So because I haven’t written on here for a while, I feel like it’s time for you to know an aspect of my life that I would’ve normally kept to myself, something that I feel would let you know a bit more about me. I’m talking about the transition of leaving university for good and going back home – I get the impression that for some people this was a case of just slotting back in just so, but for me it wasn’t – I found it tough and I want to share with you my struggles with coming to term that my education was ending.

I will go back to the final months of my university life, when dissertation deadlines were looming – it really was all hands on deck, every waking moment of the last few months at uni were spent in the library – the final cram!

Completing a dissertation was hard work, I knew it wouldn’t be a jolly ride or anything but when third years would tell their dissertation stories in the back of my head I would always think ‘yeah, they can’t be that difficult’ – I definitely ate my own words when I became a third year!
It really seemed like the world of dissertation would never end, but then again looking back now (after all the blood, sweat and tears) I have an amazing piece of writing that took me months of research and countless drafts, which I can feel proud of because I choose that topic – it really is quite empowering. Of course I do say this now with a huge Cheshire grin on my face now it’s all over. I will tell you about it now but I’ll do another post solely about it. I love all things interior based, anything from reading House Beautiful to watching Grand Designs – I ran with this idea of interior designs and talking to designers themselves. I produced a magazine spread where I interviewed some leading interior designers and also some new and coming designers. I created it in the style of a feature that would fit straight into House Beautiful magazine itself. This subject was tough in itself as there was so many different avenues I could’ve gone down let alone my supervisor who was there to support me in my dissertation didn’t really know a lot about interior design – so I had to educate her as well as educate my readers on a passionate subject of mine. I must admit my course (Print Journalism) had the best kind of dissertation – move out the way 50 pages of boring academic essay writing, come on in magazine features, newspaper spreads and InDesign skills! I was in heaven, creativity overload.
I will by-pass some of the dissertation bits, but I will happily show you the final product which I am so chuffed with – the fact that I managed to speak to some leading interior designers in the country for my dissertation still to this day leaves a huge smile on my face.

Ok enough about my actual dissertation (I could speak for hours about it), so dissertation deadlines come and go and are met – thankfully! Lecturers slowly stopped, and you find yourself not really doing a lot or having a purpose (yes that sounds deep right? But it was true). You begin to watching hours of Netflix and Amazon Prime, I think I managed to watch the whole of Breaking Bad in about two weeks – no, I’m not proud of it and it wasn’t actually that good!

ANYWAY… I stayed at uni for an extra week or so, because at the time I had a boyfriend in Nottingham and we wanted to spend time together do fun stuff before we both went home for the summer – it didn’t take an expert to tell us that it wouldn’t be the same when we both went back home.
We spent the last week at uni having fun, going to zoos and cooking dinners etc, but the time came where we had to both go home. I was the first to leave, I had packed up the majority of my stuff the night before, we found ourselves laying in bed not moving or not saying anything – I guess it was a sense of not wanting to let go as we had spent the last six months together, supporting one another through the hardest moments of our education. I must admit I was grateful to have someone there, even though I lived with five other people – we were all on the same course and had the same worries about our dissertations, even though we all played it cool on the surface deep down we were all shitting a brick about it. I really did cherish having the support from someone who could see from the outside in, as it wasn’t easy for me to get back home and get it from my family – support through the FaceTime or telephone calls/messages weren’t really the same, but nonetheless I was appreciative for all the support I had.

Back to the story – the boyfriend gave me one last cuddle and I booed my eyes out – who wouldn’t? Saying goodbye is never easy and it will only get harder. I knew it wouldn’t be the same – going back home would mean we wouldn’t have our own space when we saw one another, parents would interfere and we wouldn’t be around the corner from one another.

From that moment I said goodbye and shut the door I sat in my room and just starred around, education was all I’d ever know. Yes, I had part-time jobs and did had real responsibilities in these jobs, but they weren’t a job that would offer me a career I wanted – a career I had gone to uni to better myself in. My career as I know it would start as soon as I got home.
It was a one-way journey that I had to make and do by myself, which looking back now, it was a metaphorical transition of leaving behind the student life and moving into the adult world – leaving Nottingham to come back home to Newbury. I knew once I got home and I stepped out of my car, I would be a rollercoaster – the challenge started now.

Of course it was lovely coming home, being welcomed back by your family and the sense of familiarity filled me with hope that maybe coming back home wouldn’t actually be so bad.
I couldn’t wait to see what mum was cooking for dinner or what freshly baked goods sat on the kitchen side – after living off scraps (using up all my food) I couldn’t wait for a proper home cooked meal (every student will know the feeling I’m sure!).
I spent hours, yes hours, unpacking my uni life into what would be my new life back at home – trying to fit everything back into my existing room.
I finally sat down with a coffee and slice of cake in hand and thought right, time to get a groove on. I know I hadn’t graduated yet or even received my degree grade, but I felt a sense of pressure to get to work straight away – get into the adult world – something that I feel I hadn’t been prepared for what so ever – thanks uni!

I wanted a quick fix kind of job, something that was full time but would put some money in my pocket whilst I was searching for a ‘proper’ job (that relates to my degree). After weeks of searching I had a successful interview and become team leader at Topshop. I must admit, it was different to the retail I was used to working in (The Body Shop). Topshop wasn’t the place for me – I’m not going to slag it off because I just see it as a stepping stone to where I am today, but it was tough. It was a demanding job, I never had days off together which really took its toll on me physically and emotionally – my relationship with my boyfriend started to fail, I started unnecessary arguments at home because it was a sense of stress-relief, and when I’m unhappy I seem to just eat eat eat – and that I did! I really was in a bit of a mess.

I was finding it hard enough at home trying to fit back into home life and the way my family had lived their without me being their permanently– this job just seemed to heighten everything. With relationships ending, I really did feel like a loose cause, there was a continue struggle to fit in with routines at home which had existed and changed (rightfully so) whilst I was living in Nottingham. It was a completely different feeling to being permanently at home to the thought of being at university and coming home for a weekend or during half term – there was always the sense that when you started to step on each others toes, you were going back to university and independence so it didn’t really matter (you could leave it behind).

Arguments roared through the house on a daily basis, as I had changed into an adult – I had my way of doing things, whereas my family had their ways. Plus, having lived with some complicated individuals, I learned to hold my own and became slightly argumentative and hot-headed. This was something that my family didn’t really expect – hence I was the cause of the arguments because I was so used to not letting people walk over me and standing up for what I believed was right. I felt like it was acceptable to argue back and state my point, but let’s face it – it’s one thing doing it to people you live with but another doing it to your Mum who has supported you through every decision you’ve made, bad or good.

When things got tough at home, there was no where I could go or anyone I could turn too – whilst I spent three years at university meeting new people and establishing new friendships, as did my friends at home. The friendships I left behind when I first went to uni, weren’t the same friendships I came home too – I just had to accept this which took time unfortunately.

As I’ve said before, coming home tested all manners of relationships from personal relationships to familial relationships to even the relationship I had with myself. My relationship with my boyfriend ended and that was when the ties between me and my life back at university became stronger than ever. I craved so much the lifestyle I was living in Nottingham – the independence, having a boyfriend, not feeling confined to a brick house which was now going to be my home for good, being able to do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted to do it. I wanted to go back because I associated it as a place where I last happy and being there would surely make me feel better.
I really was in denial because I was by-passing the fact that majority of the time it didn’t make me happy – I couldn’t just pack up my stuff and go home for the weekend because I was in such a crucial stage of my education, I missed my family and there were years where I was living with really difficult people and they made my life (at the time) hell.

It took me a good three months of ups and a lot of downs, and even today I still have the odd wobble about wanting the past back because I’m scared of the future. But I always remind myself that time in my life has past and there’s so much more in life to discover. For anyone who was or is in the same boat as me should believe that our experience at uni was great whilst it lasted (because times flies) but now is the time for real hard work in carving the path for the rest of your life, and we will overcome things much harder than our university careers coming to an end.

It was never going to be an easy transition moving back home, because you get the sense that people are judging you despite only having your foot back in the door for five minutes; ‘oh she’s back from university now, I hope she has a job’ … ‘what has she done with her degree’ … I felt all kinds of pressure to be this person who came home from university and knew from the offset where they wanted to go in life or what they wanted to do – I didn’t, and I admit with my hands held high that I still don’t know what I want to do or be even after seven months of being a graduate.

Whoever came up with the saying “it is a tough old world out there” were not joking, the transition of coming home from university for good really is petrifying and I would not like to do it again – the breakdown of relationships, the sense of not belonging, the unhappiness even though you’ve graduated with your dream result still overcomes what you’ve genuinely worked your arse off for.

It really is bitter sweet.

Autumn x