I’m not going back to University.
It feels strange. I have just come from a series of conversations all related to the livelihoods of students. On the phone to my sister last night, discussing her moving date into a new house, how her casting for this year’s play is looking (she is at Drama School) and what her prospects for the coming term are.
I met one of my closest friends from home today as well, who is up at the Fringe with her boyfriend, and again we got to talking about University, and what the coming year held in store.
I suddenly realised I was talking about my life at university in the past tense, and that felt weird.
I think it feels weird because it is not that I am no longer a student, it is not that I am a graduate, it’s that I have cut the whole thing short. People said that once you left school, the security blanket would come off, and University would feel much more like real life but I could not find that to have been farther from the truth. University has been a whirlwind of hysteria, creativity, wonderful friends and beautiful weather. It has been two of the best years of my life and I was quite ready to plunge myself into the final installment of what could have been an awesome trilogy.
But I have not. I’ve clicked ‘yes’ to job. It’s a fantastic decision, one I do not nor do I think WILL ever regret, why would I? I go to university because this was the kind of job I wanted for God’s sake! But yet…it feels premature, cold even. I feel like I’ve cut short that last few dregs of childhood and now I face that yawning chasm of early mornings, responsibility, and council tax.
I am ready for it. I mean, I have felt ready for it for a long time. I have pushed myself beyond my own mental endurance to achieve something because, for so long, I felt I was destined to achieve absolutely nothing. I was so desperately afraid of graduating university with nothing to graduate into, that I have ended up unable to graduate, because I landed ‘the’ opportunity a little bit early. Perfect, says my brain. *Gulp*, says the 20-year old inside me.
Brain: “But Sophie, remember, your Dad was managing director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra at 19, so this is hardly a big deal is it?”
20-year old: “But, I have friends at Uni, I had a nice house…I had my Xbox and almost NO lectures…I had writing gigs that balanced perfectly. Why don’t you just sit tight and be a student forever?”
Brain: “Um..because you’d never forgive yourself.”
20 year old: “Good point…”
The day I picked up the phone to respond to what would be a life-changing message, one that said ‘leave university, and come work for that corporation you have dreamed about since you first visited at fourteen..” I had the overwhelming temptation to simply say ‘no’, and run. It was weird, like vertigo…you don’t want to jump but something from somewhere very perverse inside of you, is compelling you to do so anyway. That same feeling kept creeping up. No idea why. Like I was inticed to sabotage my own career and just…go along happily the way I was.
I was definitely happy, no question. But I am at my happiest when I am moving forward, or dreaming of moving forward. I am not happy when the only thing getting in the way of me, is me. If I had said no, I may have been happy to think of what could have been for a few weeks, but ultimately, I would have regretted it.
I think because I’d been presented with the opportunity of attending one of the most prestigious film schools in the world, straight out of school, but had been forced to decline due to circumstances, I have learned never to look the gift horse in the mouth. I could never really have dealt with the guilt of turning down a similar opportunity, one that was parceled and perfect for me, because of my own fear. Inability to afford a flat in Greenwich Park NYC? Maybe. Inability to let go of the house and the Xbox? No.
There’s also the fear of the ‘what I want’. Is it enough? Is it ever enough?
Can’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling. How great a sentiment that is. I have a plan, and I know what my plan is, and it has always been my plan. But now that I have begun actually setting about seeing through the plan…all of a sudden it seems a hell of a lot less planned.
But that’s the way I like it.
Wish me luck.