by Emily Maybanks
Coming back to Swansea in September and being thrown right in at the deep end for my final year of my BA degree in Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting has made this first semester so far fly by.
My University journey has probably been quite different from the standard three or four year courses that most students follow. I’m now in my fifth year at Swansea University, following taking my year abroad two years ago which I spent in both Italy and Switzerland, and then having to half suspend last year due to receiving a shocking cancer diagnosis. It’s safe to say that, for me, it’s been difficult to see the end.
That is, until now…
Even though I’ve been epically busy with so much University work which seems to have intensified for final year, and a lot of time spent in the wonderful Swansea Student Media office learning an abundance of exciting new stuff including being the Creative Writing Section Editor and now one of the Deputy Editors for the Waterfront, I’ve still had a lot of time to think, as well as panic and stress. Because sometimes the thought of being in my final year absolutely terrifies me!
Anecdotally, I was walking on the beach a while ago at sunset – earphones plugged in, music up loud – and suddenly this wave came crashing over me. Metaphorically speaking of course; but I did abruptly have this overwhelming feeling that in less than a year, I’ll be leaving Swansea and University for good. While my long-time dream of graduating is in sight, it’s a weird feeling to have.
I’m a huge fan of the metaphor of life being a book and each stage in life being a new chapter. It’s crazy to think that I’ve almost finished my University chapter. I’m determined to finish writing it as well as I possibly can.
Admittedly, sometimes, I think eight months in advance and I feel scared. University at the moment feels like this protective bubble and Swansea has certainly become more of a home to me than Reading feels – mainly due to the amazing people I’ve met here. It’s also scary when I realise that I don’t have a clue what I really want to do when I finish University (except maybe move into the SSM office but I’m not entirely sure that that’s a possibility)! I think that I’m lucky in that I have gained a substantial amount of work experience – through volunteering in a charity shop before I started University, doing a small amount of professional translation work, working in the Reconciliation Office at Reading Festival, spending my recent summer teaching English both here in the UK and abroad, and now doing as much as possible with SSM – but simultaneously, I wonder if it’s ever possible to have too much experience and a few too many options.
Honestly, my perfect job would involve me being able to combine my absolute passion for writing, travelling, languages and teaching, with a bit of journalism and festival work thrown in. Realistically, I sometimes feel like I have all these different paths but I don’t know which one to follow.
Most final year students must feel similarly. It gets overwhelming – worrying about our futures’.
I think the main aim for my final year in Swansea is – as well as to do my absolute best to get a good degree – also to gain as much experience as I can, especially within Student Media and now as Deputy Editor of the Waterfront because it’s become something I absolutely love and enjoy as well as being the only thing right now that I’m seriously considering pursuing when I finish University. But, I’m also determined to enjoy myself and try not to get too anxious about my future. Also, I want to interview as many celebrities as I can… This is following the amazing opportunity I had in October to interview Calum Scott from Britain’s Got Talent. Another anecdote – the conversation I had with Calum Scott following the interview gave me yet another point to think about because he said that in five years’ time, I could be interviewing all the huge music artists and at the time (I think the adrenaline and the excitement of interviewing a celebrity for the first time in my life clouded my judgement at the time) I thought that would be the most incredible career (dreams of myself interviewing Bastille or The Script) but once I had a chance to really reflect on the interview experience and what he said afterwards, I honestly considered how fantastic a career in music journalism would be.
Most of all, for my final year in Swansea, I fully intend to make the most of the beautiful beach that we have on our doorstep.