I am suffering from an educational hangover.
No, not the “went to pub midweek and made it to 8:30 class” educational hangover. The kind of hangover that can only be described as being both overwhelmed with emotions at the same time as feeling so empty. It is the change from having stood – rooted – in one place for so long to holding a piece of paper made from the very same roots that you had so firmly planted oh so many years go. It’s this jarring experience that fundamentally changes where you see yourself fitting into the world.
When I graduated in 2015 from my BA, I knew I was coming back to LU for my professional year, so I didn’t have this feeling of panic that I am experiencing. Now having graduated with my BEd alongside some of the best people I have ever met, this feeling of rootlessness is hitting me. And it’s hitting me hard.
This will be the first September in nineteen years that I won’t be returning to school. I have friends who will move or have moved all over the world. I have friends who are moving on to complete more schooling (I guess it’s true what they say about teachers – we never really stop being students). I know this isn’t a comparison thing, but looking at the opportunities my colleagues have made for themselves is eye-opening.
It is both liberating and frightening to have the world at your fingertips. I knew from high school that I was going to continue on to post-secondary, so I had five more years of plans done (or, five more years of putting off plans). I’m learning how to handle not having “a plan” for the first time in practically my whole life. It involves a lot of self-reassurance and deep breathing exercises throughout the day. From here, I can go/do/see/feel whatever I want. I have two degrees, but the real learning is about personality, character, integrity, values. These are the things that make you marketable. These are the things that make you unique. I took all of my courses this year with the same 32 people, and I am 100% positive that none of us will follow the same path moving forward.
If university taught me anything, it is how to problem solve and how to handle hangovers; so I know that with some hard work, some fresh air, and food shared with friends this feeling won’t last forever.