The Next Episode – Life After Uni

Emily Mulenga
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As I’m sure goes for much of Vada’s readership, my time at university is coming to the end of its natural lifespan. I am but a fragile moth falling gracefully from a light bulb. But although some will have their uni lives reborn from the all-nighter-addled ashes of their undergraduate existence- in the form of taking a Master’s- I am one of those who will not. Myself and all fellow no-more-educationers will be taking our first shaky Bambi steps into the world of work (what a stupid phrase. What do people think we’ve been doing all this time at uni?!). Or so we hope, so we PRAY, until our knuckles crack and we have salty upper lips from all the crying. Life after uni is scary, exciting and murky in equal measure.

Whether to stay on at uni or not was somewhat of a dilemma, so I have hereby compiled a list of things about being an ex-student that may turn out to be jolly good fun, and things that will probably suck harder than your granny on a Murray Mint.


Things to look forward to:

1. Feeling like a real person. When you’ve been in education solidly between the ages of 5 and 22 the world remains split into two kinds of people: students and non-students. Real life only begins after you graduate, which makes me feel even sorrier for mature students than I already was.

2. Finally escaping the clutches of education, and all the tense moments that come with it. So you’ve just been handed a piece of work back. Did I get a house point and a “Good Effort!” stamp? Or just a note saying “SEE ME” in ominous red biro? It’s almost too much to handle.

3. Maybe, possibly, earning some money. The lack of job opportunities around is truly terrifying (special shout-out to David Cameron and his face like a glazed turkey), but there is a tiny possibility of finding work and being able to spend it on more than just toilet roll and tinned curry. Could… could I own a bread bin?

life after uni

Things to not look forward to:

1. Unemployment. One will most likely have to, for a while at least, suffer the indignity of existing on Jobseeker’s Allowance during the process of finding something useful to do with ourselves. People with briefcases will look onwards in disgust, whilst you wish you’d brought some anti-bacterial hand gel after contact with the job centre touch screens.

2. The indefinite period I will be forced to dwell in my most grim of home towns. Having experience of three years in a different city certainly throws a return to home into a horrifying perspective. On top of this is the added strain of feeling like one of those ne’er-do-well 40-year-olds that still lives with their mum that people make documentaries about.

3. Despite the perk of being able to look upon ‘pesky’ students with a sense of disparaging disapproval, now without seeming like a bit of a hypocrite, you will once again be at the bottom of the food chain of life. Someone will probably stick a Post-It to your back on your first day at Caffè Nero.

life after uni


So, all in all, there are both pluses and downsides to the situation.  However, of course given the chance I would rather take the easy route of going back to being 4, when the most of your worries was another kid throwing sand in your eyes at playtime. Oh, Father Time, you swine.

About Emily Mulenga

I am a visual artist and writer, although I should probably have a degree in doing silly faces instead. Despite this, I have some solid opinions on serious things such as consumer culture, the concepts of kitsch and bad taste, and which flavour Fruit Pastille to avoid.