In July, my plans for the summer were suddenly dismantled after a phone call from the woman who was meant to be my boss. What I was counting on doing during my break (working a few hours a day, then taking long weekend trips with friends) rapidly receded into the realm of fantasy after I had been ‘let go’.
However it wasn’t all bad. I managed to find a full time internship in my hometown London and at the weekends worked in a pub. The evenings were spent babysitting, seeing friends or plunging into a very deep sleep at 10pm.
I learnt a few things during my hectic summer. Firstly, I was reacquainted with the life of a commuter. The slightly damp pre-8am air which greeted me every weekday as I left the house, the people silently shuffling towards the bus stop and the manic stride into the tube station. The inevitable droplets of sweat which would collect in the nape of our necks; whatever the weather, and the gasp of fresh cool air as the train doors pulled open. I was glad to spend time in London again.
Secondly, I saw what my city looked like from the perspective of a foreign student. My intern colleagues were students from Germany, America, Pakistan and Italy, and it was curious to see them discovering the city, just as I took time to discover Maastricht. They wanted the knowledge of a Londoner - and I dutifully told them what I knew. It was nice to be the person who held all the answers, to be the native speaker and the wise local.
Thirdly, and lastly, I learnt not to be afraid of life after graduating University. I was conscious that others knew what they wanted from their life as a graduate. The post-graduation pause, the big, looming question mark naggingly calling “what next...”. But having spent the summer in the rushing from one job to another, I am reassured that whatever happens, I can handle it.
So I’d like to pass that bit of advice on, to those entering Maastricht for the first time, those beginning to wonder what they’re going to do, and those approaching the final hurdle. Enjoy what you’re doing now and don’t be afraid of what’s going to happen next, you can handle it.