Ever since I started university I had people telling me those would be the best years of my life, or continuously found people who were now in a 9-5 reminiscing upon their student days and the freedom they had to sit in the pub all afternoon.
Because I am A) easily influenced, and B) naive, I assumed this must be the truth and therefore spent the last few months of my degree worrying about how my life was soon to be over and how I would never be as happy again. That just goes to show that you don’t do all of your growing up at university.
I do think the following only applies if you have a job you actually like, but luckily for me, I do. I like my job a lot and enjoy coming to work most mornings, but that isn’t all. Since starting not only this job, but other 9-5s, I’ve noticed the huge contrast in the amount of spare time I have now compared to when I was at university. It’s hard to say whether the student or professional status racks up more hours each week, but seeing as the latter part of my degree comes to mind first, I would compare the months of dissertation research and all-night revision that came in the final few months with my current day to day routine, and based on that I’d say I have more freedom now.
This came to mind last Saturday night. My friend invited me to drive over to York for the evening but I declined so I could stay in and finish a job application (said liked job happens to be temporary). Clue #1: turning down an invitation to socialise at the socially accepted uniform time of the week for doing so. I switched my laptop on and Facebook and Twitter had opened before I’d even realised. Clue #2: this was how all of my essays began. At midnight I finished the application after procrastination which had involved looking at friends’ online photos dating back to 2007. I was exhausted. It was at this point I realised what similarity the night had had to many student nights.
Yes, as a student you might get to sleep in until midday and then go to the pub, but when you have work to do you really have work to do. A job structures your time for you. Thinking about it, it makes much more sense to get up early and get to work straight away, then go home and still have enough of the evening left to socialise or relax, plus full weekends devoted to whatever you like, because you know you don’t have an essay to finish.
Lecturers always tell you that university is about balancing your time well, and they had a point (if you’re reading this as a student, ignore this, you won’t find this out until afterwards). Time could always be better organised at university, but I doubt anyone could ever work so well that they’re able to avoid working evenings and weekends at the busiest points. Overall, working full time has given me much more freedom than being a student did, plus I have the salary that I didn’t before to actually be able to make use of the free time I have.
So there we go: graduates who have finished university this year can rest in the knowledge that things aren’t all bad from here after all.