Sunday Seven: Seven Things No One Tells You About Graduation

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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!

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Pre Graduation Nerves

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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

Young and Desperate?

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I found this quote while searching through Pinterest (obviously one of my favourite websites) and it went well with a decision I made today. I wrote last week about grad job rejection  and how to handle it and for the past few days I’ve been frantically searching for jobs to apply for. I wasn’t getting stressed until I saw people over Facebook posting about grad jobs they’d been accepted for already or the amount of jobs they’d been applying for. Then I started to panic, all the jobs I wanted to apply for needed you to start in a month or less, there were no grad schemes. So I got online and poured over jobsites looking for jobs I was slightly interested in.

I realised this morning while looking through all the tabs again, that this wasn’t how I was going to find a job I wanted to do. All the ones I was going to apply for were either only slightly related to what I want to do or had a much lower salary that I was hoping and expecting to aim for. And for what? I’d been drawn in by anxiety and panic, thankfully I realised what the uneasy feeling was before applying. I know there are jobs in my field and I know that I’m qualified but I just can’t take a job just yet.

Although I’m only 21 I’ve already had quite a few different roles I’ve worked in retail, cinema, office work, tutoring and freelance and I already have a solid idea of what I hate. When I was 16 I took a job from anyone who would offer it to me because I needed the money and wanted the independence. My first two jobs I hated with a passion because I took them out of desperation. My third job I took on but should have been wiser about contracts and things like that. By the time I took on my 4th job that wasn’t babysitting or tutoring I was working somewhere I wanted to and it made all the difference. It’s been the same with my university jobs that I love doing, I wasn’t desperate, I took my time and I excel at my job. With that in mind I’m going to try and take that into account when applying for post uni jobs.

I know that not everyone can do that and I’m thankful that Ali and I have somewhere to go once we graduate. There was no question I could move back into my parents house but come July, if we haven’t found work, we’ll be moving in with Ali’s Mum temporarily as she has more room. Thankfully I’m only about 10 minutes away in the car from my Mum and Dads too. Ali’s said to me before there’s not a desperate rush and for the first time ever I’m starting to believe him. I’ll work hard and apply for jobs of course but I won’t rush into things and be tricked into an underpaid job, particularly with the experience I have. I want to go into interviews and be passionate and excited about the job and the company. I want to have goals and ideas about what I can bring and I know how cliché I sound right now, but I’ve had enough crappy jobs to last me a lifetime.

 

Finishing my first week of classes…yes really!

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As of 11am I had finished my first week of classes for this year. I know, crazy right? Being a humanities student is about doing a lot of independent research so while I’m only in class 6 hours a week I’m definitely going to need to use the rest of the week to get my research done and try and get some new ideas together, but this suits me just fine. I get to read and create ideas and if I’m having a low I can just work at whatever time suits me best, if I have a rough night I can sleep later and work into the evening or vice versa. I feel like I’m going to get a lot more done this year when I can set my own times and agenda.

I am really pleased with the way my classes went this week, it’s a lot more interesting and I feel like we’re at a stage where our opinions can really be valued. I’ve worked hard to get to the stage that I’m at with my course and I finally feel like I can let out my excitement and not look like the biggest geek ever because, with dissertation especially, other people are also enthusiastic about their projects.

This is the start of, hopefully, a long road of independent research, there are even less classes when you take part in a Masters degree and then PhD classes are usually research based rather than taught. It’s a big thing to undertake but right now it’s one of the only things on my mind. Of course I’d love to be a musician and tour the world but equally I know that might not happen because a big part of it is being in the right place at the right time.

I’ll admit that I am a little nervous about having lows, partly because for 4 days of the week there is nothing to force me to go outside, but partly because I’ve lost my ways of exercising. It is hard having mental health issues and studying sometimes, you can feel really isolated, especially around deadlines as well as extra pressures but I’m hoping that not being in class all the time means I can just sit and focus as well as trying to meet up with friends from other courses/play shows/ write/draw if I am getting a little too stressed.

All in all I’m pretty pleased with how this week has gone, I have a tonne of reading to do in the next few days but I can’t wait to go back to class on Monday morning!

Education is a gift like no other

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I don’t always know what to write about. This evening was like that, a blank screen in front of me and searching for some kind of inspiration. People have asked me today how I can blog every day, how I stay motivated. I don’t really know, I suppose it’s just something I’m really proud of and it’s fun for me. I’d love to make a career out of this, but it’s not the sole reason I write it.

I spent today at work with a bunch of great students. They’re only two to three years younger than me but we’re kind of mentoring them as they apply for university and help answer any of their questions. I sat in on two taster sessions today, one for Media and another for Criminology, two subjects I’d never encountered before. I watched the lecturers and heard their passion for the subject and it inspired me. I’ve been getting more and more passionate about becoming a lecturer lately. People give me a list of reason not to do it; it’s too expensive, you haven’t lived yet, can you earn enough from it, what do you have to teach. There’s this fierce passion in me and from simply watching the impact the lecturers had on young people it reminded me why I want to study until I’m 25.

There is nothing in my decision about being scared about going into the ‘real world’. I want the challenge, the stimulation, the creativity that being an academic in Literature brings. I can still do other things, I can write books, still do social media. It’s not something I see as preventing me from doing anything, instead I see it as opening more doors than ever. It’s true what they say, education is the best gift of all, no one can take it away from you.

I wanted to write this to remind myself when I’m having a tough time with my dissertation this year or when I feel like giving up later on. I want to remember this excitement and happiness at the thought of studying and exploring literature. I’m a geek and I’m proud.

Image from http://www.girlsgonesporty.com/articles/fitness/using-we-heart-it-to-maximize-fitness-inspiration/