By Georgia Robertson
I’m not much of a maths person, but indulge me for a minute. I will soon complete 4 years of University. I will have completed 32 subjects. In law, that’s approximately 64 pieces of assessment (which is generous). I have received 32 final grade marks, and approximately 64 assignment and exam marks. I have spent more time studying these past four years than I have with my own family. I have been consumed with the laws for four years. I have been driven by the goal of graduation, but all of a sudden I am faced with an unfamiliar thought: it will end.
I moved to Brisbane at 17 from a regional town. I travelled 600 kilometres with a few boxes and a framed picture of Rambo. That was 2016. The following months have continued to be a joke among friends, and it seems like it will always be my personality trait. Oh, you haven’t heard the chicken story? Long story short, it involved one episode of masterchief where I swear Matt Preston led me astray by saying ‘good meat is rare’ and 6 months of applying this technique to chicken. Yeah, so I am the chicken girl.
But before I was the chicken girl, I was the lonely girl. I moved to Brisbane with no friends. I started fresh with the expectations of a vibrant beginning, shredding my old toxic high school habits and embracing the freedom of a new life. I remember the exact moment my parents dropped me off, I waived them goodbye and I walked up to my room. I adjusted the Rambo posted and surveyed my room. And then I cried. This would happen every day for the next 18 months. It seemed as if the promotional pictures and the TV shows where not my reality, especially when I did nothing to grasp it. I studied 15 hours a day, taking a strict hour for lunch to try cope with the massive workload of law. The imposter syndrome is a struggle for all law students, but especially coming from a regional town. My parents would tell me that they were proud, and I would smile through the phone and tell them that I was working hard, then convince myself that I needed to stay up until 3am to finish all the readings (FYI: You don’t need to do all the readings, as I now know!). I pushed myself to exhaustion, so desperate to graduate and make my family proud. Not once did I think it would end.
Come my second year, I realised my life was unsustainable. It was due to an amazing friend who never gave up on me that I went to my first 21st party and I met the most amazing people. I gradually began to come out of my shell, and put my books down for a moment to see the beauty. I have realised over my degree that when you leave the safety of your books, there are some pretty damn amazing people out there.
I want to say that after that night my life was perfect. That every day was filled with productivity, balance and happiness. If that’s your expectation, then maybe stop reading here. The reality is that life is difficult. I achieved more of a balance, but I have many highs and lows. I have gotten top marks and nearly failed, I have been loved up and broken up, I have been happier than ever and I have been low. That’s just life. But the most important decision I made in my degree was letting people be a part of that life.
But I woke up this morning, I realised something that seems to have escaped my mind for these past four years. It will end. I will graduate. I have started working in a top law firm in a job I love, applying the concepts and laws that I would stress over only a year ago. My parents will come and see a graduation that will never be their own. I will hold the light paper, and I will feel the weight of the many sacrifices my family has made. I will feel the weight of all the tears. Of all the sleepless nights. I will feel the weight of my determination. This will all end, and when I walk off that stage I will have completed the single most important achievement of my life: I graduated.
I have come to realise that it will end. The darkest times of loneliness. The salmonella. That fresh 4 grade feeling. But when it ends, it all ends. The 21st parties in a dreamily lit Ashgrove backyard that seem to go forever. The amazing friends, hanging out for endless afternoons avoiding study. It ends.