Tuesday, 30 September 2014

teenage dream? nah

As I'm sure many fellow students have, I've been forced to formulate an immediate answer whenever someone asks, 'So now you're about to leave school, have you decided what you want to do with your life?'
And after I've said it more times than I can count, I'm starting to doubt the truth behind my perfect retort to the all-important question. Do I really want to spend the first quarter of my life in education, just to spend the next quarter paying off debt for said education? I've always hated the phrase 'life is short'  but I think it might start to seem like it is when 50% of my time on this planet ends up being used up worrying about school in one form or another.

I feel a certain affinity with Tom Hansen (500 Days...) in that my expectations for life in general have been heightened -and ruined- by the movies. For my recent ambivalence concerning my future, I'm blaming the mighty Richard Curtis; does it really matter if I get a degree? It won't matter that I'm in a dissatisfying dead-end job when I finally meet the love of my life. Unfortunately I've began to realise that Hugh Grant is probably slightly too old for me (just slightly). So we're back where we started and I'm crying over my personal statement again.

are you swooning? i'm swooning. we are all swooning
Perhaps it's my fault for immersing myself completely in fiction and living vicariously through film/TV/book characters - but I keep finding myself just wanting more from life. I'm tired of surrendering to mundanity. I want to fall in love, to speak a foreign language, to ride a camel, to go pearl diving. These things might sound ridiculous when put in a list like that, but the infuriating thing is that I know they are all achievable. And if I cement myself in one place for the sake of studying, are these experiences always going to be just out of reach for me?

Don't get me wrong, I love to learn. I love reading books that are out of my comfort zone. I love working in a team to create something that we are all proud of in the end. I love the satisfaction of finally understanding something I've been unable to get my head round. What I don't love is the be-all and end-all nature of it. Once you have the free will to decide, your choice is to either devote all your time (and indeed money) to education, or reject it completely. I want to choose the first option, but I'm worried I'll be completely consumed by it in the end.

And this is the part where my mother/teacher/adult figure makes an attempt at what they believe to be a sympathetic look, even though they tuned out halfway through my monologue. Then they'll say something vague about how smartphones have turned us into the laziest generation yet, and how we're so ungrateful, how we're so privileged to get this experience, how we must stay in education as long as possible because they didn't...You know the rest. 
I'm left in just as much of an existential crisis as I was before.The hypocrisy of the situation really gets to me - we refuse to take teenagers seriously on any level, but expect them know their life goal before they're old enough to watch Trainspotting.

Some fitting closing words? Choose life guys. CHOOSE LIFE

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