Life of a fourth year

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It was with a somewhat comic and tragic timing that I received yet another ‘We regret to inform you…’ graduate application response on the very day that I had arranged to see Les Mis at the cinema with a few girlfriends. Needless to say that the gut-wrenching performances given by Hathaway, Crowe and Jackson combined with my pitiful disappointment at my latest rejection created some very ugly results. Within minutes of watching the agonising opening scene, which tells the tale of the much wronged Jean Valjean, I felt my dreams of a bright, hopeful and just future dwindling into the depths of doomy despair. With reluctant and heavy tears amassing in my eyes, I continued to view the visual masterpiece. Yet it was all too much for my fragile state, and the following exposure to ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ completely broke my wearied soul. The rest of the movie was viewed from a water-logged state, as I alternated between mopping my sodden face and shovelling chocolate buttons into my mouth.

Ok that was perhaps siding on a touch of the theatrical, but I think you get my gist. 2013 marks the year of change for me. I will be finishing up my time as a student at this University, before finally being thrown (ready, or not) into the big, bad, outside world. With a few failed graduate applications tucked firmly under my belt, I had an enlightening epiphany: I am not going to apply for anything else. I am honestly so undecided about my future ‘career path’ – a phrase rammed down our throats from the very moment we enter university – that I do not feel I am in a healthy mind frame to apply for any further postings for after graduation.

I know that many secretly believe that taking a year off falls under the easy escape route, the ‘let’s-turn-off-my-brain-for-a-year’ option, or even the desire to fulfil some belief that we righteously deserve a reward after four years of intensive study. And I have no shame in agreeing to all of the above, yet with one notable adjustment: I feel that I deserve to reward myself after eight years of intensive study. Thinking back on it, since my standard grade years at secondary school I have been slogging to hand in course work, struggling to stay aboard intense academic reading lists, and clawing to pass each exam. Admittedly not as challenging as life at University, these measurements of stress and hard work are all relative. At the time, those high school years felt as overwhelming as my final semester at St Andrews currently does.

The point I am striving to make, is that for eight years now, each stage of learning that I have encountered has taken both a mammoth commitment and conscious effort on my part. I am not for one minute claiming to be an exception – everyone here went through a similar education system -, and I am fully aware that grown-ups living in the real world and working real jobs are labouring equally as hard, with much less time off than I have been granted as a student. All I am attempting to explain is that I feel ready for some time off. Some down-time. Some sun time. Some me time. All the clichés rolled into one big fat gap-yah. Anyway, that is all that I have to say right now with regard to the exciting prospect for life after graduation.

In other news, 2013 has been a pretty exciting year so far. Obama’s second Presidential Inauguration caused world-wide headlines when it transpired that our chosen soul goddess (who also goes by the name of Beyoncé from time to time) lip-synced the national anthem. Outrageous. However she looked mighty fierce and had us all believing, so who are we to judge? Only second to the frenzy created by Beyoncé’s performance was the stir caused by the First Lady’s bangs. Yes, Michelle sassed up her ‘do in time for the world’s media, and as a result she too was looking fierce (obviously having spent the afternoon in the salon with Queen B). The Golden Globes proved a huge success for Britain, with glitzy awards being given in recognition of Adele’s lungs, the animated flame-haired cast of Pixar’s Brave, our home-grown US Marine Sergeant portrayed by Damien Lewis, and everyone’s favourite Dowager Countess, Maggie Smith. Britain ground to a halt as flurries of snow prevented us from doing anything or travelling anywhere. And in somewhat warmer climes, Andy Murray splurged through to the Australian Open tennis final with incredible form and determination, only to be obliterated by the man mountain that is Djokovic and a floating white feather. Today [at time of writing] Scotland begin their Six Nations battle against our bitter rivals, England, under the new and watchful eye of head coach Scott Johnson (and the rest of the country).

The remainder of this year promises some exciting events; another G8 summit will bring in representatives from all over the world in attempts to promote international security and prosperity, our National Health System will turn 65 years old, and the cast of How I Met Your Mother will come back to our screens for a ninth and final season. Our University will also celebrate its 600th Anniversary, and we shall all delight in welcoming the arrival of a Royal baby. 2013, you’re going to be a good one.

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