My brother, my sister, and me at Dell Primary School on my first ever first day of school!
I have been a student since September of 2004 (give or take a few days). I’m no math-whiz but that means that I’ve identified as a student for 16 years, and 9 months. As someone who is not even 21 yet, I have spent around 84% of my life identifying as a student. That’s… a large majority of my life.
In six months, I will be graduating university with my Bachelor of Communication Studies (knock on wood) and will no longer be a student in conventional terms, despite identifying as one for 17 years and 3 months in total… give or take. In six months time, I will not be attending classes, doing schoolwork, or receiving grades back from educational institutions. Although I may return to school for a graduate degree, I will be removing ‘student’ from my identity for the time being. I’m having very mixed emotions about this upcoming transition from student to working professional.
I have days where I truly can’t wait to be done with school (at least for a little bit). I get thrilled thinking about not having the rain cloud of homework I could be doing constantly hanging over me. I look forward to paying off my student loans and being paid for something that I love doing. I look forward to being able to put what I’ve learned into practice and work hard in a job in my field.
Other days, I’m terrified of not having my student identity any longer. There are no more summer breaks, there are no more reading weeks, there are no more late night paper writing sessions with my best friends, and there are no more presentations. When people ask me what I do, I will no longer be able to identify as a student in a certain year in a certain program at a certain university. I know that I am much, much more than a student; I love fitness, I love writing, I love people, I love pasta, I love being outside, I love the mountains, and I love music. However, I still always find myself answering the ‘what do you do’ question with my current student status.
So, in typical Type A Emma fashion, I’ve decided that I need a game plan of how to deal with this transition and this loss of an important part of my identity. I know, for a fact, that a game plan won’t eradicate nerves or fears or nostalgia but, I think that it will help me feel like I did as much as I could to prepare for it. The world doesn’t prepare you for this, so I’m going to try to prepare myself.
Here’s my game plan:
1. Read, research, connect, and communicate to ensure I don’t feel alone.
I know that I am not the only person who feels the pressure and uncertainty of this transition. Not only have I discussed this transition with my best school friends who will be going through it with me, but I have also found many articles online written by people who also experienced this and shared their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
2. Focus on, love, and appreciate parts of my identity that do not rely on being a student.
As I mentioned earlier, there is so much more to who I am than just a student. Although at times I forget to celebrate these other aspects of who I am, I am going to consciously try to celebrate my love for fitness, my love for connecting with people, my love for being in the great outdoors, my love for music, and more, as I experience this transition. Yes, I am a student, but, more importantly, I am much more than that.
3. Continue to fill my life with learning.
Even though I won’t be learning in a classroom, I can still focus on what life teaches me. I truly am lucky enough to learn something new every day and I believe that finding beauty in these everyday learning experiences will help me to continue a life of learning despite not being a student any longer. I want to start a journal of these learnings that I can look back on and cherish.
I’d love to hear from you if you have experienced any of this or are experiencing any of this! It’s normal to have mixed feelings about graduating from university, so let’s normalize it.
Thanks for reading!
– an entirely unqualified life guru,