When I walked across the graduation stage, at the moment my middle name was pronounced incorrectly, I had a slight existential crisis as it felt like just the week before I was an overly keen Fresher and the prospect of ‘adulting’ life seemed a lifetime away.
I began to question whether my decision to intern at my church for a year was the right one (as I’m sure my parents did). Couldn’t I have just applied for a grad scheme? Should I have gone travelling? Wouldn’t it have been simpler to move back home?
Obviously none of these options are bad and it’s exciting to think about what graduate life holds. But if you’re like me, it can also be a daunting thought. The comforts of being a student can disappear and there can be a pressure to earn more, travel more, or do more at church. It can sometimes feel like the world expects you to have it figured out, to be doing something glamourous or exciting, or be making something of yourself.
What God taught me when I graduated was quite the opposite. He showed me that there was no degree, salary, job, country, or role at church that would ultimately bring more satisfaction or provision than Him. There is no successful graduate version of me that exists outside of the love and favour He already shows. And it’s the same for you too.
Jesus told us to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you’ (Matthew 6:33). When we graduate, if we make God our centrepoint and ambition, not career or anything else, we will see Him do amazing things in and through us as our fullness will flow from Him. As Paul said, ‘to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1:21), even if that means dying to the expectations we have of our graduate selves.
So for those of you in the coming weeks who will be chucking mortar boards in the air and getting endlessly photographed by your parents, whatever you do when you leave Uni, whether you go straight into a new job, move back home and start looking for one, intern at a church, take a gap year (or two), or even if you have no clue at all, remember that whilst your identity as a student may be about to change, your identity in Him will always stay the same.