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The NewSLU

Personal Essay: So, What Happens After Graduation?

As the author approaches the end of her undergraduate degree, she questions what will happen next

Arriving at the Madrid-Barajas airport half asleep, Laila and I slowly made our way through the airport to the newly renovated Burger King in terminal one. Our hunger and exhaustion made it challenging to focus on the task at hand, getting on our plane. As we enjoyed burgers for breakfast, we failed to recognize that our flight had began boarding mid-meal. Luckily, Easy Jet forces you to download their app to access your boarding pass online. They also send countless notifications regarding the status of your flight, which led Laila and I to discovering that we needed to run to our gate.  

Ultimately, we made our flight and did not miss boarding, but another harsh reality greeted us at the gate. Our seats were not together meaning Laila was in a different boarding group than I was. As she took a bus 30 feet to the back of the plane to board, I stood in line and slowly started to process the trip I was going on. I looked at the London Gatwick sign that hung over the boarding gate. This short weekend trip was not a getaway, but the first step to a new beginning.  

Moving away from Madrid is something I’ve scarcely thought about during my time at SLU-Madrid. In high school, all I thought about were my college plans. In my teenage brain, college was simply my undergraduate degree. Life after my bachelors was unfathomable, for a long time I thought that was just it. This mindset stayed with me until my third year of university. As the end slowly crept up on me, I began to panic. 

What do you do after you graduate from your bachelor’s degree? Do you get a job? An internship? Do you go to graduate school? And if you attend university in Madrid, do you just go home? Do you try to stay?  
Sadly, there is no singular correct answer. But also, yay there is no singular correct answer! 

Going home for the summer prior to my senior year, I spoke with anyone and everyone about my future. I got my parents opinions, old and new friends’ opinions, I even met my favorite author, Dolly Alderton, and discussed my post-undergraduate plans with her. Safe to say, it was a confusing time.  

While I’ve loved my time in Madrid, I knew I wanted to go somewhere new. Moving to England is something that has always intrigued me. Perhaps it is because my father has a love for English culture, specifically their beers and hats, or because many people have told me I remind them of an old English man, I yell at Chelsea matches and drink Guinness. As my interest in moving to England grew, so did my interest in graduate school. This led me to the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. The university I’ll be attending this fall to pursue my postgraduate degree.  

I applied in December of 2023 and was admitted that same month, but the reality of my situation did not set in until recently, when I traveled to Brighton for the Masters Open Day. As Laila and I made our way to Brighton for the weekend, I began to register that this would be one of the last times I go to the city as a tourist.   

It is a strange thing to visit a place that you know you are going to move to, especially when it is located in another country. Though I’ve visited England numerous times, I have never stayed more than a week. Even as I fill out my housing application for my masters, I struggle to comprehend that Brighton, England is the place I’ll be calling home in a few months.  

Laila and I got lunch in a pub, the Pump House, in central Brighton prior to heading to the university for the Master’s Open Day. I could have stayed in that pub forever, as I found myself procrastinating heading to the school.  
I’ve never been a fan of change; I don’t think many are. Though I’ve been excitedly telling people for months that I am going to complete my master’s in England, it was not until Laila and I discussed the bus route to go from the pub to the university that I realized how nervous I was.  

This Master’s Open Day marked the beginning of a new era of my life. As we arrived on campus, I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, that was for the best! I was shocked to discover the number of on-campus cafes alongside the on-campus supermarket and restaurants.  

Not only was I amazed by the vastness of the campus, but also by how welcoming it is. Pride flags line the buildings, posters for social gathers are on all the walls, and the students on campus that day were inviting and informative.  
After wandering around for a while, Laila and I made our way to a talk for the communications department. As we entered the room, we were welcomed by two postgraduate student volunteers who supplied us with tea and biscuits. They invited us to sit with them and discuss the postgraduate programs at the University of Sussex. After a few minutes, we were joined by professors as well. As the conversations carried on my anxiety faded, and excitement took over.  

After an hour of discussing the program, our pets, and Spanish politics, the professors advised Laila and I to leave campus and go enjoy Brighton in the sun. We obliged and made our way to the city center, where we watched the sun set from the pier.  

Arriving back in Madrid the next morning, I felt a new-found bliss regarding my future. Ending my undergraduate degree is going to be bittersweet. I will miss Madrid, my professors, my friends. I’ll miss late nights at La Vía Láctea and early mornings walking around Parque Oeste. There are so many things I’ll miss that they are all impossible to list. That being said, there are so many more memories to be made.  



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About the Contributor
Abby Langton
Abby Langton, Editor-in-Chief
Abby Langton, a senior and communication major, is the Editor-in-Chief of The NewSLU. She has covered hard news, features and sports.

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