I still feel like a student, even though I am no longer one. Last Monday I handed in my dissertation which marked the end of my education or, as my mum put it, ‘You’ve been at school since you were 4. You’re no longer at school now!’. I felt slightly giddy when I worked out that I have been in education for 19 years; almost two decades of my life have been spent learning, in which four years have been dedicated to my specialism, English Llterature.
I haven’t yet had a day to myself where I would have normally hid in the university library or the office at home, and just work on my dissertation. Since handing it in, I have been down to St Albans to see my boyfriend, I was at work on Friday and went to Nottingham that night to experience greyhound racing for the first time, and I went back to Nottingham again today for Sunday lunch on a cruise on the River Trent. Yesterday I gave my room a good clean and tidy and sang at a wedding at my local church.
I think it will hit me that I’m no longer a student when I have a day with no plans and think, ‘Shouldn’t I be working on something?’, or when I go into full-time work and have to start paying tax! This will happen on 5th October when I resume my role as a note taker, but with full-time hours compared to the past academic year when I worked part-time alongside my Masters. I will have a small taste of full-time work from Saturday onwards through to Thursday, as I have been given lots of hours from my current job, which has been working behind a bar. The money will be good of course, and I will miss my colleagues when I finish on the 1st October- it’s been a positive experience.
Despite all of this, I think no longer being a student will hit me the most when my NUS card expires at the end of October! *cries in a corner* Since sixth form I have paid a small amount each year for an NUS card, which gives students discounts to all sorts of places, including shops, restaurants and also on travel. My mum loves shopping with me, as I can get her discounts in some of her favourite clothes shops, and eating out and paying full price rarely happens! However, it is easy to get discounts in restaurants without a student discount card. The vouchercloud app always has discounts for food places and occasionally clothing shops as well.
Another thing I have to look forward to is paying back my student loan! My job as a note taker will not meet the criteria where I can start paying back my loan, but once I have a graduate job where I earn enough annually, then a small part of my pay will be deducted for what will seem like eternity. By the time I am ready to finish work, the retirement age will probably be 80 years old, so the government will get all of their money back (plus the interest, which means it will take longer for me to pay back my loans!).
Despite the money woes as a result of wanting to educate one’s self, I have thoroughly enjoyed the university experience. While this does include all of the late-night partying, getting drunk and enduring horrid hangovers (from my undergraduate years, of course), I have met some amazing people, many of them who are still my friends and we keep in contact through social media. I have learnt a lot more about myself during the past four years of university life, and I certainly feel more intellectual for it.
I must admit that one part of my university education which has enlightened me the most is sex/gender, which I find fascinating and if I do a PhD, it is something I’d like to specialise in within English literature. It is through university that I realised that I am a feminist, and I intend to write more feminist blogs.
So make sure to watch this space, where you will also see my poetry, more food antics and my ongoing quest to lose more body fat and continue to improve my fitness!
Happy reading and blogging!