Life after high school verges between realising things at a Kylie Jenner like rate, feeling constantly trolled and shooting like a star through the heady joys of youth. Trying to remember the person you were even a year ago can often prove challenging because it all seems to go by so quickly. Having just finished University last year, I thought it would be useful to impart my hard earned wisdom for others grappling with similar periods of graduation induced anxiety. Below are some insights into the major differences you’ll be confronted with during the transition.
I was one of the many kids at high school who couldn’t wait to get out so real life could begin. Of course, I didn’t realise how much the slower pace of life was actually a blessing back then – now it feels like I’m quickly running towards the grave.
I grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. This is a part of the world famed for its overwhelming whiteness, terrible transport and stunning seaside beauty. As an effeminate and nerdy closeted homo who never took to surfing, I unsurprisingly longed for an escape from the suffocating enforced normality of Mater Maria Catholic College. For completed my final two years of high school at the prestigious Jesuit all-boys St Aloysius. All I really had was my studies and I made them the basis of my life, perhaps the period of my life most deeply dedicated to learning. I was rewarded with an excellent ATAR that was slightly short of my desired course – the first of many after high school life trolls. But I left school with a personality forged through the fires of bullying, sexual confusion and a complete lack of sporting ability. I was ready for University, come what may.
Everything Happens So Much
Horse ebooks got it right with that one. Thanks to my overwhelming happiness to be in the bigger pond of University, I quickly took like a duck to water in my new surrounds at Sydney University. Life came at me fast – I came out of the closet, lost my virginity to my first boyfriend, threw myself into the colourful world of student unionism and found my tribe of fellow freaks.
Freedom, Oh Freedom!
University is a place of experimentation and adventure. I remember dropping MDMA for the first time, moving into a decaying terrace house and occupying University buildings with other student radicals. These are moments I could never imagine having during high school. I’m grateful that my privilege has afforded me the opportunity to explore so much of life already and the wisdom to constantly try to move forward with purpose. Of course, this window of freedom is a fleeting one – take advantage of it.
Sometimes the Going, Gets a Little Tough
Look, the hardest lesson of all was learning that it’s truly a jungle out there. Since leaving high school I’ve been diagnosed with a depression/ADHD combo that truly takes me to some dark places, struggled with career anxiety, had devastating friendship breakdowns and grappled with some very TBD substance abuse issues. Whilst my parents had held tight to an unhappy marriage, in my second year of uni they began a messy divorce that set me on a really bone-chilling path. Sometimes, I didn’t know if I’d make it through but you’ve gotta get through. Maybe realising that’s only possible with a little help from your friends, therapy and medicating properly is something many realise after high school.
Hold on tight, it’s a bumpy ride – but it’s also one that is worth taking.