Being Stuck in Post-Uni Limbo
For the last three years I’ve been studying BA Broadcast Journalism at The University of Huddersfield, and this July I’ll officially graduate and become alumni which is an incredibly scary achievement.
Education, like for many others has been a huge part of my life - 16 years in fact. The goal ever since I was in high school was to go to university, originally I wanted to study English Literature but found a passion more towards journalism while at college. Now this chapter of my life is coming to an abrupt end, I feel like I’m stuck almost in a limbo between graduating and making the next step. The plan at the moment is to continue studying and do a MA Media Production degree at a different university, either focusing on TV Documentaries or TV Drama - I haven't quite decided yet. But even then, if I’m successful enough to be invited to an interview, nail that and then be offered a place the time period between finishing in May and starting again in September is hazy.
This time it doesn't feel like a usual summer. When you’re an undergraduate student, you chill out with your friends doing more or less nothing, except maybe working part time somewhere but you know that roll on September and you’ll be back to the life you’ve become accustomed to. Although doing a post graduate degree is the same in terms of having a time table, deadlines, lectures, seminars etc… it just feels different. It might be because it is a level up so the pass grade goes from 40 to 50 and the grading goes from 2:2, 2:1 etc to pass, merit, distinction or it might be because I’ll be moving to a new city. But either way these couple of months between both the end of my time at Huddersfield and potentially the beginning of my time in Salford just has a strange unsure cloud dangling above it. It doesn’t know whether to disappear and turn into sunshine or if it should viciously throw thick droplets of rain at me. I’m talking about the postgraduate degree in such a cautious light because there is every chance that my application can be rejected and that would be the end of continuing in further education. That level of uncertainty is something that I’ve not experienced before as when I was in high school, there was always the option of 2 colleges I liked, moving to university I had a firm, insurance and clearing option but now there is only 1 post graduate degree that I like. So this one course feels like the be all and end all when it comes to learning and coming out a year later with some form of recognition about it.
The limbo stage is a strange one.
I have been applying for jobs too, in the hopes that one of my favourite media companies or broadcasters see my application and thinks ‘yes she sounds like the perfect candidate’ or ‘I like the sound of her, lets give her a chance’ but so far nothing has really happened. Trying to break into the media industry whether you want to be a presenter, script writer or news editor is tough no matter how you do or don't go about it. There isn’t one clear avenue into your chosen speciality and to be honest there aren't a lot of secure jobs outside of that scope. Right now, most of my days consist of waking up mid morning to just lounge around the apartment watching Netflix, scanning some jobs online, maybe seeing a friend for coffee then going to sleep. Which compared to my usual schedule of lectures, seminars, society meetings and what not is mentally draining.
There have been a lot of articles floating around online recently talking about post graduate depression. Usually this is when an individual after finishing a degree hasn’t secured themselves a job for whatever reason, has to move back home with their parents and feels a deep emptiness from lack of social life, routine and privacy. Another form can be found in those who have managed to get a job (not necessarily in their field of study), moved away from university friends to a new location and aren't feeling fulfilled in their decisions. There are elements of both of these that I feel might become true for myself, more so moving back home as I’ve become used to living on my own terms and rules for the last 3 years. Taking that independence away from somebody and having to abide by your parents rules or way of living is a bigger shock than initially moving out and fending for yourself in my eyes.
I’ve had A LOT of free time on my hands recently, but that amount of time has only dwindled down my drive to do things like go the gym more than once a week, to write articles on this website and just keep my life in check. And the only way I’m able to describe it to others around me who maybe are feeling the same, or friends who didn’t go to university is a limbo. Even now, I’m a couple of days away from discovering what classification I will be graduating with in July, I feel like I’m just waiting around so I can change my CV and update my LinkedIn to say Melissa Fagan BA Hons Broadcast Journalism Degree [insert classification here]. The point I’m trying to put across after all this waffle is that if right now you’ve finished your degree and don't know whether you’re going into further study or your on the job hunt but its proving unsuccessful, to not worry. Not being busy is killing me, but having nothing to be busy about is also draining any motivation I have to pursue the things I would usually rush and not spend as much time on, because I was doing a degree. I feel as though if you’ve been in this position before or are currently in it then you’d understand where I’m coming from. If not, this might sound like an excuse to some to be lazy and a typical ‘millennial’ in this day and age but its actually a lot more serious than I’m putting across.
The next couple months are very hazy, they could lead to great things and opportunities for myself in the media industry and that is what I’m hoping for but, they could also be a harsh reality to the ‘adult world’ compared to the hardworking but overall relaxed and fun three years as a student. Life to some extent is a series of uncertain opportunities and forecasts for the future but right now, this is the most uncertain and terrifying stage I’ve yet faced in the 21 years I’ve been on this Earth.