I sit here writing this in the way most of my blog posts come about. A spark of inspiration and the need to put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) straightaway, and usually when I’m supposed to be doing something more important. But when inspiration knocks, I always open the door and let it in – it’d be rude not to!
Obviously the end of the year is fast approaching, but something much more significant is also coming to an end. My university education.
Perhaps not forever, but for the moment at least. If you asked me three years ago how I would feel leaving uni, I would have said I couldn’t wait to escape, but with two days left at the University of Melbourne the thought of leaving is saddening and frightening all at once. I wasn’t a typical uni student in the slightest. After making the move from Bendigo I found myself living in an apartment in the Northern suburbs, working a casual job in the city and most of the time wishing I was back in Bendigo. I didn’t do much partying at all and I could probably count the number of times I got drunk on one hand…shameful I know.
It wasn’t until the start of this year that I began feeling at home, feeling like I was in the right place and doing the right thing. The ‘spoon feeding’ educational style of high school doesn’t prepare you for uni, and for someone who did pretty well during VCE, uni work came as quite a shock.
This, coupled with complete confusion and indecisiveness about what I wanted to do with my life, made my university experience less than enjoyable. I came ‘this’ close to deferring/switching courses more times than I can recall, but in the end I always ended up changing my mind at the last minute and sticking with my very broad Arts degree.
I’m very grateful that I had a supportive family behind me, and even more grateful that some of them encouraged me to stick it out and finish my degree, and I’m so glad I did. For the greater part of this year I’ve admitted that I’m actually enjoying uni, and with 2 days left of my Bachelors Degree, and I have that aching feeling in my chest and throat whenever I think about leaving behind the sandstone, Hogwarts-esque buildings of Melbourne University. Sure I have had my moments of pure hatred towards anything uni related, but like most things in life, you hate something, and then end up loving it but only realizing you do when it’s nearly over.
That’s exactly how I feel. I even got caught out by a friend today, trying to take a photo of the uni logo on one of the buildings (I don’t even know what I was going to do with the photo, probably frame it, judging by my fragile state at the moment).
If this realization has taught me anything, it is to see the good in any situation or period of life, to be fully present in that moment and to try to appreciate it while it’s happening. Life is fleeting, and like that cliched saying, its not about the destination, its about the ride. Hopefully its a long way off, but 2 days before the end of my life, I don’t want to look back on it the way I have with uni and realize that it was actually great.
Yes, nostalgia makes every patch of grass in the past looker greener, but I feel the main reason I’m sad and afraid to finish my degree is because uni has become my comfort zone. I know my way around, I know whats expected of me (whether I live up to it or not, because apparently P’s get degree’s) and I feel extremely safe in that limbo somewhere between being a teenager and an adult.
It’s what I’m going to call Peter Pan Syndrome, because essentially, I’m not sure if I want to grow up.
The thought of having to go out into the world and find a real job has always excited me, but now that the time has finally come, I am overcome with fear. I’m not ready to let go of skipping lectures and sleeping in. I’m not ready to let go of the adrenalin that accompanies writing a 2000 word essay the night before its due, or the relief that comes with submitting it. And I’m clearly not ready to admit that I actually am ready to leave all of these things behind, because that means stepping into the unknown.
But I will. And this time, I will do my best to make sure I appreciate the good times and the not so good times, and just enjoy the ride while I’m on it.