Kacper Niburski / The Silhouette
If there’s something to be said at the end of three years, it’s whoops-a-daisy.
No matter what we tried or how genuine our intentions, the whole damn thing didn’t go exactly like we originally planned. Grades have slipped. Social lives have stagnated. And most days, the warmth of our soft bed sounds infinitely better than walking out into the cold, hard world.
I’m told we’re all like that – we all have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning – and that’s okay. We’re all perfectionists. We’re all lazy. The two are in conflict daily because we want to do well, but we can’t be bothered to do it. We look back at ourselves when we flashed braces and accolades and 95 per cent averages, and we wonder how the heck did we do it?
We decided that we had to be aliens back then and like aliens, we came to McMaster University with an indefatigable idea of limitless potential. We were going to be the prizewinners and scholarship recipients. We were going to create, invent and discover the world bit by bit by bit. We saw the problems. We had the solutions. We were different. We just needed time to prove it.
Tick, tock, tick tock, and we find ourselves three years later waffling around in a futuristic limbo of professionalism, social desire and impending graduation. Things have changed and our focus has shifted. The novelty has worn off: every assignment looks alike and every class sounds more or less the same.
Still, we maintain that we have to be busy, busy, busy. Not because we are limitless but because we have learned we are so fabulously limited. Schedules become our gods and we become followers of time. We worship what we do only because in the end, we think it will worship us. If all goes right, we’ll find happiness. We won’t be lonely. Life will make sense. Eventually.
Until it does, we decided that we will become the doctors, the lawyers, and the anybodies we think we deserve to be. It’ll all be worth it in the end. If we keep working, we’ll get that 4.0 GPA. We’ll get into that top professional school. We’ll get loads of money. We’ll set aside some for retirement. We’ll get that country club membership. And if all checks out in the economy after it all, then we’ll have a few years to die in comfort.
In those brief moments we can call our own in a stretch of future we can’t, in between this deadline or that, we decide we no longer want to discover the world. Instead, we just want to survive the day in order to do it all again tomorrow.
Our private, little insecurities known only to the ceiling and ourselves are forgotten in this day-to-day excursion. Through it all – the midterms, the essays, the drudgery of night and day – we forget to ask ourselves who we are. We deem it isn’t an important question to ask; the person we knew ourselves to be five seconds ago is gone in four, and that person is gone in three.
So, we have instead decided to call ourselves adults with no other alternative. It shows. We drink coffee. We pay for car insurance. We talk and walk and do things just like we were told we would ten years ago. We’ve grown, we continue to grow, and we’re assured that one day we won’t anymore. We have no other choice but to believe it.
I think that is what three years here have taught me: we get stuck in everything we do and everything we don’t and we try to believe both categories are justified. In the end – our end – we’re conditioned to believe that life is how it is read, not how it is lived.
But this is wrong. We’re wrong. We don’t know a damn thing about anything. No one ever does. We’re all just kids playing a long game of dress up without any known rules or responsibilities.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise and don’t believe the arguments that any decision now is necessary. No one has a clue what’s going on in this world – we all just got here – and our professional lives are no different.
We’re insignificantly significant because we are young. So young. We are twenty-something year olds with so much time. That’s the point. That’s why we are here. Not for education. Not for profession. But because we have the time to invent. To create. To discover the world.
We are here because we are meant to find out who we are and what that means to us. And if we don’t do, that’s okay. It’s just another whoops-a-daisy. We have the time to do it again and again and again some place else if we want to.
So, who am I? I’m a struggling nobody who laughs more than he should and who, when asking himself who he was and what proof he had after three years of university, wrote an article at four in the morning when he just about convinced himself he was nothing.