College is officially over. No more exams (I hope.) No more assignments (I hope.) No more waking up at 7am to attend a lecture on Grace (I really, really hope.) Which puts me in a position of starting over again in a new kind of life. The Education Years are complete. Someday, I'll retrospectively figure out what to call this time of my life, but for now, I'll just focus on the fact that as of today, this is the life I have to live. This is:
Chapter One: Is This Real Life?
I got to wake up after half ten this morning. This was, admittedly, after a long day and a long night, but even still: half ten. And I was in no pressure to go anywhere. It almost felt good, but I'm still getting over the exam experience, thinking "I should be studying instead of watching Rooster Teeth videos on YouTube." Except no. I don't have to study for an exam anymore. I'm allowed to take some time to watch videos of grown men becoming emotionally attached to video game sheep as the very ground they walk on catches fire and the sheep plummet to their virtual deaths. That's a thing.
The day was also spent baking. Or, some of it was. A batch of brownies are, as of writing this, cooling before I can cut them. I haven't had the chance to bake in a long time because of assignments and exams in college. Now, I get to bake to prepare for a day out in the city that won't involve getting materials for exams or teaching. I get to walk around with friends all day and be a bum.
This comes at a point in time at which I get to start rolling out some grand plans I've been working on for a while, now. All things going smoothly, the first of these endeavours will find itself unveiled this Saturday, June 1st. Recent developments have made it so I can't go to Derry for the 2D Festival, so I'm home-bound. I'm using this as an opportunity to do some work that I've had to put off against my will for a while. For reasons.
At it happens, the weekend off allows me to devote three days to writing non-stop. Aside from the typical bank holiday hours I work, next week will then have me making use of my timetable, to put some structure in my days. Combined with a list of things I want to get done in the first month of Real Life, I can see myself accomplishing a lot in a short period of time. I suppose this is necessary, to keep my spirits high. I'm intending on putting my work in such an order that I should finish projects regularly, rather than all at once. Minor successes that come often are much more valuable to me than a lot of them at once.
It doesn't feel as if this is actually real, at the moment, though. Five years in a row I've completed massive exams - Leaving Cert, and college exams for a four year degree. Every time so far, I've had somewhere to go in September. Four years ago, I was in a position of not really knowing where I would go, but knowing I would end up somewhere. It took until August to really drill that in. I have a feeling that it'll be August when it finally hits me: this is my life, until I do something to radically change it.
It does raise the question though: do I want to change it?
I had a conversation similar to this sort of thinking a couple of days ago with a friend over Facebook. Assuming I've passed my exams, I'm technically a qualified teacher, now. He asked if I would go into teaching, and I answered honestly: while it's a passion of mine, I don't want to go into teaching until I've given the writing a shot. I'm playing it smart, planning on evaluating things regularly to see if I'm actually progressing with the writing. If not, then I'll pursue teaching more seriously in a year.
It's not a case of not wanting to teach, mind you. I've mentioned before: it's an emotional maturity consideration, and a consideration of my age and life experience. I'm not planning a boozing holiday to go wild, of course, but that doesn't mean I don't want to travel. I want to experience something of the world. I want to test the waters with writing, see how my bank account fairs as a result of publishing, establish long-term projects that aren't necessarily something to abandon if I enter teaching, and take a chance to find myself as a person.
It begins with the day out tomorrow, the weekend of writing, and the launch of my first big project. By the end of September, then we'll have to consider how much has changed.
The first chapter of my new life has started. Let's get this one right, shall we?