In terms of employment, when either party decides to terminate a contract two weeks' notice must be given. Then, the employee becomes a former-employee, often unemployed, and has to adjust to a new lifestyle.
In terms of college, it tends to sneak up on you that the agreed-upon length of your course has almost expired. Little over seven weeks remain before I'm finished, including the twenty-two day hell that is Exam Season. Where did the last four years of my life go? Or how about the fourteen years before that, accumulating Primary and Secondary school?
Seriously. I don't remember ever being in a situation of having no idea what I'll be doing in the coming September. Even before I started in college, I knew I was going to a college. I didn't know which one, but I had a semblance of an idea based on my CAO application. Newsflash: there's no CAO for The Rest of Your Life.
So, seven weeks. Then I'm a former-student. I suppose that equates to being a graduate, but even that doesn't mean employed. It certainly doesn't mean that I know what I'll be doing in September.
Don't get me wrong, I have plans, but these revolve largely around books I want to write and publish and great big projects that could take a year to complete, involving tons of work and research, if they ever get off the ground. And that's the problem, the "if", because what if something happens that gets in the way, as life is want to do? Then any plans I have for September fall through quite quickly. Scares the bejebus out of me.
So much rests of certain things going right, like passing the exams first-time around, getting myself motivated in early June to get work started, and finding the support at home and from friends and online (my Home in the Ether) to actually pull off the gradiose plans that have been running about in this head of mine for way longer than I can recall. I have known, for a long time, that I wanted to go through with certain projects, but I have had no idea when I would ever find the time to actually get things done. Especially with college, with my interests in Drama, my essays, my Research Paper, exams (the epitome of Dread) and the various social aspects of life that, apart from being enjoyable, are necessary for my sanity, I haven't had much chance to actually create a sustainable pace for working at home. Writing a book suddenly takes a backseat when there's a few thousand euro hanging over your head, and hell on the horizon.
Somehow, seven weeks doesn't seem like enough time to actually prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the transition into the unknown, into now knowing what I will be doing, not only in the future, but on each day as it comes. I've been on scheduled timetables for most of my life, and even my brief stint of unemployment back in 2010 was cushioned by my continued structure in college.
Now? Now I'm leaving that main provider of structure, which is also where I talk to most of my friends, without any guarantee of when I will enter full-time employment, what form that employment will take, or how I'm going to adjust to having an extended break like this.
Part of it is exciting, of course, but there's still the worry that eventually I have to do something to make a significant change in my life that will provide the sort of financial support society demands. It's not that I don't want to, but that I don't know how or what. I could end up teaching, which wouldn't be a bad thing, but I'd like to try my hand at something else and gain some life experience before going right into teaching, even just to get one more year on the students. I suppose that's part in fear that I might not find respect in a school if I'm barely four years older than the sixth years. I think that's a legitimate concern, especially since it's very unlikely I'll be taller than every male student in schools (kids these days...).
I'm not looking to go party-mad when I leave college. That's not what I mean by life experience. I plan on being quite reasonable with my time, following my dreams while I still feel I deserve them. I don't want to settle down into a teaching position with regrets, feeling like I'm only doing it because I want a job. It's more than just a job. There's a whole lifestyle around teaching, and entering that lifestyle isn't something I feel ready to do right now. Maybe that will change over the next few months. Maybe half-way through June I'll realise that I am ready. It's possible that right now, I'm just feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea that hey - I have to be a grown-up now!
And I have seven weeks to come to terms with that before it starts becoming a reality. the words, "I can't even", come to mind.