Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Lull

These are thoughts born of three thousand words. Specifically, three thousand words I wrote in the form of an essay critiquing the performance which created the first real spark I've experienced of what I would like to be 'when I grow up'. Some of the sentences in the essay were better than that.

I had a long time to complete the essay, and I spent a long time completing the essay. The stages of research, of library trips, of referencing, of painstakingly removing the excess of approximately fifty words, reminded me or proved to me that I made the right decision in putting three more years of my life in the hands of education. Whether my future turns out to be practical or theoretical, I feel I am gaining a solid foundation of both here.

As I have done before, writing these thoughts before I know the grade I received for the collection of my three thousand little words seems preferable to after. Unbiased and unclouded, I want to remember how I am feeling now, at the completion of The Longest Thing I Have Ever Written, and uninfluenced by the judgement of another.

I go to Japan to study abroad for 4 months in a matter of weeks. With Mr 3,000 out of the way, my schedule is free from work until I venture to libraries on a different continent. It is not free from two plays, one musical, frisbee tournaments, a job and work experience. Yet I have encountered a pleasing lull in university life, felt especially on a sunny Saturday afternoon with nothing in particular to do. I've had time to reflect on how ridiculous the last year and a half has been. Partying, writing, shopping, cooking, reading, socialising, travelling. How terrible it is that the activities which are to most a matter of course at university have the ability to drag you down.

Of the people I know well, I can't think of a single one who hasn't struggled at some point along the way. I remember the talk we went to in our Freshers Week; amusing, innuendo-ridden, and concluding with the overall message that this won't be easy, and no-one will plain-sail through the ocean of books, relationships and Life that stretches out. The most fitting adjective so far, to describe the situation of being almost exactly half-way through a degree, is 'overwhelming'. At times it feels this whole process is to show me just how much I will never know. The points I could have explored further in that essay, if only I'd had the time and space!

Everyone feels their head slipping under the tirade at some point, and it doesn't even matter if it's not to do with an assignment specifically. The human interaction you're forced into, the cooking you must learn to do, the time you must find to learn words and train and practice, all of this is the experience of being at university, and it's not shameful to have a hard time dealing with any of it. There are so many clich├ęs I could type, but I am loathe to do so. Just try to break out of the isolation you feel, because there is someone else who understands how you feel, and if they don't, they want to keep you company while you feel it. This is new to us all, and we all have moments when we struggle with the onslaught.

Personally, I've been dwelling on the plays I will never have the funds to see, the books time to read, or the places the ability to travel to. A needlessly sad enterprise, as it happens, and I think what I'm learning currently is that the most important factor in my life are indeed those choices we make. As much as I would have liked to, I cannot study ALL the subjects at university, so how much does it mean that Drama and English stole the top spot? As much as I would like to, I cannot learn ALL the things, so think how much emphasis it puts on the knowledge I have gained, and will gain. I have the ability here to decide exactly what the most important things are, and learn about them. Even if that's only my opinion, how incredible. That's why I've just bought a book about the Natural History Museum.

So continue, fast-paced, poorly funded, terrifying degree. All that you're bringing with you I can face, because I choose to.

Yours, head-on,
Abby

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