Finishing My Undergraduate Degree | What's Next?

June 19, 2017

When people tell you that uni will fly by, they really aren't exaggerating. I've officially received all my degree marks and I'll be graduating in less than 3 weeks but I can't stop asking where has the time gone?

Uni has been some of the best and worst times of my life. It's no secret that I suffered with home sickness throughout most of my first two years at uni - I struggled being away from my family and my home, and found that I was going through the motions of uni without really engaging in it. Summer 2015 was a big turning point for me. I spent 6 weeks away in Italy on a dig (you can read those posts here) and came to third year with a completely new attitude. I'd found my passion - being out in the field was exciting and interesting to me, and I decided that classical archaeology was the way I wanted to go forward. Having this realisation suddenly made my degree seem worth it - I could see the end result, and how this degree would really benefit me, and I became a different person.

Looking back on my final two years of uni - I loved them. I had the best time, becoming more involved in my department and getting stuck into my classes. I think it made a difference being able to choose the courses I was taking and I found that I was engaging more with the readings as well as with the lecturers.

I found my routine - I've written about how important finding a routine is before. I spent my days in at the uni library, I had times that I would volunteer within the school, and I gave myself the evenings off to relax.

Coming to the end of uni, when I've become so settled, its a scary feeling. I suppose a lot of people are feeling the same at this moment. It's the fear of moving on from what I'm used to. The same thing happened at school - I was so comfortable within my friendship group, with my teachers and in my subjects that I didn't want to leave. It's happening over again, I've got a group of really good friends who I trust, I love my lecturers and found I got on well with them, I had found my place within the department, taking on leadership roles and volunteering positions and I loved what I was learning. There's no other way to say it - it's going to be weird moving on from Edinburgh and having to settle into a whole new place, and on one level that does scare me.

So what is next for this aspiring archaeologist?

I'll be graduating July the 5th - the dress has been bought, the robes on order and the table booked for a celebratory meal afterwards. Just after graduation I'll be popping on a flight to Italy to take part in this season of excavation at Aeclanum with the Apolline Project in my second year as trench supervisor. I'm so excited to be back again and see how the dig has progressed since I left last summer, as well as seeing many of my friends again.

In October, I'll be officially taking up my student status again and start my year long degree of a Masters in Archaeology at Durham. For someone who was so set on taking a gap year, my tune has certainly changed. I'm really excited to head to Durham - it has a fantastic department and I'll be able to specialise more in Roman Archaeology while I'm there. As I was saying, it is quite a daunting process. Having to make the move and return to student halls (I'm most worried about being back in a single bed after years of double bed luxury). I know of many of the lecturers through readings I've done, so it'll be interesting to meet them in person - but I'll have to re-establish my place within the department as the eager and enthusiastic one which many of my lecturers at Edinburgh have seemed to come to know me as.

There's also the worrying idea of having to make new friends. The good thing about masters is that people rarely travel in groups - for undergrad I was surrounded by people from school, and knew that there were plenty of people in the city who I knew. This time most people will be on their own - and even at different stages of life. I know its not as common to continue straight into a masters after undergrad, and I will be only 21 / 22 when I'm there. Compared with most people, I'm imagining myself to be on the younger side of the scale. I'm taking it as an opportunity to meet new people with different backgrounds and experiences which I can learn from too. From what I've seen with master students in Edinburgh is that a lot of the course mates stick together - so here's hoping there's a lovely bunch of archaeologists in my course. Saying that, if by any chance you're reading this and are from Durham / know someone there then let me know. I've been lucky in Edinburgh which has a big blogging scene, and I'm not quite sure what to expect from the smaller city of Durham. But I know there will be some out there who I'd love to get to know too.

While its a scary time of my life - its also an exciting one. I can't wait to receive my degree certificate after all the hard work I've put in over the last few years, and I'm excited to continue learning about what interests me and deepen my knowledge. I still just can't get my head around how fast these last four years have gone - if you're still in uni then really enjoy your time and get stuck in, you won't regret it.

Over these next few months I'm planning on enjoying my summer - after all it is my last 4 month long summer that'll I'll be having. I've just come back from Rhodes - a week in the sun with my sister. I've already shared my holiday look book and I'll be sharing more travel posts over the coming weeks. I still have some things to tick off my Edinburgh bucket list too, so I'm sure I'll be heading back down to complete those. Make sure you're following all my social media to keep up to date with my summer full of adventures - I don't know about you, but instastories are becoming my new favourite thing.

Twitter - @emilyrjohnston
Instagram - @emilyrebeccajohnston
Facebook - Under The Scottish Rain
Youtube - Lost In Wanderlust


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  1. Ooh congrats on your graduation gal! That's amazing! :) xo

  2. Congratulations ! I am starting a master as well next year however in France it is the common thing to do to do it right after your degree !
    I have spend a semester studying in Scotland this year and totally loved it ! I posted my first post yesterday about what to do on the Scottish coast if you are interested I leave you the link ;)

  3. I've just come across your blog but am excited to find someone in a similar subject area to me who's also blogging! I was a Classicist (Latin and Ancient Greek languages are my thing!) at uni and had a similar situation to you. I did a summer course at the British School at Athens and that really helped me find my feet. While I don't still work in the industry now, I'm still of course super interested in it! I saw you've posted about Rhodes recently so I'm off to read those posts now then I'll read the Apolline dig ones - so interesting!
    Sian xx Rebel Angel