Last year when I finished the final subject of my degree, I was at a crossroads. I’d spent years enmeshed in Sydney University, a place that I had entered as a boy and was leaving as a man. During my years on campus, I’d thrown myself into campus culture, organised activist campaigns, studied abroad in Denmark and somehow managed to party despite the lockout laws destroying Sydney’s nightlife.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling I’d stopped growing in the city that built me. Every night seemed the same, Mum was dropping very obvious hints she wanted me to move out of home again and the petty social drama wasn’t cute anymore.
So I packed a few bags, brought a one-way ticket to Melbourne and checked in a hostel. In the months since I’ve lived in dingy share houses, partied harder than ever and worked a bunch of weird jobs. I’ve challenged myself, grown immensely and I don’t regret it one bit.
So if you’re feeling stuck in a post studies rut, here are some reasons why I’d encourage you to do the same.
New Places, New Faces
Since making the decision to change cities I’ve made friends in call centres, clubs and campaigns. You start your time in a new city with either a limited social circle or none at all. This is certainly intimidating but the perfect push for getting yourself out there. I forced myself to be active and adventurous in my new surrounds, developing a saw yes mentality that reaped rewards. Now every time I go home I quickly find myself missing my life in Melbourne.
Cause Baby This is Real Life
I’d be lying if I said life after University was all enviable Instagrams, champagne nights and career success. I’ve been fired from shitty jobs, evicted without notice from share houses and cried over chain-smoked cigarettes. However, this reality check was sorely needed. Universities are called ivory towers for a reason – they often cotton you off from the pressures of adulthood. Strike out on your own, change cities and face your impending quarter-life crisis head-on.
Hit the Reset Button
In a new city, you can leave all your baggage behind and reinvent yourself completely. Your reputation can’t hold you back when you’re one of the many who’ve chosen to pursue a post studies sea change. Plus, the career opportunities are greatly increased with a degree in your pocket – the question is now what do you want to do with it? Through trial and error, I’ve been able to start working out what I actually want to do with my life. Change cities – because once you do every day is another chance to introduce the improved you.
Explore an Urban Playground
We live in a fucking big world, with a hell of a lot to see. Change cities often, because they all have their own secrets, quirks and character. Find a new coffee spot, enjoy the new weather and visit the sights. Dancing under the flashing lights of Hugs&Kisses, drinking with friends at street festivals and sipping coffee on High Street are things I never would have done in Sydney.
You’re Only Young Once
The older you get, the more set you’ll get in your ways and the scarier change becomes. But you’ve got your whole life ahead of you baby! They safe youth is wasted on the young for a reason – don’t become another one of the reasons people say it. You won’t be this free for the responsibilities that can tie you up in one place forever, so head out into the wide open spaces before it becomes too late.