It used to be a bit sad watching all my friends ‘move on’ in the world after university. They’d travel, get married, buy a house – they were earning money. Of course, what they never talked about is what it takes to actually earn that money – 40 hours a week. For the rest of your life. That’s what that means.
But I really struggled with the idea that I was being ‘left behind’. That I was potentially replaceable in their new world – for the first time, we weren’t all moving along in the same way at the same time. And that really scared me. It scared me to think I might not be able to catch up at the end, either.
As a woman, who wants kids, factoring in that part of my life is a big thing in academics and moving into a career. If I have kids when I’m just entering the workforce, that will impact on my experience. If I have them while I finish studying – how long will I then be studying for?
But the reality is (and it took me a long time to get to this realisation), even though my friends and I are on different stages, and probably will be for a while yet – we’re still friends. I’m still with them. What is this end bit, anyway? What’s the end? Is it a job? Is it when I have kids too? The more I define myself as similar or different I open us all up to comparison. When in reality, I’m just me. And they’re them. We’re all walking different paths. One of my friends is a nurse – she studied that and went straight into that job. The others went to university, and only one of them is now working in a field vaguely related to what they studied (they all did BComs, btw, so stop digging on the Arts students).
Are any of us in a spot we thought we’d be in eight years ago? No way. So who knows where we’ll be in the next eight years. And that’s really cool. I can’t wait to share that journey with them.
Written by Aimee Winters