10 things I’ve realised since graduating

IMG_8139

On July 21st 2016 I graduated. I have an Upper Second Class degree in English Literature from Kingston University. It feels like so long ago that I put on that cap and gown, shook someone’s hand and became a graduate after 3 years of hard work. Then that was that it was done and I was launched into the ‘real world’. So, here I am a year later and reflecting on what it’s been like to be a graduate. It’s been a very weird year and after uni a pretty big come down I think. I’ve written about post uni depression but I’ve also had some great times. So, here’s 10 things I’ve realised in the past year.

It’s ok if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Everyone seems like they’ve got it together with Master’s degrees or travelling or jobs in the city. I had a job but still felt like I was drowning. I had no idea what I was doing. This wasn’t an essay I could logically put together and get a first on, this was real life. One year later and I’m only just working out what I really want to do because I’ve had experience! Just try things out, don’t feel like you need to know everything as soon as you have that bit of paper.

Most people don’t care what grade you got.

I was embarrassed, that’s right embarrassed when I told people I got a 2:1. I’d always slip in I was only 3% off of a First Class because I’m a perfectionist. Admitting I got a 2:1 meant I wasn’t perfect. The thing is, I’ve never been asked what grade I got, not once. The fact I got a degree was enough for all of my jobs. Some will want specific grades, but from most of my friends, they haven’t been asked either!

£2.50 double vodkas were a blessing.

I wasn’t a big drinker at uni, I didn’t go out all the time. That said, when I go out now I hate paying normal prices for drinks, almost £5 for a double vodka? Blergh.

Sometimes friendships aren’t meant to last forever.

I’m a firm believer that some people are meant to be in your life and leave. I had some friends in uni and we had great times before we drifted apart or the friendship broke down. I’m forever grateful for the memories though.

Life is going to change.

People move, get jobs, some get married, others will have children soon. Life is changing and going so fast and sometimes it is a little overwhelming and that’s ok. Take a moment and just appreciate the small things.

Sometimes you’re going to wonder if it was all worth it.

Getting a job, or a job that you’re passionate about after graduating is hard. It’s taken me a whole year to work out what I enjoy in a working environment. There’ll be late nights and possibly some jobs you don’t enjoy where you think, should I have just gone out to work? My hardest part was when I saw people buying their first homes after working since 16 and I know I’m nowhere near a deposit.

The only person judging you is yourself.

I got so worried about how other people would judge the degree I did, my grades, the fact Ali and I lived with the family. Really, the only person judging you is you. People know that taking your first steps is hard! Don’t beat yourself up!

It’s ok to ask for help.

I didn’t want to ask for help and there were times when I needed to. When I just felt nervous or worried or wanted reassurance.

You still have so much time!

You know when you’re young you have this plan? I want to be married by this time, kids by that time etc, etc. Let it go. You have so much time to do what you want to do. Take a breath and do what feels right for you!

Taking time for yourself is important.

It’s natural to want to do your best in a job, to want to see old friends, make new ones. That said, taking a bit of time for yourself is really important, I’ve talked about my top tips for self-care before, you’ll feel much better.

It’s ok to miss uni!

It was, for most of us, full of great times! Of course you’re going to miss it! That said, there are still good times to come.

Make time to see your uni friends.

My friend Joe and I try to see each other once a month, because he’s still one of my best friends!

Everyone’s Grad journey is different

It doesn’t matter if you go stright into work or travel or study! Everyone is different and so are their lives! There’s no ‘right way’ to be a graduate! Don’t feel pressured to do certain things.

It was the best time of your life…so far!

I had some times where I worried if this was it? Was I ever going to feel the way I did at uni? I had some low periods, BUT I realised that uni was only the beginning of my independence. There is so much more in life I have to look forward to and now I’m happier I’m looking forward to every exciting thing that’s going to happen!

You did something pretty amazing.

You got a degree, that’s awesome. Go you!

 

What did you learn after graduating? Let me know in the comments below!

The Ideal Graduate Doesn’t Exist

IMG_8421

Do you remember what made you decide to go to university? Maybe it was because you really loved a subject and wasn’t quite done with it yet. Maybe it was because your family members or friends had gone and you decided that it was probably a good idea. Maybe it was because you were told that going to university was going to give you a boost, it was going to get you a job.

I’ll bet that most of us link to one of the three reasons, for me it was making me employable. I wanted to work hard, get the best grades and get a great job. I learnt from my parents that working hard and having your own money was important. I’d had a job since I was 16 and after a teacher insisted I look, my eyes widened with how much more you could earn just by getting a degree, it was a no-brainer, right?

So, here I am almost a year after graduating with a 2:1 degree and I’m not a top notch career woman yet, who knew? I’m currently temping in an office while friends of mine are working in retail, restaurants or anywhere they can get a job. All of us are asked what we’re going to do with our degrees or about career plans. The thing is just because you have a degree doesn’t mean that you’re failing because you’re not a hot shot at 22, something which can be a harsh reality.

There’s an illusion of the ‘perfect graduate’, something that isn’t real, usually, this person would have their own flat, a decent paying job that they love, flawless references, society activist. Overall, they are meant to have their shit together. Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve never met that person, I’ve never met them, so why was I striving to be that? No one in my family or loved ones had ever put that on me so where did it come from?

I could blame advertising, I could blame media or Social Media but I’m not going to waste time on that. We need to be kind to each other but more than anything we need, to be honest. Am I guilty of trying to make my Instagram feed look better my life picture perfect? Of course, I am. Am I guilty of comparing myself to others and wondering what I should be doing with my life? 100%.

I hope that if you’re reading this and have been feeling overwhelmed like me that this has helped.

What have you realised after graduating? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday Seven: 22 and a half

This week I hit 22 and a half, I know most adults don’t count their half birthdays, but firstly I don’t see myself as an adult and secondly I like using this as a benchmark to take stock of what I’ve done in half a year. I mentioned way back in January that I don’t like making New Years Resolutions, instead, I like to use my year birthday to birthday to see how things I have been going. So let’s take a look back and see what I’ve learnt in the past 6 months.

15591449_10155625467138206_6784418136400763690_o

You don’t need loads of friends to be happy 

Now I’m back in Basingstoke we don’t have as many friends around, but that really doesn’t matter. I still talk to Joe all the time, although it sucks I can’t just pop and see him. I also have Abbie and Ben on the other side of town. I have a lot smaller group of people that I’m in contact with but it’s really about the quality rather than the quantity.

14700805_10155404598753206_7393239558398584347_o

The pain of losing someone you love never goes away, you learn how to deal with it

A few weeks after my birthday I lost one of my hamsters. Although, to me they are my babies. Noodle passed away and it broke my heart, I still miss her each and every day and that never stops.

img_3095

I want to write, so I’ll goddam write 

Enough messing around, it was time to get serious, get planning and get on with it. We’ll see what happens…

img_3261

Having your own space is key to happiness 

We finally moved home! Having our own space has made it much easier for me to relax and have time to myself and Ali.

add-heading

It’s ok not to be ok. 

I have a problem with wanting to be perfect. I always have. In the last few months when things have gotten tricky I’ve had to remind myself that I’m allowed to feel tired or overwhelmed, that I’m human. So, I did what I always do and I wrote about it and it made me feel a lot better.

flowers-desk-office-vintage-large

Leaving a job that isn’t right for you doesn’t make you a failure

Back in November I left my first full-time job for a variety of reasons. I wasn’t happy there and didn’t feel like it was right. When I left, even though I had another job lined up, I felt like a failure because I hadn’t been there long. That said it lead on to bigger and better things and just because it didn’t work out didn’t mean I was a failure.

IMG_8421

Grades aren’t everything. 

For a good few months, I hid my degree certificate. I didn’t want people to know that I wasn’t perfect and didn’t get the first I’d been dreaming about. I hated mentioning it and whenever I did I’d follow up with ‘but I was only 3% off of a first!’ as if getting a 2:1 in literature was something to be ashamed of. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t hurt but at the same time my life was a mess in third year, to come out at all with a degree is fine with me. It now happily sits on my desk while I write.

Sunday Seven: Seven Things No One Tells You About Graduation

IMG_8421

This week I became a graduate. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will see I have been absolutely spamming my accounts with pictures and thank yous and a lot about the whole day. After this I will stop badgering you all on social media about graduating. I did think, however, I’d share with you seven things no one tells you about graduation.

Gowns may look good, but they are hot as hell.

If you graduate later in the year you may be ok but graduating in the hottest week of the year meant a lot of sticky, sweaty gowns. I was very pleased to get this off at the end of the day.

No shoes are worth taking skin off your feet. 

I tried two new pairs of shoes and I’m still paying the price. Make sure you wear them in if you really want fancy new shoes and take a lot of plasters.

Souvenirs are worthwhile, but expensive. 

I was not prepared for how expensive souvenirs were going to be! Photo’s were the most (although I’m yet to order mine), followed by £45 for a hoodie, £15 for a bear, £10 for a scroll holder and £15 for a pin of the university’s coat of arms. It’s only because this is the only time I plan on doing this in the near future I bought what I wanted but be prepared!

You will need to charge your phone. 

Phone calls to relatives, messages to you, photos, some sneaky Pokemon hunting. I really wished I had taken one of those charger blocks that you carry around in your bag. Ali has one and it’s a good investment, so it might be worth getting one.

Speeches are both long and boring, but can make you feel proud of where you’ve come from. 

There were some great parts of speeches but there was no denying that they were very long, especially in the heat. While a lot of us tried to be serious, but were really like a bunch of grown up kids, it was nice to think about how far we’d come and that Kingston would always be a part of us.

You’ll have an overwhelming amount of University pride.

I was SO proud of myself, the people I studied with and the university I spent 3 years of my life at. I never knew I would feel that much university pride on graduation day.

The day will go faster than you think, so soak up as much as possible. 

Just like your degree, the time will go so fast, so enjoy as much as possible.

 

 

Looking back at University -I’m a Graduate!

On Thursday 21st of July my journey as a student came to an end. Yes after 3 long years I am now officially a graduate of Kingston University, Chloe Metzger BA Hons. I’m going to try and keep this blog short, because I feel like I could write a book on this chapter of my life alone. I went from a girl who was terrified of leaving home, to a young independent woman. I’ve gone through more than I thought I could enjoy and have had experiences that I never thought I would but I’m so pleased I went to university, I found out who I was.

The past 3 years have been overwhelming such amazing highs and very tough lows. I’m nothing like the girl who started, who was so anxious the thought of getting on a bus nearly sent her into a panic attack, now I’ll travel around London for work. I’ve met the Chancellor and had a good few chats with her. I started this blog, interviewed by various people, made friends, started a band, played all over London and the South East and released 4 singles. I’ve watched countless bands and artists and met some of my absolute heroes. I’ve also met authors, celebrities and inspiring people. I’ve won awards, became a society president, got firsts and two ones, become a Student Ambassador and in charge of social media. I’ve given talks on mental health and found my voice as well as a way to use my past to create a better future.

Of course there were tough times too the homesickness, the really tough times with my depression when I wouldn’t leave my flat or be around people for days on end, friendship breakdowns, breaking my spine and not getting some of the grades I wanted. Originally I didn’t post that I got a 2:1 for my degree because I wasn embarrassed. My goal from the first year was to get a first class degree and I missed it by 3.5%. I cried, a lot, I was full of self loathing, how could I not get that extra 3.5%? Then I spoke to a friend, someone who chose to love me rather than being Ali or my family who were proud whatever, who told me not many people can recover from a broken spine and be in hospital for IBS and still come out so close to a first. It made me feel a lot better. I put this pressure on myself and it’s one of my flaws. I wanted to tell you all that because university comes with the good and the bad.

My future has completely changed from that I thought it would be before I went to uni, hell it’s different from what I thought it would be a year ago, but I’m happy. I’m happier sitting writing this than I have been in months, because third year was hard. It wasn’t just the workload, but my personal life. If I’m honest I’m surprised I made it through. I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting but I want  to be truthful to let others know that even when life gets so tough that you don’t know how you’re going to keep going, you can.  I haven’t you the space to write everything I loved about studying at university, but I did. I’ve got some incredible friends and memories from my time at KU and it’s honestly one of the best decisions I ever made.

So thank’s Kingston, you were great!

IMG_8421

Pre Graduation Nerves

475c2b221c35812073103551be5ddad9

Tomorrow, after 3 years of reading, tears, late nights, hungover mornings, trying to stay awake in lectures, essays, library days and trips to the pub, university will be over. I left with no idea what I’d do once I left, or if I’d even want to stay in the first place. So I’m sitting here (and a big follow up post about the end and looking back and all that jazz to come Friday or Saturday) and just thinking about tomorrow, this big ceremony that we’ve all been told about for years. I’ve had my hair done, my eyebrows, I have a new dress and even heels for the actual ceremony (not all day though, you have to be kidding me), Ali’s going to be there, my parents, my sister. Mostly I’m feeling nervous right now, worried about how the pictures will look, the walk across the stage. I’m not as panicked as I thought I’d be, actually I’m pretty proud of the fact that next week I’ll have spent a month in a job that I love, I have a car I saved up for and I feel like I have some idea of how I want my life to go. Fingers crossed I don’t fall over in the 5 minutes I have to be in heels.

Image from Pinterest

5 things I wish I’d known before going into Third Year

With third year coming to an end and my graduation looming I sat and thought about what I wish I’d known before I’d gone into third year. I won’t lie, this has been a tough year not just because the pressure was kicked up a gear at uni, but also because of stuff going on in my personal life. Either way here are 5 things I wish I’d known, that might just help future third years out!

1. You have a LOT of reading to do, get it done.

Trying to read all of my primary weekly texts, the additional theory, 30 secondary sources for dissertation, 15 secondary sources for my special study, and oh yeah MORE secondary sources for the other two modules. There’s a lot of reading to be done this year. Do as much of it in advance as you can and thank yourself later. Also, get used to the library, it’s going to be your second home.

IMG_0883

2. You will want to take naps like you’ve never wanted naps before.

I never used to be able to sleep in the day, at all unless I hadn’t slept at night (ahem, party animals in the flat next door). Now I feel like naps are the only way to keep me awake at night long enough to work on my assignments.

3. You’re allowed to struggle.

I spent most of my third year pretending to myself and my lecturers that uni was a breeze, that I had my shit together and of course I was ok. Fast forward to a month before my dissertation was due, I’m in tears in my supervisor’s office feeling like I couldn’t possibly get a good mark on this bit of work. For some reason I felt like I had to just project this air of confidence this year, maybe it was to make myself feel better? Either way if you’re struggling go and talk to your lecturers. Don’t make my mistake and wait until it all gets too much, it’s a stressful time and lecturers understand that.

4. Sleep is a wonderful thing, and during the final few weeks you will feel like you have never had enough. 

Yes I’m mentioning sleep again. Right now I have no sleep schedule. Some days I’ll be fine to be wide awake bright and early, go to the gym, work on my assignments and eat a healthy amount of food. Other days I’m writing until 2am, wake up a lot in the night or just don’t sleep at all. No matter how much sleep I do or don’t get I’m always exhausted. The brain is doing a lot of hard work right now people!

IMG_5091

5. You’re going to feel confused and excited and sad and have ALL OF THE FEELS, because this is a weird point of your life. 

I didn’t realise how all over the place emotionally I’d feel. On one hand I want to dig my nails in and never let go of uni ever because it’s the one place I’ve been happy to be in education. On the other hand I want to get all of my assignments done and out of the way and never spend another evening writing up references. I find myself getting emotional at the strangest times and other times I just shrug and get on with things. It’s a very weird time but I’m hoping, come July 27th when I officially have a degree it will have all been worth it.