Freedom. Now what?

After three years of blissful existence at university, Lauren Cope can't quite get her head around the real world

Back when I started revising for my finals, I, along with all students, dreamt of my post-exam freedom. I envisaged myself reading books that weren’t on a suggested reading list, going to the gym every day, whipping up wonderful recipes and becoming a better version of myself. Alas, it didn’t go quite to plan.

I’ve spent the last month since my final exam doing, for lack of a more eloquent phrase, naff all. I think I went to the gym, maybe, once? The first Game of Thrones book has patiently waited on my bedside cabinet to no avail, and I’m still as unsure where my life is going as I was a month ago. I have, however, become incredibly good friends with my bed, the vendors listed on Just Eat and the nice folks at the corner shop. Now, instead of thriving off my imagined joyous freedom, I’m faced with moving back home.

No matter how many times I tell myself that I was lucky to go to university and that I’ve lived a wonderfully lazy lifestyle for three years, it doesn’t manage to ease my concerns about leaving. Whether I like it or not, I’ve fallen firmly into 'the gap' - the transitional period between being a student and, I suppose, just being unemployed. While I’m grabbing, as tightly as I can, to the thought of graduation this month, as I’m technically still in education until then, my student card expired in May and I don’t even have access to my university library (tragic). I think it’s time to admit it’s over.

It might have only been a month and a bit, but I’ve already had everyone I know ask the dreaded questions: 'What do you plan on doing then? Have you found a job?'

The pressure is mounting, and I only finished studying 45 days ago. I’m soon going to have to wave goodbye to things I’ve become accustomed to and get used to new routines - most significantly, a job. I’ve lived 21 years by relaxed schooling hours, which makes a 9-to-5 position every day, for the foreseeable rest of my life, quite daunting.

Goodbye three nights out a week, adios seeing my friends on a daily basis and so long to summer holidays – time to break the 21-year-old pattern teaching me that August is time for a break. I think the fear shared amongst most, however, is the most simple - moving home. After three years becoming adults, maturing, having our own homes and living, largely, independently, it’s a hard fall back home.

“I love being at home with my family,” says Rachel, a law student friend of mine, “but moving back home for good feels like I’m right back to square one. It’s daunting.”

I’m slowly starting to accept that I have to start thinking about my adult life, let go of the free-cheeseburger-shaped hole in my life and bid farewell to the “I’m a student” excuse to explain a multitude of sins. It’s been an amazing, life-changing three years, university, but, with a heavy heart, I think we have to go our separate ways. After graduation that is, obviously.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider to the fa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Analyst - Global ERP Implementation - London

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'