This is probably my least favourite question of all time.
The hot topic on everyones lips. It's the standard question that you get asked by your aunties and uncles, your bosses, and hell, we even ask each other. Every time I run into an old school friend, or find myself awkwardly chatting to a student that I kind of know from a broadening unit two years ago whose name I can't quite remember, I find myself falling into the trap, and asking them the exact question I know they do not want me to ask them.
You hear it at least once a day, or maybe you scroll past memes about it. 'Next year'. The topic has caught on faster than the Birkenstock rebirth. With so many of my friends graduating from their undergraduate degrees at the end of the year, including myself, it seems like a reasonable question to be asking. But no one seems to quite have the answer. There are so many routes I could go down. Further study? Year abroad? Euro trip? Move over east? Work in retail forever? Move out? Stay home? Save? Spend? Anything but get an actual, real life, adult job of course.
For me, there has always been a very clear, next step. From primary to middle to senior school. From high school straight into university. But no one quite prepares you for what comes next. For when we actually become 'adults'. Never have I ever not had a clue what my next step will be. In conversation with my friends, I discovered that many of them are struggling with the same conundrum. For as long as we can remember, our lives have been an endless cycle of essays, classes, exams and long awaited holidays, which we yearn for, which seem to fly by in what feels like days not weeks or months. And half the time, we waste our holidays complaining about how we are beyond bored and how much we wish were were back into the routine of university, until we are one week into the semester and are already falling behind.
At the end of this year, there are no more 'uni breaks' or 'school holidays' for many of us. That is it. We walk out of our final exam, into the real world. It's both terrifying and exciting at the same time. Because who ever really knows what the future holds? Some believe our paths are already determined for us, some believe we are the masters of our own fate, the captains of our own ship. I'm still not quite sure which category I fall into, and if you are reading this, I'm guessing you aren't either. All I know is that I'm only twenty, and within two months I would have written my final essay. Four different majors, two different universities and two different degrees later, I somehow will graduate on time. And I can't wait to see what the future holds.