The last

Today marks the last official day of the last Easter break I will ever spend as a student. Ever. Sounds incredibly definitive, doesn’t it? And quite frankly, I have to admit I’m not really all that sure how I’m supposed to feel about that. I’ve loved being at college and I’ve hated it. Mostly, though, I have – at this point – spent over 21 of my almost 24 years at school in one form or another. I am what I study, you know?

On studying

Maybe I should start this with a short preface. In Belgium, you start school at age 2,5. Well, technically, you start school at the first entry date after you’ve become 2,5. In my case, that was somewhere after Easter break. Until you turn 6, you spend about all your days in kindergarden, and then you get 6 years of primary school. The next step is 6 years of high school. After that, either you go to work, or you continue studying. In my case, it turned into quite the university-marathon 🙂

In case anybody cares – I started out “just” doing a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Linguistics, English and Dutch. After that was done I realised I didn’t want to stop learning languages, and added on a bachelor’s of French, while also doing my Master’s degree for English and Dutch. And then I also added in the Master’s of French. Because why not, you know?

(Also: in Belgium you have to choose right away what you’ll study, but then a bachelor takes only 3 years, while most every master takes either 1 or 2 years. I still ended up taking the course work of a year and a half two years ago, and that of almost two years last year.)

This year, I still felt like I wasn’t done with studying yet. So I added a Master’s of Journalism and a teaching degree. Two year’s work in one year again.

And I know I can’t really speak for other people, but it still feels like you kind of get defined by what you’re doing at school. Whether it be what school you’re at or what you’re doing while at school. And for the past 21 years I’ve been a student.

On not studying

Sure, I’ve been more than  just a student. I’ve been defined by my friends, my relationships, my family. By the place I’m from in Belgium, by the place I chose to study… You are who you know, you are where you’re at.

Throughout those years of “being a student” I’ve changed. A lot. I’ve gone from a performance-based know-it-all, to someone who was constantly bored in all of their classes. And then somehow I managed to transform again, this time to the most information-needing person you’ve ever known. In the mean time, there’s been some friends gained, some friends lost, a couple of mental health thingies, this blog, two other blogs, tumblr’s. And of course: many, many books.

And still, to a large extent, all of that feels somehow intrinsically linked to my “being a student”. The studytips on this blog? They’re there because I use and need them. The bookreviews? They’re there because I read to get my mind off studying – or even because I had to read them for school. The “How to Survive“-series? Same story.

So right now, I’m finding myself more than a little anxious. Am I going to be able to finish my Master’s Dissertation? How will I do on my journalism internship? How will I handle not being in college anymore? Will I ever find a job?

And now

In general, I’m not all that big on uncertainties. I’m that person that prefers a “no” to a “I don’t know” or a “maybe”, just because at least then, I can just move on with my life. Get the “not knowing” over with, move on to something else. Right now, the entire next year seems to be steaped in nothing but uncertainties. And the next couple of month’s? They’re all “the last”.

The last Easter break, the last papers, the last deadlines, the last time meeting up with my promotor, the last time I write an introduction, the last exams, … I don’t like saying goodbye, and right now it feels like my immediate future consists of nothing but goodbyes.

If I should disappear from this blog for a while – know that that’s why. Should I start to post more than ever before – also know that that’s why. If you’ve gone through a similar period of “the last”, please let me know how you dealt with it. Did you turn out okay? How are you feeling about it now? Or are you maybe finding yourself at the same point as I am? Faced with a finish line, and not sure how you feel about crossing it? Let’s get some courage from each other – feel free to tell me your stories below! I feel like I’m gonna be needing them 🙂

-Saar