I got home, went to Uni to study languages and by about my second year I had that moment that most people will go through at least once in their lives… That moment where you think “shit, what am I going to do with my life?”
That was the first major internal dilemma I faced when I was finished with school. Then there was the total lack of routine which threw me for a loop. I had gone from being at school 8am-3pm every day to studying 12 hours a week and having more free time than I knew what to do with. Not to mention the fact that I had all of this freedom and, as a fresh 18 year old, not enough independence (financially and also more generally speaking) to make the most of it. I slowly started to fall out of touch with some of my school friends. I never realised how lucky I was at school that I got to see my buddies every day without even trying.
Making it work
It’s pretty safe to say that you can expect to face some challenges when you're finished with school. Things change, and sometimes this can be tricky to adapt to. Whilst you do need to accept that your world is moving on and it’s best you move with it, you can make conscious efforts to pay tribute to some of the memories that you made during your school years. Maybe you want to organise a poker night once a fortnight with school friends so you don’t lose touch; gambling with Monopoly money, of course. Or perhaps you want to find some great hobbies so that your life isn’t completely void of structure. Either way, change is what this whole ‘life’ thing is all about. I find comfort in the fact that there’s not a whole lot we can do about that, and maybe you can, too.