Checking In On Checking Out (Or: Good Riddance, University)

University is a funny thing. You go from school or college or a gap year to being thrust into a sort of half-adulthood, where you have to do your own food shopping and pay your own utility bills and defrost the freezer (I am expert level at this now) and keep track of when you last washed your bedding (how many students actually change their sheets the recommended once a week?) and learn how your boiler works and how to tell if it's not working (thanks Dad) and make small talk with the neighbours and make sure you don't get bin day wrong otherwise you'll be stuck with an extra fortnight's worth of rubbish if you miss it or extremely angry passive-aggressive notes through the door from the neighbours you so politely made small talk with to tell you off for putting your rubbish out at 6pm instead of waiting until 7pm and... yes, I think that might be most of it.

Oh WAIT: you also have to go to uni and keep track of a seemingly randomly organised timetable in randomly assigned locations and write assignments and prepare for presentations and read a hundred books a week for each of your million modules and don't forget to revise for your constant stream of exams. And that's before you even consider maintaining a social life and seeing your friends and spending enough time on social media to keep up with your non-uni buddies (but not so much that you forget about your uni ones or find yourself seeming antisocial in such an effort to be sociable) and attending a bazillion and one societies each day and going on nights out with those societies so you can integrate yourself and also doing your best to keep up with those sports you always wanted to try at uni but for some reason you just can't seem to find the time now that you're here and remember to check in with your family every so often in case they think you've dropped off the face of the earth and HEAVEN FORBID you should want some down time for yourself just to stop. and. breathe.

In case you can't tell, I'm quite glad to be leaving (as you may also have gathered from my post University Is Not For Everyone...). University has been an interesting experience, for sure, and it has taught me some lessons (although in all honesty I will never use anything I have learned from my actual studies of linguistics ever again, probably). I do still find myself wondering what life would have been like if I had gone somewhere else or studied something else or taken a gap year or not gone to uni at all. Maybe I would be going into my fourth year of architecture and interior design. Maybe I would have graduated in creative writing and journalism, and written a book in the process. Maybe I would be living abroad. Maybe I would be wondering what life could be like if I had gone to York, to study English Language & Linguistics with French. Who knows, eh?

That's the point - there is no way of knowing. Daydreaming and wondering about alternate timelines is fun and healthy and perfectly good, but only as long as you don't let that get ahold of you and tinge your hindsight with regret. Don't get me wrong - I'm certainly not thrilled with the decisions I have made (and the decisions that were made for me... thank you school) about university, but there are three things to remember:
1. it's in the past; nothing can change so we may as well move on;
2. it could have been a whole lot worse - I could have gone to uni in Scotland and felt the same way, and would still have a whole extra year to go at this point, or I could have studied a course that I totally flopped at and completely couldn't do at all one teeny tiny bit in the slightest;
3. my life is actually in an extremely great place; why wonder unnecessarily about what could have been, when what is is even better?

I'm not attached enough to my university or the time I spent there to go to my own graduation, so I have roped my parents into doing whatever I fancy to mark my university experience in a much more enjoyable way instead. I'm still brainstorming, but my general idea is that it is going to involve a walk in the countryside, extremely fancy food, and biodegradable sky lanterns. I'll take that over three hours in a stuffy hall full of people I don't know any day.

Moral of the story? For anyone still plodding on with uni and feeling more than a smidge fed up with it: it is what it is, it will be over soon, and you will end up exactly where you're meant to be. Also, you might find yourself writing a really interesting and enjoyable dissertation by absolute fluke (I did). For anyone still to go to uni at all: whatever you decide, make sure you are putting yourself first; you alone can know what's right. Good luck!



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