It has now been a full year (more or less) since I graduated from being a student to being an adult. God, that’s a scary thought. I definitely still don’t really feel like an adult. I’ve been walking around the last week catching Pokémon for crying out loud. With absolutely no regrets I would add.
Most people say “I can’t believe it’s already been a year” or “it feels like it was only yesterday.” But not me. This year has been possibly the longest year of my life (so far), mainly because I’ve found it to be quite difficult. Scratch that. Very difficult.
The thing is, before I went to Uni, I struggled greatly with self confidence. I had never lived on my own before, I very rarely stayed away from home on my own and until I got my acceptance letter from York, I had only applied for University because that was what was expected of me. Turned out going was the single best decision of my life and I’m glad that I didn’t choke on the terror of marching into the unknown. I am far from the person that originally moved into Halifax College all those years ago and that’s thanks to the experiences I had through my course, my friends and the societies I was involved in (you all know who you are).
So to move back home after having three years of that lifestyle, was a real shock to the system. It was so easy to slip back into the old ways, the old routines of living under my parent’s roof, and I was afraid of losing all that independence, all that self confidence that I had acquired over the last three years.
But I’m not going to dwell on that, because that has now passed. I’ve found my place back at home and things have become much easier, and though I desperately wanted to move back to York, I realise now that I wanted to go back, not only for my friends, but to try and maintain the student life that had now passed.
York was where I had made my home, and though I would love to return there in the near future, not being able to go back, at least for this first year, has been a blessing. I miss seeing everyone every day and I miss the city and the people, but I no longer miss the student lifestyle. I loved it and will always love it, but as a memory. That is a different time now and I have accepted that. It just took me a bloody long time to realise it.
So, where am I now?
Well I’m still living at home, back in Lancashire, but I am employed and I am driving, so it’s hard not to look at those positives. It may only be working in retail (Homebase and FatFace), but I’m working with some good people, in a good area with steady hours and valuable skills and as comfortable as I may be getting in these places, I know that it won’t be forever.
I have finally passed my driving test and have my car, my little Toyota Yaris which is quite literally the love of my life right now. It was a bloody stressful process trying to get the car though. The amount of time spent trolling through Autotrader ads, comparing prices, reviews and fuel economy (I could go on) was enough to make any sane person book residence in a sanatorium. But we got there in the end and my little Yaris (which I still haven’t named so any suggestions would be welcome) has been the thing to slot everything else into place. Living in an area with such a poor transport system is troublesome enough, but having to commune by train/bus for mostly evening shifts (becoming at least an hour and a half journey for what should be fifteen minutes) put a real restriction and what I could do in my free time. So for a long time, it was mainly just work, work work, work, work, work (cue Rihanna’s song).
Some silly sausage from the very lovely Pantomime Society back in York also thought it would be a good idea to give me my pitch for A Christmas Carol pantomime and have it performed, which was a truly wonderful experience. PantSoc was a society very close to my heart and very hard to leave, and even though I was coming back as a student, and writing the script and talking to the team from afar, it was a pleasure to work with them and so many other talented people once more.
I’ve been back to the Edinburgh Fringe, this time with TalkSimple Productions with Hearts of Folk. I was only supposed to be up there teching for a week, but ended up staying for the full run, which had serious implications for my bank account (but again, no regrets). I also did a spot of reviewing for Broadway Baby and for a time was even sub-editing for them and stayed on as part of the Editing Team during the Brighton Fringe.
I have this blog (which hasn’t had much life yet) and my other one (which you definetly know about) where I review as much as I can just to keep my writing juices flowing and I even have a YouTube channel where I upload videos that I’ve edited together.
I may not have come as far as I would have liked, but to be honest, what I have done isn’t half bad.
I may not be back in York. I may not be living on my own. And I may not yet be in a full time job.
But I am employed. I have a place to live. I am financially stable. I have great friends and family.
And most importantly, I am happy.
This has only been the first year, the first step and even if I am crawling towards it at a snail’s pace, by god I will get there one day.
So for all you graduates out there, welcome to the club. It may be a difficult year ahead, but who knows what will come out of it. But if there’s one bit of advice I will throw at you, it’s this:
Don’t forget your dreams.
Don’t forget your passions.
And don’t leave them behind.
This statement has been hammered into me by my Mum, my loved ones, everyone around me and it couldn’t be more true, even if it is a little cliché. The real world is full of boring things: bills, jobs, taxes, etc. and yes you will have to get a job and yes you will have to make money to actually, you know – survive, but don’t let all that change who you are.
Whether it’s chasing them in your free time as a hobby or pursuing it as a career path (no matter how much the world screams at you that THIS IS NOT AN IDEAL CAREER PATH), just do it!
For a lot of my friendship group, that passion is somewhere in theatre, whether it’s writing, directing, producing, stage management, scenic design or technical extraordinaire. I know people who have gone on to form their own theatre companies, take shows across the country, undertaken postgraduate degrees and others just volunteering and getting experience. They’ll all be working normal jobs but they are still pursuing those dreams, because that’s what makes life interesting, and I admire them.
I may be extremely jealous of them, but I admire them and hope one day to have reached that same level.
And who knows, you may find a completely new dream to pursue; something that you had never even considered.
It’s a tricky time, but it doesn’t have to be.
So hopefully this time next year, I will post something similar about where I am and where I’m headed, and hopefully I’ll have come a lot further than I am now.
Actually, scratch the ‘hopefully’.