As cliche as it sounds, it really does only feel like yesterday that my parents drove the 50 mile journey to Cambridge and moved me in to 251 Peter Taylor house. Even now 3 years on, I still remember how I felt, what I was wearing, even what duvet cover I had on my surprisingly comfy, though rather small bed.
And perhaps the thing that makes me most emotional, is the first group of people I met during my first two weeks at Anglia Ruskin University are the same group of people I consider to be my best friends today, even though so many people told me that would not be the case!
Looking back there are so many things that I miss and wish I could do all over again. I miss living with my best friends, I miss the lectures; the student union, Fez club, £1.50 jagerbombs, cocktails in buckets, Mill road, I even miss the drama that came with student life which all seems so trivial now.
I am undoubtedly proud of myself for graduating but almost 5 months from that day I feel like I am still 'mourning' university, and as ridiculous as that may sound I don't think It's uncommon. Granted not everyone will have the same university experience, some are more than happy to see the back of their degree but for me and probably quite a large number of people It can be quite daunting and emotional.
I think it can be particularly hard if, like me, you moved back home because it feels like you're leaving it even more behind and you've lost that independence you gained. Living back with my parents has been trying to say the very least, probably due to the fact I'm not 18 anymore and we've all changed in how we live and do things. For the first time in a long time I felt lonely and quite low because I didn't have my friends around me 24/7. The only real upside to being back home is a clean kitchen that doesn't have a fly infestation and nobody comes in during the night with a sac and steals your food (yes, that did actually happen in our uni kitchen).
University was the easy part, its this part where you're applying for jobs, work experience, internships etc that's difficult. Having a degree these days doesn't actually set you apart from the rest anymore and it's a challenge to stay motivated when you're being turned down after you've worked so hard.
Speaking from experience I've definitely found myself in this rut, but I'm the only person that can turn that around. I've been down on my luck on the job front so I'm getting more work experience and I'm doing another course to make myself more employable because I'm not willing to settle doing something that doesn't make me happy. I guess the message here is to not give up on what it is you want to do, just because it doesn't come as easy as you thought it would.
Despite the fact I still don't really know what It is I'm doing yet, and that I didn't fall into my dream job straight after shaking the Deans hand, I'm slowly convincing myself that it's not the end. Leaving university can be slightly traumatic and scary but it's just the start of a new chapter.. Might as well make it a page turner.