When I look back as a graduate at how my final year came to a close, it’s safe to say that things ended a little differently than usual. In fact, for me, there wasn’t much of an ending at all.
Alongside all the fun and friendship at uni, life for me had also been a little ‘Lemony Snicket-y’ (A Series of Unfortunate Events). It was only as my final exams approached that I reluctantly decided to take a leave of absence, despite my desire to push on. So, as my friends spent our last few weeks together shaking off their revision stress and celebrating the end of studying, I couldn’t help but feel like I was crashing a party (with my super noisy friends Disappointment, Worry and Embarrassment in tow.)
However, now many months on (and with my degree finally in hand!), I wish I could tell my past self a few important things:
Sometimes it’s ok to be on a different path to others – sometimes that’s exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to end up.
Taking more time to reach a finish line takes nothing away from your own worth or achievement.
One day you’ll be having your own ‘end of uni’ party, so for now, go dance with your friends. With them, you’re never just celebrating ‘an end’ because it was only ever just the beginning.
⭐ Sarah (Student):
I’m not a final-year student, but I do feel like a chapter of my life is coming to a close. After spending my academic year on a placement abroad in Germany, I will be leaving the lifestyle and routine I’ve settled into, and the new home that I’ve made for myself. I always find it rather bittersweet when I know that things are temporary. I’m really trying to soak everything in here while I still can, taking an extra careful look at all the places I visit as it may be the last time I ever see them! Even the mundane things like my commute to work have become special, so I’m making sure to take photos for my future self to look back on nostalgically. As much as I dislike things coming to an end, I think it does enable me to appreciate the little things (and the big things!), and I’m really just grateful that I’ve had such wonderful experiences. It reminds me of the Winnie the Pooh quote: “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
⭐ Tayyibah (Student):
As a final-year student, I always find the endings difficult. For me personally transitions and changes have never been easy but having ways to cope like having a goodbye meeting or days to plan out after university has finished is what has helped me to have a more positive outlook on the future. If you had asked me when I started my Early Childhood Studies degree at Derby ‘Would I reach this far?’, I wouldn’t be able to answer. To think of how much I have managed to achieve over the 3 years of my degree has been amazing and incredible to see. The growth I have made professionally and personally is definitely one to remember. I know that the support my friends and academic staff have given me has boosted my confidence and self-belief in knowing I can achieve anything. A quote I will leave you with is ‘You are stronger and braver than you think and more loved than you will ever know.’
⭐ Emily T (Student):
As a History and Modern Languages student, my third year will be spent on a placement abroad. I am still a little uncertain about my plans at the moment, but I hope to be teaching English as a language assistant in Spain!
Honestly, the thought of going on a year abroad makes me really nervous! From moving away from my support network to finding accommodation in an unfamiliar place, there will inevitably be lots of new challenges. Sometimes it’s difficult feeling anxious about my year abroad when it seems like everyone else is excited to be gearing up for what should be an experience of a lifetime. However, I know that living and working in Spain will be an amazing opportunity for academic and personal growth!
Looking forward, I am sure that when my plans are more concrete, I will start to feel much more excited about this new chapter in my life.