Friday, 16 September 2016

The Graduate: Lily

Name: Lily

Age: 22

Where and what did you study?
Keele University, Geography.

What made you decide to go to university?
I initially decided to go to university because it was the social norm at the secondary school I attended. If you didn't go to university you were the odd one out. Everyone was filling out applications in regards to the schools deadlines and so I just accepted that this was the thing to do. Despite this, the school pushed the benefits of attending university so by the time I was ready to leave I knew that I was going to get a degree in order to get a good job in the future, to gain life experience and to make memories. 

What are you doing at the moment?
I'm currently living on a bus on a farm on the East Coast of Australia, picking blueberries for 6 dollars a bucket in attempt to get my second year visa. 

Why did you decide to travel after university? Was it always the plan?
Travelling was never part of the plan. If someone told me that a year after I finished university I would be living in Australia, I would have laughed in their face! Whilst everyone was in their final year stressing about exams, simultaneously desperate to find post-grad jobs, I was thinking surely there's more to life than working a 9 to 5 job, living for the weekend. I'm 21 for god's sake, why do I need to do this now? I've gone straight from GCSEs to A levels to uni, do I really need to go straight into a job right now? So whilst I was having my classic dissertation cry in the library I thought why the hell not!? I can finish uni, graduate, work my flexible summer job which allows me to earn lots of money fast whilst enjoying my last summer of freedom, and then shoot off in November. The more I thought of it the more I thought it was a great idea! 

What have been the best and worst things about your travelling experience so far?
The best things:
1. The people. The best thing about travelling is, no doubt, the people that I've met along the way. One thing travelling has taught me is that you can be in one of the most beautiful places on Earth and never have felt so lonely. I've been in some absolute quite frankly shit holes yet I've had the best time because of the company. It's weird to think that not even a year ago I hadn't met my best friends that will be my best friends to life. Although I've only met them within the last 9 months or so, I can no longer imagine my life without them! 
2. Not having a planMy whole life I've had a plan. Whether it be long term: go to school, go to uni, get a job, move out, buy a car etc. Or short term: wake up, have a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work. I've always had a plan. If I don't have a plan I tend to panic. I'm out of my comfort zone. As I landed in Australia I didn't have a plan. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. And that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. Travelling has taught me that if you have a plan you can miss out on the best experiences! I went with the flow, took everything in my stride and just embraced and accepted everything that came my way and I've have had the best time! When I go home I don't have a plan. Normally that would scare me, but this time I'm coming back excited! 

The worst things:
There are lots of 'worst things' about travelling that nobody really prepares you for. I've been sick, I've had the shits in a dorm with 10 other people, I've stank and I've been in hospital. I've been unbelievably stressed because I've ran out of money, and flights have been delayed. I've had things lost and things stolen. I've cried myself to sleep, I've never felt so lonely in my whole entire life, and I've wanted to just jump on a flight and go straight home. But none of these 'worst things' matter. All of these 'worst things' are nothing compared to the 'best things'. I'd go through all these 'worst things' 10 times worse for the 'best things'. When I look back at the trip the 'worst things' won't ever slip into my mind. They simply don't matter.

What have been your biggest influences?
My degree and university was an influence on my decision to go away. Having a Geography degree definitely encouraged me to go travelling, and the stress of university was also a factor. My attending university also gave me the life experience I needed to prepare myself for this trip. I came out of uni a completely different person to the person I was when I started, and I can't imagine doing the trip straight out of school. My family was another influence on my decision to get away. My dad had never been travelling and my younger sister has never expressed an interest. But when I went to my mum things were different. I thought my family would shut the idea down straight away, but they supported my decision. My mum did the same thing when she was my age and so agreed that if I was completely sure that this is what I wanted to do then I should go ahead! 

What are your plans, if any, for the future?
So my broad plan is to go home at Christmas, get a job, get experience using my degree and eventually come back to Australia. When, where and doing what however I have no idea and I'm excited! Everything happens for a reason and whatever happens happens! 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to travel after university?
Just do it! You have nothing to lose! When are you going to get this chance again? If you hate it the worst thing that happens is that you come back. When I left I thought that would be one of the older ones. I thought it would be loads of 18 year olds getting smashed on their gap year, and boy have I been proved wrong! I've met so many people from so many different backgrounds, university or not, aged 18 to 84 - so you always have time to get away!! My parents keep telling me I need to 'grow up' but there's no time for that! Life's too short! You just don't want to be spending the rest of your life saying what if?

Lily, the geography graduate.
Travelling and exploring.


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