University for many of us can be explained as the best time of our lives. Except for final year obviously. We are surrounded by student loans, partying and friends… what’s not to love? Although when it ends, does this mean we jump straight into a life time of work?
I know I’ve been replaying the options over and over in my head as graduation is quickly catching up on me. Truth is majority of people graduating this year won’t always be 100% ready for the real world, which is completely normal. Leaving Uni up to the eyeballs in student debt would scare anyone into full time employment, but should that really hold anyone back?
The stress of final year would drive anyone to another country, whether it be for a holiday or a year out. Although unfortunately we can end up going with the flow and following the steps we see others take to try and fulfill the traditional route after graduating from University. After some time we may realise that this isn’t meant for everyone. We all have a different journey and the direction we take will determine this, following others will only hold us back from our destination. When you live in a society that worries more about how much money you earn above anything else, this would encourage anyone to take a gap year. The puzzle of life often gives us pieces that don’t always fit, but we force them anyway and quite often we are set up in routine where our lives are planned out for us. Society has certain steps we follow at each stage of our life. We go to University; we get a job, get married and have children. We are so quick to grow up we forget all the amazing opportunities we have before jumping into a full time job. Debt and responsibility are so quick to become our priorities that we don’t seize opportunities when we have them. My advice to anyone on the fence or with itchy feet is to be selfish and to take every opportunity that life throws at them!
The expectation of completing University and finding a graduate job is over rated. Money is great and all that but experience makes you richer. If you are feeling undecided don’t be alarmed, the majority of people are in the same boat and don’t know where it’s going. But that’s not always a bad thing.
‘Great things never happened in comfort zones’. This is something we all know but how often do we abide by it? Growing up I hadn’t been on many holidays and wouldn’t class myself as adventurous possibly just stuck in my comfort zone. Therefore travelling was never on my mind and quite often we have a list of excuses for letting opportunities slip through our fingers; we don’t have the time, we don’t have the money, we are stuck in our comfort zone. There are endless reasons, but there are also endless reasons why we should take these opportunities. Make plans, book flights and forget about all that’s holding you back!
Over the last few years I decided to give travelling a go and traveled around Europe, America and Thailand. Money could not have bought the experience I endured, the people I met or the feelings I had I felt. I will always remember the countries I visited for their unique culture and will treasure the experience for the knowledge I have gained. We are always taught to follow our passion from a young age so travelling should be no different. A little advice for anyone with itchy feet is to jump. Jump at the chance we have now as it may never come around again. Make new friends, experience different foods, learn a new language. Build character and open doors that you never thought you could open.
The options we have are countless, the possibilities we have are endless and the life we live is limitless. Be inspired, live in the moment, take the plunge!
Caoimhe Conway is a 4th year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be connected on Twitter: @caoimhe_conway / Instagram: caoimheconway / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caoimhe-conway-bb0b03152/