As I approached my University degree, older friends, family members and teachers constantly informed me that the coming years would be the ‘best of my life’, that I should look towards my time at University excitedly, because it would be an experience like no other.
Now that I’ve finished my undergraduate degree (if I pass all my assessments that is) I’m beginning to question this wisdom. It’s not to say that University wasn’t an amazing experience; I loved my degree and through it I’ve learnt to understand myself and what I want better, as well as making so incredible friends and reading some amazing, mind-opening literature. So, my questioning of the idea that ‘Uni will be the greatest time of my life’, doesn’t stem from a poor experience, it stems from what is perhaps too idealistic a hope, a hope that all of my life should be the best, that there won’t be just one period I look back on and think ‘ah, those were the days’. I want a lifetime of greatness, not just a moment.
I supposed idea is that University is some sort of last hoorah before we’re tumbled into the work force, unable to do what we please, confined by a 9-5 schedule and the restrictions that come with full-time work. Trust me, I understand the fear that comes with approaching the adult world- it reminds me of what Megan Washington said, in her ‘I am fearless’ campaign for Libra “All the things that I have done in my life that I am proud on are all things on the threshold of which I felt immense fear.” I think that Washington’s quote highlights a pretty important, if not somewhat overlooked aspect of life; what is the point of doing something easy? Yes, in a simple sense easy is good, get pizza for dinner if you can’t face cooking, read a trashy book every once in a while to cleanse your pallet. But in regards to your life, to the big things that really matter, why should anything be ‘easy’? Is accomplishing something really worth anything if you barely had to work for it? And I wonder if this is where the idea that University will be the greatest time in your life comes from.
Is the implication that University is easy and work-life is hard? After a three year degree I know this isn’t true- but there is a certain sense of ease to student life, perhaps ‘purpose’ is the best word for it. You’re working towards a goal, studying hard to attain a degree, certificate, diploma or whatever the end result is. You’re making a move to improve yourself and secure the future that you’re striving for. When you complete the degree and your goal is reached, it’s understandable that you can feel lost and in need of guidance. Perhaps the unknown trajectory of your life is what makes university so exciting, you’re on the precipice of something, at the point where you can still fantasize about what’s to come. But when that ends, and your tossed into your first full-time job you may begin to realise that the ‘real world’ is not what you anticipated and that hopeful, carefree element of yourself that you’d allowed so much freedom in University must be suppressed.
University was amazing. Despite the late nights, breakdowns, and complaints, it truly was one of the best times of my life- so far. Realistically, I’ve had a very short life. Primary school, high school, a gap-year and then three years of University. I have to say that the ‘best period’ of my life began as soon as I left high school and I was able to start to become my true self, as cheesy as that may sound. So why can’t this amazing feeling of freedom and the self-discovery that accompanies it continue into my life after study? I chose a degree that let me explore the areas that I am passionate about, and hopefully my future career will allow me the same opportunity. My hope is that as I progress through my life I will be flooded with opportunity to work in a field that engages me, with literature that broadens my mind. This path may not be easy, as I said before, the worthwhile things rarely are, but I’m so excited to start on this new section of my life. I will work as hard as possible to ensure that the rest of my life will live up to my university experience, so that I can appreciate everything I have and will accomplish and feel proud pf my life as a whole, not just one three-year period of study.