My first year at U of T has started to feel like it happened a long time ago, even though it hasn’t been that long at all. Between then and now, there have been many syllabi, essay drafts, and lectures.
If your first year at university is characterized by the excitement of starting a brand new chapter in life, then your fourth year seems like you’re anxiously trying to finish that said chapter: like an endearing book whose plot gets dragged out towards the end, you keep reading just to finish the story and can’t wait to get your hands on that other book that’s been on your mind lately.
This is how I feel as a fourth year student.
Don’t get me wrong. University is an amazing experience. You learn interesting things, you meet great people, you try new things out, and you develop as a person. But I have been counting down each week ever since this September, and making lists of all the things I want to do right after getting my degree.
At the same time, a little voice inside my head is frantically freaking out about the idea of going out into the “Real World.” I’ve made the mistake of browsing certain sections of Reddit, where users repeat “I wish I was still in uni” like a mantra. (Turns out, post-graduation depression is a thing.)
So, while one part of me wants to graduate, another part of me is completely daunted by the idea of it. This academic year has thus far been this roller coaster of, “Wow, I’m almost done. Hurray!” and, “Wait, what am I supposed to do with myself when I don’t even know what I want?” Even if you’re not in your fourth year, then that latter sentiment still might ring true for you.
Here is what has helped me curb the restlessness: talking to other people about their trajectories.
When you ask enough people what they studied and how they got where they are today, you start to realize that a lot in life seems to be inadvertent or accidental. Many people don’t get careers that directly relate to what they studied in university. Sometimes, it’s about the skills associated with your major instead of your major itself. While it’s great to have a plan, the biggest lesson I’ve been learning is to be unafraid of curve balls and getting sidetracked.
I actually won’t be graduating this year (plot twist). But this will be my final year as a full-time student. While I’m looking forward to graduating in 2020, I’m also looking forward to using my fifth year as a way to test the waters of the “Real World,” to have more trajectory conversations, and daydream of all the post-university possibilities.