This September is the first in twenty years where I’m not heading back to school, and it’s weird.
The Labour Day long weekend signifies the end of summer, and it has always been a bittersweet holiday for me. I always have a lovely weekend that ends up feeling slightly tainted by the classic back-to-school anxiety. This long weekend was actually no different. I had a great time, but there was this sense of being unprepared for the following week – which has always been the start of school. I had to consciously remind myself a few times that there was no need for me to feel anxious or stressed about my upcoming workload and reading list … because there wouldn’t be one.
Heading into my fifth and final year at UBC, I felt certain that I wouldn’t be pursuing any type of graduate degree. I dreaded the thought of completing my undergraduate thesis and couldn’t imagine writing a graduate thesis. Eight months later, I finished my undergrad and actually enjoyed the process of writing a thesis, making me feel confident that I could actually do a Masters of some sort. I don’t know what or when that will be, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll go back to school at some point in the near future.
But in the meantime, it’s September and I have no school, no readings and no upcoming papers. Instead of bussing out to campus for my first day of classes today, I slept in, wrote for a bit, then went for a walk. Traffic is busier for sure, and there are more kids walking around everywhere, but besides that, this week feels no different from last week – or the week before. Like I said, it’s weird.
Part of me is sad, because as stressful and anxiety-inducing school is for me, I also enjoyed it. I liked the routine of classes and the privilege of learning about subjects that interest me. I didn’t like the stress of papers and midterms and the overwhelming, never-ending pile of readings. So, unsurprisingly, I won’t be missing those aspects of university.
Of course, my school stress has been replaced with job stress. Applying for jobs is hard and takes up so much time. There’s writing involved and application deadlines – actually, it sounds a lot like school in that regard…