Degree O’Clock! – Preparing for Life After University

As I write this blog it’s 22.30. I’ll probably finish this and then watch Law and Order on the telly until the early hours. Why? Because I can! I’m not up early, as my journal group isn’t until midday, and to be honest even that seems a bit early these days…

Joking aside, I’m actually horrified how I’ve fit into my own ‘degree o’clock’ timings as I call them, and my ‘can’t-get-out-of-bed-itis’ is starting to worry me.  In fact, when I do get out of bed before 7am I need a power nap in the afternoon to recover (if power nap is not possible, serious caffeine intake is required to function) which worries me as I wonder: how did I end up like this? I mean seriously?

Life has always been about getting up and being somewhere (except on weekends). For example, when I was younger, I went to school and had to be there on time. Then I went to college, and ok I left college because I couldn’t cope with academia at that time, but I then started working and at one point I had 3 jobs which meant I was working 7 days a week for 2 years. All of this was done on very limited sleep as well, especially as my social life was fit in around my working hours. [thin line]

Now let’s fast forward to starting a degree at 40 years of age (having worked right up until that point). I’m now facing my final semester and I just don’t know where my days go. Without the 9-5 job structure to keep me on track, I seem to have lost my way. At present the days are either too long, because I haven’t slept all the way through them, or too short because I have! In fact, the only time I function on timings with the rest of the world these days is when I’m away volunteering with a youth organisation, as I have to get up and function or I wouldn’t be much use. I just don’t understand how this has happened (although as a final year Psychology student I probably could suggest a few theories).

I have tried to break this cycle of more lie-ins than I should; for example, if I’ve stayed up all night until the early morning, I try and stay up all night and all day in the hope I’ll be exhausted come 10pm and go to sleep at a normal time. Sadly, however, this is short lived and the ridiculous internal ‘degree o’clock’ I have acquired resumes. Every time, I just keep saying to myself (or my poor hardworking partner who has caught me having a few zzzz’s mid-afternoon if he’s come home early) “it’ll be alright, I won’t do this when I’m back working”. But as my final semester has started, I am now thinking: actually, how will I cope when it the time comes to going back to work? Having a sleep during office hours at one’s desk is probably not listed under the Bonus Scheme section of many, if any, applications.

I’m convinced I will just cope as I’ll have to and as I have done in the past, which will be fine. But what if I don’t? I mean obviously I’ve missed out the actual job-hunting part so far in this blog, which in itself is no easy venture.  In order to job search, apply and (if lucky) attend interviews, you need to be able to get up, stay up and last the day. There’s no point in enquiring about jobs at 7pm or 4am: no one’s there.

So, the reality is, as much as I have loved managing my independent study and the student-bonuses of mid-week lie-ins and staying up until all hours watching mind-boggling TV, it all needs to end! Tomorrow I will get up at 7am and I’ll force myself to bypass the afternoon nap. Will it happen? Will I last? Here’s hoping it does or come graduation I’m in danger of missing the whole thing because I’ve fallen prey to the midday zzzz’s.

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