Let it be known that yesterday, Monday 8th May 2017, was the day I handed in my dissertation. I finished my final chapter at university if you will.
And I’ve got to say that I have never felt so… empty.
I’m not sure if that’s the right word because, in all honesty, that’s not quite how I feel. I feel like an emotional wreck. I want to bawl my eyes out, try and get my dissertation back and plead for a second chance.
It’s not that I feel like I could have done better. It’s not even that I’m worried about failing. It’s because I’ve handed in 3 days early. For my dissertation.
Doesn’t that seem bizarre to you? Shouldn’t I be an emotional wreck trying to cram every last minute into perfecting my dissertation?
It seems wrong that, for the first time in my degree I’ve handed in not one, not two, but three assignments in early.
I’m not that organised, no matter how much I try to tell myself. I am a disorganised mess. I am a procrastinator. And I’m stumped as to how I’ve managed to finish my degree before the expected, and dreaded, May 18th when my final assignment is due.
I know that this is all the opposite of a problem, but you have to understand. I’ve gone from one educational establishment to another over the last 16 years and not once have I managed to hand in an assignment early. And all of a sudden, I’ve handed in my last three with plenty of time to spare and panic over how I must have missed something crucial.
It doesn’t help that I have never really toyed with the idea of full-time employment. In fact, it kind of scares me.
A few months ago, I had this concrete plan set in my head. I was going to apply to HarperCollins Graduate Scheme and, hopefully, spend the next 18 months interning and before progressing to a full-time job in publishing. But then I realised that I really wanted to work on my own book before trying to help someone else with theirs. I got a taste through self-publishing my own work as a part of an assignment (and there’s no way I’ll ever truly sell it) what it would be like to work in publishing. It was fun, sure. But it was also so stressful and complicated to do.
I know in my lecturers’ mind it was supposed to be some great achievement. In our final year of university with a book in our hands that we had laboured after. But it was… anticlimactic. Sure, it was cool. But it wasn’t what I wanted my first published book to be.
I guess it’s not the process of owning a book that I have written that I am after, but the validation of someone reading my work and thinking “damn, this will be a best seller one day”.
That’s not to say self-publishing is a bad thing. In fact, I applaud the writers who make self-publishing work for them. It’s just not a career path for everyone.
Maybe I’ll consider it in the future? Maybe I won’t.
The point is, I want to try my hand at writing.
I’ve stupidly informed my mother that I’m giving myself a year. I think she’s concerned that I’ve completed this degree for nothing, especially when I told her that right now I want a non-committing job (like bar work, or shop work – you know, something where when you leave at the end of the day you’re not bringing your work home with you). I want to focus on my writing without using a job or my education as an excuse not to write. If I haven’t progressed with a novel in a years time, I’ll try my hand at getting a job in publishing.
But I don’t know how true I will be. I love writing. And yes, I’m incredibly lazy. I can already see myself not want to read manuscripts in my spare time because all I’ll want to do is read real books. Published books where I’m not constantly looking for errors or inconsistencies.
But at the same time, I’d know I’d be so passionate about it. I love writers. I love books. And I love being in love with those things. A job where I can read to my heart’s content would literally be the perfect job for me.
So maybe I should work in a book shop? Although, maybe not a chain store. An indie store where they have poetry nights, and writers workshops. And if I can’t find one?
Well, I guess I’ll just have to open my own then, won’t I?