Community: Real Life

End of an era


We've seen her grow from a fresher to a final year student. Now, as Lily embarks on her third year of university as a Politics, Philosophy and Economic student, will she be able to balance her partying with the pressure of exams and a dissertation?
Entry: 16

Lily finishes her final exam and starts thinking about what the 'real world' has in store for her.

I walked out of my final exam into the arms of three faithful friends: Nicky, Raf and a bottle of gin. The sun was shining and we had a gin and tonic by the lake - what more could I ask for? Afterwards, we went into town and had lunch and cocktails. I was feeling unusually giddy after my first drink - my partying break had obviously made me a cheap date. Later on I went to a BBQ, but was happily asleep on a blanket by eight.

I spent the next few days partying so it took a while to come down from my post-exam delirium. But ever since I've been indulging in a lot of time lazing around and catching up on stuff: watching crap films, painting my nails, having long baths and spending money on shoes and sunglasses.

It's been a bit strange because all my friends are finishing in dribs and drabs, so there hasn't been one big emotional party to celebrate everyone getting their lives back. We've got five weeks until the end of term with nothing to do except have fun. It's been nice to hang out again; afternoon Mario Tennis sessions have turned into marathon matches and I've spent lots of time lying on the floor thinking about what happens next. What if we've failed? Will we all stay in contact? All of the house parties between now and graduation are destined to end in bleary-eyed hugs and lots of, "I love you man".

"As much as I'm looking forward to next year, I suddenly feel like a little fish moving into a much bigger pond."

But whether my friends are excited or apprehensive, everyone seems ready for the end, though. I feel very lucky to have a teaching job set up for next year. I'm too much of a control freak to not have plans and I'm excited about the prospect of carving out my own Lily-shaped niche. A job, a salary, a flat - wow! It's been the best three years of my life, but I think we know it's time to move on.

Graduation doesn't just bring career prospects, all around me relationships are crashing and burning - some more amicably then others. The best-case scenario is that after three years of being together they recognise that they've outgrown each other and probably won't make it past graduation. The worst-case scenario is the same, except only one of them feels that way. Some of my male friends have taken a chauvinistic turn for the worst and have started looking at girls differently, almost like ticking, baby-making time bombs. They've forgotten that they fell in love with a strong, independent woman with aspirations and ambitions, and assume that after graduation we'll demand babies straight away.

I don't want babies yet, but I'm grateful that my boyfriend and I are both moving to London, so we can see how things go with our relationship naturally. The idea of 'seeing how things go' appeals to me in most areas of my life at the moment; big decisions are a bit scary because in some ways I've never felt so young. For a while in the third year I felt old, chuckling at hyperactive young freshers whilst I got into more sedate activities, like day-tripping and pub lunches. As much as I'm looking forward to next year, I suddenly feel like a little fish moving into a much bigger pond.

Updated: 07/08/2009

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