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October 15, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Things You Already Know But Just Need To Be Told

The Real World (How Can I Be A Real Citizen When All i See Are Tetrahedrons?)

This is the one hundred and first issue of Salient to carry something I’ve written. It is the last Salient to carry something I’ve written. Because next year I’m finally biting the bullet and giving the real world a go. After six years of student life and studying—editing Salient is basically study except you have an essay due every week, the essay is 48 pages long and written with bunch of other people—I am stepping outward (but not northward). I am bursting the bubble in which I have felt if not safe then at least a little protected.

I’m terrified.

As wonderful and terrible as the university experience is it’s always cushioned by the innate knowledge that it’s not actual. Not real. There are consequences, yeah, but you’re still young and everything is forgiving even when it feels like it won’t be. You get to try so much, you get to pick at the tasting plate of life knowing that if something makes you cringe or wince no one is going to begrudge you shifting. The real world is war, university is paint-ball. Both hurt. One kills you, the other is largely bright colours that are pretending to be something important.

It strikes me that the real difference between in here and out there is that while both gratuitously overwhelm you with choice. This house of learning is built like a ship—your legs are like roots—you can go wherever you want and still have every other option open to you. The real world offers most of the same choices but they weight so much more. Choosing one thing of course means not choosing another but this time that other thing doesn’t wait, it’s gone. Now doors have to be shut for others to be opened. That’s why I’m terrified. Because I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing.

Of course, no one does but I’m me so I’m much more aware of my own ignorance than anyone elses. I just need to listen to myself. You need to listen to yourself. You see the trust others put in you. You need to believe that other people know what they are doing when they listen to you. We know what to do with other people’s lives but never with our own. Advice is always easier to give than to take, right?

I am constantly in awe of how often people’s problems can be solved by their own solutions. No one ever thinks themselves worthy of saving. You are worth helping. I am worth helping.

That’s what I’m holding on to as I step out of the bomb shelter of school into the desolate nuclear wasteland of reality and consequence. I am going to trust myself. I am going to trust myself. I am going to know that I am worth saving.

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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