As I watch fellow university students graduate this week, I can’t help but wonder what their plans are when they go back home and begin the next stage of their lives. It also makes me wonder what I’ll be doing when I leave university. I have a few options, and I’ve thought about each for a little while. My first, and preferable option, would be to carry on with education, do a Master’s degree and after that, a PhD. Of course, financially, doing that is rather unlikely. So, then, my second option, which is financially more realistic, would be to move back home, begin a full time job, and enter the working world for a year or two to save up some money so that I can pay for further education.
I do fear though, that if I were to move home and begin working full time with no definite date as to when I’d start my hypothetical masters, I’d get too accustomed to earning money. As much as I’d like to finish my education, the idea of owning my own flat and getting set up in life is very tempting. I dream of having a life of my own, my own space to grow in to, where I’d eventually have a child and possibly even a dog. The possibilities here are endless, and it is something that I’d very much like to do.
However, can I not have this later in life? Waiting another five years wouldn’t be too harmful, right? I could even get a better job, which means a better flat with an open plan living/ dining room area and large windows that I could stand at with a child and look out of. This is the better, more preferred option, and I know in my mind that I should take this route. Logically it would make much more sense, especially seeing as though the career path I’ve set my mind on requires at least a masters.
For a while now, however, the thought of dropping out of university to get a job, save money, and rent a flat has been stomping around my head. If I’m honest, while I know the educational route is the better option, I cannot seem to shake the idea of dropping out. The only thing keeping my focus on university right now is the idea that, if I drop out, I’d be very lucky to see my friends again. In my home town there is only one person left here whom I speak to, and we converse so irregularly that she may as well not be here.
The attraction to the idea of starting working life and renting my own flat comes from the fact that living with two addresses, travelling back and forth between university and home, is becoming stressful; very stressful. My brain sections things into boxes and makes sure everything has it’s own place, and internally I do not quite fit in both my university box and my home town box. When things become too messy, my brain will chuck it all away and start again, and that’s what it’s wanting me to do now; start again somewhere fresh, in a new town meeting new people, in my own flat where I can build a base for myself. I’d also like to be closer to family, my university town is quite far from home and I don’t like the idea of not being around if something were to happen.
Of course, the idea of carrying on with university means that I’m able to apply for research fellowships, become a researcher and lecturer and then gradually move up the hierarchy of staff at a university until I’m both Head of Year and lecturer. I’d be earning so much more money, have such a bigger house, and have a better quality of life.
Right now I’m somewhere directly in the middle of two choices; drop out and lead my own life with a new job, find a flat, become my own person, or spend another year at the least trying to make my brain settle into one box. I don’t quite have the answer as to what I’m going to do yet, but I need to make a decision soon, before obligations in either place make them for me.
My advice to anyone in this situation, and I’m sure there are a few, is follow your heart. At the end of the day you’ll regret whichever choice you make, and by following what you truly believe is best you’ll have a little more piece of mind, knowing that you chose because you knew it was the best idea for you. Don’t let anyone influence your choice, you have to make it yourself and know where you are going with it.