What now?

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Three weeks ago today I submitted the last two pieces of coursework for my degree. In a heady rush of adrenaline I handed in my 10,000 word dissertation and then spent almost six hours in the library completing my final assignment. I had expected to feel some kind of climatic closure to my time as an academic but, alas, as yet it has not come. This may be, in part, due to the fact that I have to wait until the end of June to find out whether or not all my hard work has paid off. I have managed to push my pending grades to the back of my mind for the most part, however, there are moments where I am almost consumed with the thought of them.

To be completely honest I feel as though I am in a state of flux. I have finished my degree but I do not have the confirmation of what the last three and a half years have amounted too.

Of course there is also the fact that for the last seventeen years of my life I have had the status of being a student in some capacity. Now I find myself faced with the fact that in September life will simply just carry on as it has been. No longer will my year be punctuated with the start of a new semester, preceded by the gloriously geeky adventure of buying new stationary and an investigation into the modules I will be studying. I have bathed in the pools of academia and now I find myself cast out of those waters.

In short, I may be having a slight identity crisis.

English Literature has been the basis of my identity since I can remember, books have laid the foundation for the way I live, think and behave since an extremely tender age. The decision to study English Literature came about purely because I was not ready to let my life as a student go. I did not go to university with dreams of a leaving with a first and a high flying career already secured. No, I went to university because learning is something that I love to do. Whilst I have done my fair share of moaning about the work load and the essays assigned to me over the last three and a half years, in hindsight, I have thoroughly enjoyed every single moment. It is always hard to appreciate something whilst you are in the moment. It is not until you can sit back and evaluate moments or periods of your life that you realise how much you have grown as a person. During the more difficult lectures and whilst writing the more arduous assignments I sometimes questioned whether I was clever enough to be on the course. It is only when taking part in conversations and whilst trying to explain complicated theories to family and friends that I realise I have learnt quite a lot and that as well as learning, I have actually understood a large chunk of it (not Derrida though, never Derrida.)

So. I now find myself looking back at the last three and a half years of my life and asking myself the same question.

What now?

You see I do have plans for my life. I want a nice house, a lovely wedding, two children. Those have always been on my lists of future plans. Something that has not featured so heavily is the career that is going to allow me the house, the wedding and the children. The reason for this is because I don't really know what I want to do. I have flitted between teaching, librarianship, marketing, recruitment; a whole plethora of career paths. To be honest, a part of me doesn't feel old enough or experienced enough to be contemplating a career. The word sounds so grown up and I do not feel like a grown up.

Luckily I have a part time job at the moment and I know that I am under no pressure to jump straight into a career straight away. At the moment teaching is the path that has the most pull. I am thinking of gaining a qualification as a teaching assistant in the next few years which could possibly lead to me applying for a PGCE qualification.
Those ideas are not set in stone. It is just something I am thinking about. The first thing I need to do is gain a grade C in Maths and I shall be applying for a college course that starts in September. I am setting myself small targets in hope that those small steps will help me carve out a larger plan.

The problem I have is in the not knowing. I am the type of person who likes to have a plan. Whilst I have a job that will keep me tiding over for a while, the uncertainty of what I will be doing in a few years leaves me feeling a little nervous.

So I guess the answer to the what now question is that I need to relax for a while. I have just completed a degree, a stressful endeavour and I possibly deserve a bit of a break. Until I receive my classification in June I shall have to reside in this state of flux and carry on planning for a future that is still a little way off.

When it comes down to it so long as I am happy, I guess that all that matters.