Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

The confessions of an uncertain university finalist

I have a confession to make. After studying Film and Literature for three years at Warwick University I have no concrete plans for after I graduate. There are definitely ideas, things I want to do, places I want to go and maybe a Master’s down the line, but in terms of a definite next step there’s nothing set in stone. And I feel fine, in the same way REM say they feel fine when the world’s about to end and they know it. Maybe it’s time I had some time alone.
Now, feeling that I have no concrete plan for the future is nothing new for me given how a few concrete plans I had in the years building up to university fell through. Originally, I was going to take a gap year, apply and hopefully make Oxbridge and then a Master’s, then see where life went after that. None of these things have happened. I wouldn’t be able to write for The Boar or watch movies for a degree at either of those universities!

It’s fine to take a break and not to launch straight into the next phase of life

I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but thankfully there are people out there who have been through the same. Probably one of the most reassuring things to hear as a finalist are the words spoken by department alumni who have said that it’s fine to take a break and not to launch straight into the next phase of life.
With this mentality in mind and parents who will not crush me with expectations in the interim, I think it’s fair to say that not going head first into an internship or job isn’t an entirely horrifying prospect. It doesn’t mean I want to stay at home forever, but it also means after three years of life in a bubble I’ll have time to breathe and choose the right option for me. It’s not as though a person’s life only has one path it can possibly go down.

Being a finalist often means being surrounded by people who are either desperately applying for their next step or panicking about where they’re going next

When asked where my life is going I’ve mostly said travel. This is what I do want to do, either with a working visa or by volunteering while I get my bearings on what strikes me as a proper vocation. Yes, it may mean holding down a job in order to pay to go abroad, but if going to Warwick has taught me anything it’s that working on everything other than what you’ve set out to study can often lead to where you’ll best fit. Maybe the time spent working will be the time to figure out which path to go on, be it journalism that The Boar has helped me sharpen my skills and passion for, film programming my degree has nudged me towards, or something entirely different I’ve yet to work out.
And of course, there is the elusive prospect of further education. This may happen, or may not, but probably not at Warwick. Three years here was enough, and that’s not to say it was bad, but there’s more to the world than the Koan, and if there’s any time to see it, it’s now.
Being a finalist often means being surrounded by people who are either desperately applying for their next step or panicking about where they’re going next. For all those yet to catch up in first and second years – nobody really seems to know what they’re doing or who they are – and that’s fine. We’ve got the rest of our lives to work all that out.
If you have a set destination when you leave university, best of luck to you. If you don’t and are beginning to worry, which is fair given every other university-related anxiety, take a post-graduation breath and work out what you like. Take comfort in the fact that few people truly know what we want until after we’ve found it.

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