“Shoot for the moon; even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”
Right now, I’m sitting in front of my screen, staring at this column, half a sentence in thinking “man I should have started this yesterday”. You can probably empathise with this a lot. Technically this was due a couple of days ago though, so you’re hopefully at least doing better than me.
Every year coming into week 12, I end up stressing over what success is and what I want to do with my life. At this point (halfway through my fourth year at Vic), it’s difficult to point to any tangible things that have come out of my first 21 years. I haven’t saved a species and I haven’t reformed the criminal justice system. I can’t even remember to take out the rubbish at my flat (three weeks and counting). However, this week I did accidentally buy two t-shirts that have an embroidered face on them that looks exactly like my face. This makes me feel like my life achievements so far stack up to $40k of student debt, a pile of trash, and two highly narcissistic t-shirts.
It’s really easy to tunnel vision yourself into seeing university and the grades you get as a really integral part of how your life is going to pan out and what career you’re going to end up with. Honestly, I haven’t even come to any great conclusions to the questions posed by my existential crisis. All I’ve got is that the answers are obviously different for everyone and that it doesn’t matter how many times you watch The Breakfast Club, you’re not going to get that same weird sense of security about how harmonious chaos is that it gave you when you watched it in year 10.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this week, and these next few, are going to be really difficult for the majority of our community. University isn’t easy at the best of times, but now is when it starts getting really hectic. The thing to remember in the next few weeks is that no matter how it turns out, it doesn’t define you. Living in this bizarre, isolated section of the city where our performances are constantly being assessed in a letter grade system can give you a really warped view of who you are and about what life is actually like.
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Try your best, dive in, and work as hard as you can. But also, chill out. It’s going to be okay. You’ve succeeded in making it this far, and you’ll have a myriad of successes in your future too. Also, it’s totally okay if you decide that what you’re doing right now isn’t what you want to be doing forever. Seriously, everyone thinks about changing their degree at least five hundred times over the course of their study.
Remember to utilise what VUWSA is putting on to help, we exist for you and we hope that you’ll embrace what we’ve organised to try make next week just a little smoother. Come see us at Te Aro, Pipitea, and Kelburn everyday next week for a free breakfast and lunch and have a chat to our exec and volunteers about your study. We’re all students too, and we get you.
Best of luck for your exams, and enjoy the holiday that comes after. You deserve it.