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How to avoid pre-graduation blues

As I go further into my final semester at Cardiff University, it is becoming unmistakably clear and daunting just how much I am going to miss university life.

This sense of nostalgia for something that I still have and depressing feeling that comes over me when I contemplate what it will be like not to be a student anymore can mean only one thing: final year blues have taken hold.

The dreaded question for the majority of final year students, ‘what are you going to do with the rest of your life?’ is becoming increasingly more common to hear, especially at family events.

It feels like it was just a couple of months ago that I moved into Senghennydd Court and began to acquaint myself with Salisbury Road’s finest eateries and Cathays’ pubs. Despite this, I am being increasingly reminded, whether by being gently reminded to complete the NUS survey or worrying about how my degree will be classified, my third year is not far from being over and I am only a cap and gown away from adult life.

Personally, I feel incredibly lucky to say that university has been a majorly positive experience for me. I have made some life-long friends, enjoyed my English Literature course and will take away some brilliant memories. Other than how to analyse literature classics, university has taught me to mature, to decide what is important to me and to live semi-independently.

Each year at university has brought new experiences and new people into my life thus proving to be an incredibly formative period in my adult life. Knowing that this part of my life will soon be coming to a close is not only saddening, but also stressful; finding the right balance between workload and making the most of your time in Cardiff is a tricky one.

I don’t think I’ve heard of a better solution to final year blues than what two of my friends recently suggested: creating a bucket list of things to do before graduating.

Just some of the things on my bucket list include spending the day at Barry Island when the sun decides to make a regular appearance, taking a trip to the seaside town of Tenby and visiting St. Fagan’s National History Museum. Since I don’t live far from Cardiff, I can do these things whenever I choose but I won’t have the opportunity to do them with uni pals for much longer.

In years to come, Cardiff will represent both a time and place to me: a time in my life that was carefree and not unbearably stressful, excluding essay period, and a place where I studied and live(d).

I can always return to Cardiff, and undoubtedly will on a regular basis, but it will never be quite the same place again since I will never be an undergraduate student here again. The majority of friends who made my experience of university what it had been won’t be living here either.

As for advice for younger students, I would recommend taking full advantage of Cardiff’s social calendar. The annual sporting event, Varsity, is fast approaching. This event is not to be missed, especially when students are given the chance to visit the Millennium Stadium for such a reasonable price.

Secondly, I would encourage every student to join a society or sporting club. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you enjoy it and you get involved. I only joined Cardiff University Ladies Football Club at the beginning of my final year and thoroughly regret not doing it earlier. Meeting new people, the socials and a fun kick about on a Tuesday night has made all the difference to the stresses of my workload.

Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of being in Wales’ capital city. Whether it is taking advantage of the live music scene, embracing the array of theatre productions on show or by sightseeing historical landmarks around South Wales, don’t take for granted that there is so much on offer. It might not be on your doorstep forever.

How do I feel about the end of university approaching? I suppose that I will only know when it is hitting me hard in the face after completing my final essay deadline. I am hoping to study for a Masters next year and therefore I can delay entering the real world of work for at least another 12 months. Even though I hope to be a student for another year, I am well aware that it will be overwhelmingly different.

I wish someone had reminded me regularly that university doesn’t last forever. Take advantage of it from the very start because, before you know it, you’ll be preparing to say goodbye to the university and city. At least I have the comfort of looking back at these formative years of my life and knowing that Cardiff University was the right choice for me.

Helen Wilson

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