A secret confession of a soon to be university student
I’ll let you in on a big secret.
Are you ready?
I have no idea what I’m doing.
I pretend to know what I’m doing, which makes people think I know what I’m doing, and they’re pretty impressed with how I know what I’m doing. But I don’t. I’m pretending.
To some extent, I’ve got it sorted. I know I’m going to university in <place> to study <these degrees> which I’ll hopefully use in a job like <this>. If you hear me plan any further than that, I’m pretending to know what I’m doing.
However, I do know this: Very soon, I start university. I’m moving, rather appropriately, from the ‘country’ to Canberra, and in the first few months I’ll have near-insurmountable levels of change pelted at me. Any big change is full of uncertainties, which are not always nice nor useful to think about.
Here’s what I’ve decided though.
There’s no point focusing on the things you don’t know.
You either end up with strangely distorted expectations of the future, or unhealthy worries about the worst case scenarios – neither of which, by the way, are ever helpful.
I could spend days agonising over my courses, my academic performance, or even just how to “do uni”.
How will I manage my time and have balance in my life? Will my workload be too much? What will my marks be like?
I could shoot my worries from a negativity cannon pointed directly into the future – what will my job, my career be? Will I enjoy it or will it be my only option?
I could spend days in agony, but I won’t. Worries drift by on every whispered breeze, but dwelling on them won’t resolve the problems they pose. It’s a far better use of my time to concentrate on the things I do know.
I do know that I will learn some really neat things this year.
I know that I will learn from my classes, from those around me, and also from my own mistakes.
I know I will strive to improve myself and my knowledge in any way I can.
I do know that I will meet some fantastic, interesting, unique, and generally pretty decent people. I will look to the future with some amazing new friends and can already hear the laughter of celebratory reunions as we old friends, reminisce.
I do know that everything will be new. I’ll explore a new city and eventually get to know its traits and flaws, be that an idiosyncratic public transport system or slightly alien customs (what is a Freakshake, anyway?).
I’ll try new things, see new sights, and get out of my comfort zone (I actually don’t know whether bikes are safe).
I do know that uni will be hard. I also know that I will try my hardest.
I do know that nothing will ever feel as good as coming home.
Change should be cause for celebration, not worry.
Here’s some advice I’m giving to myself.
Try to look at what you know for certain, and understand what YOU can do to make the most of your changes. Dance into life not with the panic of hurtling through space at five hundred metres per second, but with those feelings creeping into your smile: You’re a bit nervous, full of awe, and you know something exciting is coming your way really soon.
Those who seem to know what they’re doing are probably just pretending anyway.