Going to University wasn’t an easy decision for me. Growing up in the country, I knew full well that in order to continue my studies I would have to move out of home, into a town that I had only been to once or twice before. Then there was the issue of money. Theoretically, I’d have to work. I’d have to make my own food every day and perhaps, even worse, I’d need to make new friends, something I’ve never been good at.
Furthermore there was the issue of what I would study and where it would lead me. My teachers at high school hadn’t known a whole lot about the types of courses and the pathways I could take. As well as the potential careers I’d be good in. That said, a career is a choice, a choice which can only made by one person.
After going moving in with my then boyfriend and going to TAFE for a year and not enjoying my course, or the town I lived in I made the ultimate decision to move back home and re-group. I lived with my parents for six months, before deciding that country life simply wasn’t for me anymore. It wasn’t who I was. I wanted adventure. I wanted to try new things and meet new people and to do that I would need to once again move out of home. This time, I decided to go to University.
It was not a well thought out decision. Plagued by the sense that my life was quickly going down a one-way street to nowhere I chose to start mid-year doing my Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Media, Communication and Journalism.
I moved into a share house with the support of my parents and started studying.
And I loved it.
My first semester was a large success. I felt like I was close to making some friends and I was awarded a shiny High Distinction for my first ever journalism article.
Then I had probably one of the greatest opportunities I have ever been offered. A chance at a cadetship with the newspaper at my home town. I spent the next three months working there-learning the ins and outs of working for a small country publication. I had some wonderful experiences through it, but when push came to shove I once again felt the need for something more and I decided to resume my studies.
A lot of people thought I was crazy. But I wasn’t done with University, and it sure as hell wasn’t done with me.
Over the next twelve months I poured myself into my studies, and into going out and doing things.
Then, I met my boyfriend.
My housemates thought I was crazy for wanting to know him. They said he looked like a ‘criminal’ probably because, at the time he had an eyebrow piercing.
But I fell in love with him and things between me and my housemates were sadly, never the same again.
At the end of that year, I moved out and into my boyfriends home-with his parents. It was supposed to be a short-term thing. He lived an hour away and I would have to continue my studies online. For weeks, I lost sleep over it. The anxiety I felt shook me to the core. Anxiety which only dissipated when I was with him.
In the end the choice was easy. I chose him, and, thereafter started the second half of my studies-online.
Online courses are becoming more and more readily available. I’m not going to lie, it was convenient to be able to sit at home, in my pyjamas listening to lectures and doing my coursework. But it wasn’t perfect and given the choice, I would still prefer going to the University and physically meeting people.
But after eighteen months of sometimes frustrating study I finished my Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communication) with a Distinction and last week, I officially graduated. I wore the hat, shook the Chancellors hand and accepted proof of my hard work and dedication.
It was the best feeling.
Despite the fact I didn’t share my graduation with friends I was able to share my graduation with my parents, which is probably more important.
I don’t yet have a job stemming from my studies and maybe, I never will. But I’m okay with that. And I’m okay with where life takes me.
Despite the hardships University is one of the best things I have done in my life to date. Over the past three years I have been given the opportunity to learn and to grow as a person. I believe that life shouldn’t be measured by our success, but by our experiences. The more experiences you have, the more you grow and the more you grow, the more places you will go. For me, in the end all these experiences add up to one thing: a gigantic story, that is life.