Graduation is nearing and it’s your last year. What to do? Where to go? Francesca Matthys shares some tips on how to keep sane before and after graduation.
As I stared at the glowing screen of my laptop; the jam-packed vessel which held almost the entire contents of my academic varsity life, it dawned on me that my four-year degree was coming to an end. Three years had swiftly passed by like the obnoxious Metrobus I would often breathlessly chase after; pre-license of course. I always knew I would eventually have to pack my metaphorical bags and hand my student card over, “Your time is up Francesca, we hope you’ve enjoyed your stay” they would politely tell me while urging me to exit through the turnstile one last time.
What it Comes down to?
Luckily for me and my wild imagination, my last few memories of varsity will hopefully not be as detached and impersonal. Currently, I’m studying Drama majoring in Physical Theatre, writing, directing as well as doing my research project in Musical Theatre at Wits University. I’ve built personal and professional relationships, I’ve been taught to think critically and hone my craft as well as most recently own my style as a theatremaker, as well as what I want to say to the world with the work I create. Apart from that I’ve also grown as a person, learned to stand up for myself, learned that not everybody is as nice as you would like them to be and lastly witnessed love.
Wits and I have passed the point of being impersonal and I think it’s safe to say to say that it’s become intimate ladies and gentlemen! Judging by my experience thus far I should be fairly equipped to enter the big bad industry right? No. I think not. Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but who’s to say that I won’t fail miserably the second I walk out there? I think it’s a valid anxiety for many newly graduated or soon-to-be graduated students especially us “artsy fartsy left-brained thinkers”.
Do I jump straight in and take the first job which comes my way? Do I take a post-graduation gap year and travel the world until something comes up? Do I make a conscious decision to spend the next year creating theatre and investing my time and energy in that? Or do I simply decide that I’m actually not done studying yet and go right onto doing a master’s programme? These are only some of the options that bounce around my head like those colourful bouncy balls we would play with as children (also which I haven’t seen since). One can become quite frazzled being confronted with such a serious decision; one which expects of you to make a very adult choice too. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve often been overwhelmed with just the thought of life after graduation. Yes it’s scary and yes you might even cry (lol) but don’t panic, I have some tips that have helped me keep calm about graduating soon.
Tips to keep you sane when it’s time to Graduate:
It might seem strange that you’re being reminded but you’d be surprised how many times you’d forget to do it.
- Do your research. Potential jobs, internships or master’s programmes won’t find themselves. There are endless possibilities out there that definitely won’t fall into your lap unless you look for them. Go online, visit institutions or companies, speak to people who could assist you with more information or provide you with possible opportunities.
- Keep your options open but also don’t overwhelm yourself with too many ideas. Narrow your options down to the few that you are most passionate about pursuing.
- Continue to build on your skills and try and learn as much as you can while still being at varsity. Your lecturers, as well as the institution, are there to assist you in reaching your full potential. Make an effort to ask as many questions as possible and make use of all the resources to your availability.
- Stay positive and never lose sight of your goal. It’s your future and if you don’t keep focused on it who else will?
- Make an informed decision. Make sure that you’ve done enough research or spoken to enough people before making your choice.
Although I sometimes cringe at the idea of no longer being sheltered by this immense institution where I knew my ideas were safe and sound, I am excited about a lot of things. Firstly; my final year as a Drama student majoring in Physical Theatre, writing, directing as well as doing my research project in Musical Theatre. I hate to jump on the “it’s a new year, new me” bandwagon but I believe that 2015 holds so much possibility for both myself as a person and a theatremaker, I hope to discover my style of theatre-making and flourish into it. Secondly, I am excited about the brand new journey I will embark on next year, a journey filled with its own challenges and rewards.
Ultimately, I am so grateful for my entire experience of varsity thus far. It has definitely shaped me in the most phenomenal way and although I might sometimes freak out about what comes next I try to always remind myself to breathe and keep calm because yes, everything will be okay.
Life after graduation is frightening. We know. Nonetheless, think of it as a new chapter in your life. For some, it becomes quite a stressful and exciting life experience. If you’re looking for ways to relieve your stress take a look at “5 Ways to Deal with Stress at University” or to ease your worries have a look at “Generation Y will change careers 5 times.” Whatever you end up doing, do something that’ll make you happy. Here at the EduConnect offices, we have a quote on our wall that says, “Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.”