4 May 201717:28
It’s finally here. The day I’ve waited fours of my life for.
Yesterday, I submitted my final piece of academic work (a few thousand word minor thesis on female representation in RTÉ Irish language station Raidió na Gaeltachta).
The enormity of it didn’t go unnoticed, but the relief cascaded over me the second I signed that submission list. Signing away four years of academia, possibly the most challenging period of my life: emotionally, mentally, not always academically, but often so.
How does it feel to be ‘free’, you ask?
It’s weird. Normally, when finishing college in May, I’d feel that beautiful tide of liberty (three months’ holidays) stretching before me: enough time to pick up hobbies I’d dropped in favour of assignments, to spend my days reading, watching, listening to and doing whatever I pleased. It always ended just soon enough, and life would trundle back into routine normality. There was always something looming at the end of those weeks of freedom - something to pull me back to reality, to a daily structure and routine I’ve lived for the past eighteen years of my life.
Now? It’s kind of fucking terrifying.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not likely to look back on my time in college and mourn the days that were. I’ve made some incredible friends - people I will hold dear, and treasure for (hopefully) the rest of my life. Those four years were, however, far from a world of rainbows and sunshine: mentally, I suffered some of the darkest periods of my life, wracked with near-constant anxiety. Fourth year, this past year, has been brutal, but two theses, one radio documentary, an Irish language magazine, and several essays later I’m here.
Battered and bruised, perhaps, but I’m here. At last.