Turning points: Graduation

Everyone has those moments. You know, the ones you can pinpoint as: “this is where stuff changed”. The ones that either go hand in hand with big life changes, or where something just shifted. I’ve always thought they’re quite interesting. You know, I’m interested in what makes people into who and what they are. And the *big* turning points? Well, they certainly contribute to that. And as for my personal turning points – graduation is definitely one of the big ones.


Now, mind you – 2017 was a year of many internships, yes. But the internships themselves weren’t the actual hell part. Noooo, you see, I don’t need my internships to be bad, for them to be hell. Ain’t that a talent. Although, more accurately, that should read: “for me to make them hell”.

You see, for some reason, half way through 2016, I thought it would be a good idea to combine two entire years of university into one year. As one does, right? And for the first part? It was okay. I spent the last half of 2016 happily combining my master’s degree in Journalism with my teacher’s degree, taking classes Monday through Saturday, writing paper after paper on Sunday. I even did my first *full* blogmas that year, and I loved it.

And then 2017 came around and hit me in the face like a sack of bricks. I had something like 15 exams in 3 weeks. I even had 3 exams on one day. All of those exams took place in different locations, by the way (bless my dad for playing my chauffeur so I could go over my notes on the way to and from).

So far, that’s purely my fault.

Here's the thing. I was good at being a student. After all, I knew what that meant Click To Tweet

But then the internships started.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to juggle a teaching internship, where you have to both observe and teach classes, with classes and deadlines for your journalism master? Throw in two separate throat infections, a blog, social anxiety and worsening depression? It was fun.

And then, just as I thought I’d gotten the worst part over with… My journalism internship started – which, again – was fine (fun even) in and of itself. However. During those months, I had to do just about every single anxiety-inducing thing I had feared doing, tore a muscle in my knee, got sick (again), was looking for a new apartment because the apartment we were living in had been sold and the new owner introduced themselves through a letter that read (literal translation) “I have the honour to let you know I will be living in this apartment come fall”.

Oh, and I was also finishing my master’s dissertation as well as taking exams for my teaching degree.

I don’t think I’ve cried as much in a month as I did that May.

(That’s a lie. I definitely have cried more, but more on that in some of the other “turning points”.)

Mind you – this was the start of 2017. All of this happened before the actual graduation. And that was the *easier part* of the year.

Changing my job description

Here’s the thing. I was good at being a student. After all, I knew what that meant. I knew how to write a paper so that my professor’s would be happy with it. I knew how to read through manuals and get the important information from them. And I knew how to  do exams, tests and classes.

Each and every single one of those internships, however, was one day further away from my comfort zone.

As good as I was at being a student? That’s how much I suck at change. Going away from what I know? Not my forte. Not something I enjoy. I mean, I got 3 master’s, just so I could keep on studying. That’s how badly I didn’t want my life to change.

But, as it tends to do, life took over. I was graduating, whether I liked it or not. And that meant that I needed to get a job.

If you like this, you might also like: How to Survive Graduation

Now, if “change” is in the number one spot of things I don’t like to do? Selling myself is probably somewhere around number two. Believe me – I’m not that special. There were people in my graduating class that were way better at what we were doing, than I would ever be.

And more importantly: most of those people actually knew what they wanted to do. Which is, if I’m being totally honest, still not something I can say with 100% certainty.

I mean, I’ve said since I was a little girl that I wanted to be a teacher. If I’m being honest though, that is probably largely because teachers were everywhere for me. There must be some sort of a gene running through me, because at times it feels like being a teacher (at some point, at least) is a prerequisite to be part of my family. My cousins, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents – even my great-grandparents! Teachers have literally surrounded me since before I was born. How on earth was I ever going to want to be anything else, when I grew up?

(As a side note – I should probably ask my sisters how they avoided that. Neither of them has ever shown even the slightest inclination towards becoming a teacher.)

As far as I can tell, adulthood consist mainly of trying to make sure you're doing what everyone else is doing and just hoping for the best in between. Click To Tweet

I’m an adult now?

I coped with it the same way I cope with everything: I pretended to be fine, felt like a total imposter, and somehow “fake it” turned into “make it”.

Well, as far as “the outside looking in” goes, at least.

In all honesty, I’ve been a “well-functioning part of society” (i.e.: I’ve had a job) for about a year and a half now, and I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. For someone to finally figure out that I honestly don’t have a f***ing clue what I’m doing, and that I probably shouldn’t be left in charge of other humans for anything longer than a 10-minute-period.

As far as I can tell, adulthood consist mainly of trying to make sure you’re doing what everyone else is doing and just hoping for the best in between. So yeah – I’ve got the job, I eat at least one piece of fruit and vegetables every day, I’ve got a savings account.

I also reread about half of my favourite childhood books in the past 18 months – quite possibly as a way to overcompensate for (or escape from) the “adult mindset” I’m forced to take on now.

As much as I seem to have turned into one, I’m still not quite sure I’ll ever feel like an actual grown-up. I thought graduating would magically turn me into one, and I’ve been sorely disappointed. Because, as much as I had built graduation up to this huge thing? In the end, it was just another step that only changed me as much as I let it change me.

And while it definitely twisted and turned my world in and out of itself? Graduation turned out to be turning point more so in what I expected of it, than in what it actually was.

Go figure.