Last month I travelled back down to Plymouth for my University Graduation. It was a wonderful day, the sun was shining, the sea was azure blue and the ceremony was optimistic and celebratory.
I stayed down in the west country for little under a week visiting friends and my former school. It was quite strange to go back, what with many of my course mates continuing to stay in Plymouth to do a masters. Walking through the studio and my faculty building (student card was still valid until October) I was suddenly hit with the feeling that this was no longer my place. It wasn't that I wasn't welcome here any more, it was just that my place had been filled. My desk was someone else's, my job filled by someone else. My course mates moving on or moving studio.
It was a strange feeling, having spent so much time there, but it kind of helped. I had been feeling lost since I finished uni. Not sure of where I was going, or what I was supposed to be doing. I felt like I had to get a salaried job in my field as soon as I left. When I'd spent 3 months working part time on a zero-hours contract catering sporting events, I was starting to despair. My planned trip to Canada seemed a long way off and I seemed no closer to getting there.
Visiting my university after my graduation was really helpful in encouraging to take positive steps t get where I wanted to go. It helped me to realise that my desk had been filled by someone else because I no longer needed to be there. I didn't have a place at my university anymore because I wasn't a student any more. This encouraged me a lot, and since getting back I have felt encouraged and inspired to take positive steps to put my best foot forward towards my future.