The End of An Academic Era (Well… 4 Years)

Universities (where the student population makes up the majority of the entire population, as is Durham) are eerily calm and quiet when exams come to a close. It’s as if every student has taken a collective sigh of relief as deadlines and exam rooms slowly become a distant (painful) memory. In the same breath, having finished my exams and handed in my final essays nearly three weeks ago now (goodness, has it really been that long?) I feel strangely agitated. Waking up in the morning to see my laptop screen still illuminated from last night, piles of books as far as the eye can see and not entirely recognising the tired, war-torn face I see in the mirror – after months and months of non-stop pressure, it’s very odd (not a bad odd) to find myself free. Reading that back I come across as an exam addict, this is certainly not the case and, don’t get me wrong, waking up on a lazy Sunday morning with absolutely nothing to do other than whatever I want is infinitely better than frantic typing and the pressures of word-limits. But, you know what I mean, I feel a bit lost.

Two weeks today, I will be a graduate. Four years of studying towards a final goal will be over – the goal will have been reached. I’m not entirely sure how I will feel as I process through the cathedral in my fluffy gown: nostalgic, elated, exhausted… a mixture of them all, I imagine. Considering the difficulties of the past few years, the one adjective I can be sure of is proud.