Why I stopped the monthly posts
Sometimes I can write a blog post every single week for a year, and sometimes keeping up a monthly recap is just too difficult. I suppose we can pick up where I left off – after a failed hike, before my last ever trimester of uni and most importantly, completely lost for what I was going to do after graduation.
Four months has gone by fast in retrospect, but at the time it felt a little like I was wading through mud. I threw myself into my final classes: a capstone course taught by my first ever international studies lecturer at UNSW which felt a little like coming home, a European history course taught by the closest thing to a nutty German professor I’ve had since France and an Australian foreign policy class that was so boring, no amount of enthusiasm from the lecturer could make up for it. Four years of studying had now been whittled away to just ten weeks. The insurmountableness of my degree had suddenly been replaced with three short courses. The home stretch.
And yet, the closer I got to the end, the more I didn’t want to be there. Uni has given the last four years (and arguably quite a few before that) a purpose, and suddenly I am expected to exist outside the bubble of structured education. For many people, this isn’t an obstacle but an opportunity. For me, plagued with indecisiveness and insecurity, I felt a little like I was being pushed out of the nest too soon. I went to formal job interviews in clothes that felt like they didn’t belong to me. I researched masters options and went to seminars and updated my LinkedIn profile. I set up meetings with careers advisors, prospective employers and (most importantly) my counsellor. It’s safe to say that the postgrad crisis had well and truly hit.
I spent a vast portion of the last four months exhausted and anxious. I also spent the last four months doing things I adore. I climbed with Nik, caught up regularly with Jess and Alice, had much-needed chats with my housemates, and nannying my two terrifying yet adorable children. I had board games nights with my siblings, went on a hike with my brother and went op shopping with my sister. I got into the habit of talking to my dad on our respective ways home from work. I got a new job leading electric bike tours – very random but it fills me with a lot of happiness to be working outside and getting paid to move my body (especially when my boss gives me a cheeky G&T at the end of a particularly awful tour). I had two beautiful weeks with Hannah when she flew out to visit me in Australia from the UK. We did a girls’ trip to Kilcare, a drunk night at Whaley and ate ice cream at the Opera House. I camped and climbed and made a bunch of new friends with UNSWOC at Boree Log. Jessie touched down at the end of November from the States and it felt like she’d come home. Her last night in Sydney was one of the best of the entire year: sunset drinks at Opera Bar, dinner and wine at Frankies and a last cocktail at Hubert, all surrounded by people I loved. I did all of these things and so very many more that made me extremely grateful to be surrounded by such meaningful and supportive people.
As regretful as I might be in the future that I haven’t managed to record this year month by month, I think the last four constituted a well-needed break. I would be lying if I said the thought of organising my life beyond 2020 doesn’t terrify me, but I’ve settled on some plans that I feel pretty stoked with. At the end of it all here we are: sitting in my almost-empty room, surrounded by dehydrated food and trail mix before I set off on another adventure in a couple of days. Will and I spent most of the morning scrubbing walls and vacuuming to prepare for our house inspection as both of us move out in the next week or so. I submitted my last ever (hopefully) uni assignment on Tuesday, which, apart from a particularly bad bout of tonsillitis, felt very much like submitting any other paper I’ve written over the last four years. Goodbye UNSW, goodbye International Studies, goodbye the Mal. All a little anticlimactic if you ask me.