I am not a success story.

‘DESTINATION OF LEAVERS FROM HIGHER EDUCATION SURVEY’               13:53

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The email arrived in my inbox and I read it as I walked out of work, a sinking feeling in my gut swiftly replaced by defiance.

I knew this day would come – I had heard rumours of the inevitable follow-up, my old university keen to capitalise on the success of their graduates and shove the statistics in the prospectus for next year’s applicants. And I assumed it would be around now given that graduation happened almost six months ago – (SIX MONTHS AGO WHAT) – and surely that’s enough time for us educated bunch to grab the world with both hands and step forth on the path of adulthood.

Right?

No?

Good, it’s not just me then.

The truth is, for all intents and purposes, I am not a success story. I did not go straight into a masters degree nor an entry-level job. I haven’t done an internship or gained work experience in an industry I want to break into. I haven’t gone travelling or on a gap yah to find myself either. This survey will not lead to my story being included in the prospectus or on the website. I am one of the statistics not to be promoted, one of many who go through four years of higher education and find themselves emerging from the other end with a degree in one hand and an empty fist in the other, dazed look smacked across their face.

It is no secret that it took me a while to adapt to post-university life and I do still miss a lot about that time. All I knew until last June was education and to suddenly be without it for the first time was to rethink everything. Suddenly without the semesters to mark time passing, each week assigned a number and a deadline, I was abandoned without an anchor and longed for the security of academic responsibility. But as the time has passed, I’ve grown more used to life as it is for now, transitional and temporary.

Since I left university, I’ve worked in various places. I’ve moved twice. I’ve worried about money and worried about the future and worried about people. I’ve had more time on my hands than ever before and filled that with reading and writing and wasting time too. I’ve met so many new people and had great conversations and also felt lonelier than ever. I’ve been offered six jobs and taken one that is temporary but in one of my favourite places. My life is very up in the air, very changing and this is what I chose.

But the survey doesn’t offer that option. It tries to box me in to a category, desperate for clarification on where I’m going or what I’m doing.  Well, if you find out, do let me know. Because right now, I have no idea. Isn’t it great?

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