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Life was so easy but now it's a big 'What now?'
Like many recent graduates around the country the last few months can be described as a bit of a life crisis.
No, I’m not a balding middle-aged man who’s invested in a 1970s Triumph Stag to beat away the blues, but a twenty-something female in a bit of a rut. I’ve managed to land my first proper job but I’m feeling trapped – socially trapped.
Rewind a few years and picture this. You’re 18, stressed beyond belief trying to get good grades for university and you’re a little anxious about what’s next.
Thankfully every weekend is spent with your school friends stumbling around Oxford or going to gigs.
You’re beginning to get a taste of independence when you jolly around the city on a Saturday night. It’s a hectic week at school but it’s hectically good fun at the weekend too and there’s always a dozen or so friends to call upon.
Fast-forward five years later when you’ve already revelled in what you are told are the best years of your life and things are a little different.
You’ve made friends with people from all over the county at uni – in some cases the world – uniting in mutual appreciation for being young and open-minded. But suddenly these people are not just a corridor away and it is quite a task to keep in contact. The strangest part is the big ‘what now?’ Up until this point, every step has been laid out for you. Primary school led to secondary, GCSEs to A-Levels, A-Levels to an undergraduate degree, an undergraduate degree to post-graduate qualifications.
It’s been a hard slog and, although the next step is more complicated, you’re ready for the big bad world and to play in it as a proper adult. If it’s too difficult to see uni friends every weekend, at least you’ve got a solid base of school friends.
So you move back home searching for some semblance of your 18-year-old life (the all-night house parties, the friends-only holidays that were once a rite of passage) and you realise it’s simply not that easy to tap into any more.
Everyone has, or is, growing up. People are settling down with serious boyfriends and girlfriends and moving away to where almost every job in the country is: London.
Those once automatic weekends of fun don’t exist. Now, things need to be planned weeks in advance or you have to chase hedonism around the country to see your friends.
I’m lucky I have a job and I certainly could not face another second of higher education, but at the same time I’m not ready to settle down.
I can (to an extent) see the pull of places like London and yet I don’t want to leave my beloved city of dreaming spires.
I’m stuck in a rut precisely because so many of us are on course to being stuck in a rut.
I think I’m having a quarter-life crisis...
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