Life post degree is something you put to the very back of your mind while studying. Most of us accept the inevitability of handing in our dissertation, returning to the home we spent our childhood years and starting a job search (slowly mind you; have to make the most of the last truly free summer!).
Somehow I managed to skip this step.
I was quite happy with the prospect of taking three months off, properly living the final few weeks of youthful abandon then hurriedly applying to as many post graduate job openings as possible. I was even entertaining the idea of travelling to some distant American state to work as a ranch hand, join the rodeo and/or find the love of my life. Sadly such dreams will have to go on the back burner because I stumbled straight into a job.
Don’t get me wrong, a regular income and the ability to use my newly established journalistic skills is a very welcome combination, I just feel bad for the cattle I didn’t herd, the belt buckles I didn’t win, and the Blake’s, Kit’s and Cody’s I didn’t meet. Another time perhaps?
Back to reality.
The prospect of leaving education, giving up homely comforts and actually having to be a proper adult and do adult things is horrifying! While school teaches you equations and formulas, confuses you about word endings in foreign languages, and leaves you with cringey Facebook pictures (in my case, pink hair with a Russell Brand-esque backcomb at various stages of drunkeness), it fails to mention anything about immersion heaters, brown bin payments and the usefulness of basic DIY.
So I was confronted with a bit of an issue. Add to this the slight inconvenience that my new job was 80 miles from where I was currently living, it all got a little bit stressful to say the least. Reverting to typical student behaviour, I made a list, then another, and another, until I’d got my head around what was happening after I finished my dissertation (that was still on page one and meant to be finished within the next two weeks, did I mention it was stressful?)
The biggy was finding somewhere to live. Working out what I could afford, distance from work and location of stabling for my horse all came into play, factors that left me with a very limited choice. But after a mess up over a flat, I found a quaint house with a small garden and designated parking space, I was sold! Here’s where I thought it would get easier, but no, then comes the process of referrals, credit checks and endless back and forth of contracts (90 page contracts that you actually have to read, signing each and every page).
Once all the boxes get checked and the estate agents are happy they’ll get paid, you get given keys and that’s when it’s all suddenly real. It becomes your responsibility to grow up very quickly, take care of a house, take care of yourself and start a 9 – 5.
Moving stuff is a bit dull, especially if you have a tiny city car that can just about transport a double bed (as long as you’re happy with not being able to use your mirrors, sorry Dad). In all, relocating my life took five full Peugeot journeys, two loads in the mum-mobile, one big Transit and a horsebox. Note to self, having a horse and spoiling said horse with pretty rugs and unnecessary bits is all well and good, until you inevitably have to move to pastures new!
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was all worth it.
I’m writing this sitting in my new bed (a bed that took me a good three hours to build), surrounded by all my worldly possessions (still in bags as I couldn’t resist getting into said freshly made bed), in my newly rented house. Surreal. That’s the only word for it!
Yesterday I was an Anglia Ruskin student, stressing about the font size of my dissertation. Today I am a home owner. While I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring and I’m pretty sure my lack of adultness will come back to bite me, I’m quite happy wallowing in the strange sensation that I have actually grownup.
Goodbye to the pink haired teenager fuelled by Strongbow and Smirnoff Ice, hello to the professional journalist whose tastes remain firmly in the fruity cider section, with a touch of rosé for fancy occasions, after all, you can’t grow up overnight!