Graduation - What Next?

Emily Binchy shares her feelings as she is about to embark into the 'real world'! Four years of this bubble-like existence are drawing to a close faster than most of us would like, and the usual symptoms of ‘Septemberitis’ have sunk in. However, unlike many other ailments ending in ‘itis’, this is undoubtedly one of the more favourable ones.For many of us yet unsure as to what September holds, symptoms range from being gripped by fear of the daunting unknown, to pangs of excitement at the thought of the unlimited potential which the future holds. As a lifetime of education draws to a close, a sense of disillusionment creeps in as to its worth. Has this been a stalling of the inevitable? Will the realities of life force me to follow the regular route? Or has university opened the door to some path less travelled?A recent trip to UCD’s Career Development Centre proved worth-while and enlightening. Far from the guidance along the lines of ‘maybe you should be a bit more realistic’ which I expected, I was met with enthusiasm for adventure, for pursuing avenues which are only available at this age, before the realities of mortgages, families etc. make spontaneity increasingly impossible.Being whimsical and open to new possibilities was framed in a highly positive light, the things which we do following graduation for fear of not having the opportunity to pursue them in the future, are the things which will set us apart in interviews and make us interesting. These words of reassurance opened a world of possibilities which I had not contemplated previously; thoughts of teaching English in Japan or writing a travel blog of the Balkans became ideas for furthering my education in a different kind of lecture theatre.Inevitably, pragmatics will begin to play a role at some future stage, however graduation does not have to delineate this point. Never again will we be as free or as young as at that moment we toss our caps in the air. A shift in mentality needs to occur, from viewing graduation as the end of an era, to the beginning of a new chapter. Combining an open mind with a university education, graduation marks our entry into a world of limitless opportunity.