Into the unknown – the uncertain journey of college’s end

Sally Dobie

Woman wearing a graduation hat, smiling

As we enter the final quarter of this academic year, mine and my classmates’ time at university is about to come to an end. For some, this signals their entry into the world of full-time work, for others a chance to begin a masters degree. For others who don’t fit perfectly into one of these two categories, the next step might not be completely clear.

Pretty much from the beginning of second-year up until now, I’ve regularly heard “I can’t wait for us to be done”, “I can’t wait to get out of here”, and “isn’t it going to be great when we finish?”. For some of us, no.

University, although a drain on money and (a lot of the time) motivation, is also a secure routine for me. It feels like all my colleagues are excited and ready for the prospect of finishing the course, while I’m holding on to what’s left of my security. Sure, there are a lot of things I’m looking forward to not doing: assignments, academic essays, and paying extortionate amounts for snacks because I’m more bored and sad than hungry.

But there’s so much uncertainty. Will I be able to get a full-time job? Where will I end up living? Will I find a job I love? The biggest one is: Will I be happy?

In a way, at university your teachers and classes try to prepare you for the profession you’ve chosen, then you’re put out in the real world often with less practical skills than you need, and told to fight for it. Especially in the field of journalism, everything is about competition. Moreso than with a lot of other professions, you’re literally competing with your classmates and friends at every turn.

Research from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in 2016 showed that nine months after graduation, 62% of graduates have found jobs. Of these, 71% find work in the field they studied for. For Arts and Humanities – my field – this decreases massively, resulting in only 31% of undergraduates finding a job related to their area of study.

Fear of change is something everyone has to varying degrees. Some people despise change, and some people hate staying the same. I feel like I should be more excited than most to finish university since I did a year before I transferred to DCU, so four years in total. I reality, it feels like I’m one of the few who is dreading the finishing line.

Of course, I’m excited too, going out into the world and being independent, being able to find a job in a field I enjoy is the goal right? You go to university to help you figure out what you want and how to get there. But we’ve been in education pretty much our whole lives up to this point, it’s strange for that to be over.

The whole point is to follow your dreams, I’m just scared that I don’t know where mine will end up taking me.

By Sally Dobie

Image: PxHere