Hey, it’s me! Remember me? I kept a blog and I used to be pretty strict about my uploading times but apparently I’ve decided to go all laissez faire on you. I’ll try not to do that again, sorry. You have almost definitely not been worrying about me and wondering where I’ve been over the last few weeks but yep, you guessed it, I’m going to tell you anyway.
I FINISHED UNIVERSITY
Yep, that’s right, little old me – who had no desire to go to uni at all a mere … 4 years ago – has finished an entire degree. I’m not really sure how it happened but it has and I’m pretty happy about it! I’m really unsure what I want to do with that piece of paper they’ll hand me in a month’s time. I went into uni so certain of my career goals but I’ve come out of it more unsure than ever – in a totally good way, I now feel overwhelmed with possibilities and I’ve been made aware of so many cool things I could get into.
Apart from all those opportunities, I’ve kind of learned a lot. Of course, I’ve mastered the ‘in-the-know’ expression one needs to adopt when they’ve turned up to class without doing the readings (aka always) and I’ve learned that, in fact, it is possible to write a 6,000 word essay in less than three days. Besides these clearly useful skills, I’ve learned a few other important lessons that relate more practically to life and friendships. They’re all really obvious things – that should be some indication of how much of an idiot I was three years ago.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE FRIENDS WITH EVERYONE but you do have to be nice to everyone. When you leave high school there are all these promises that you’ll ‘keep in touch’ and ‘we totally have to go out for dinner every month’. Nope. No you won’t. I was never under the illusion that we would but I don’t think I accurately estimated how difficult the balance was. Guess what – all those people that you tolerated in high school but really just didn’t get along with because of personality clashes (aka me with everyone)? You don’t have to keep hanging out with them if you don’t want to but you still have to be kind of nice to them because that’s just a nice thing to do, duh. In high school there was this mentality that if you didn’t like someone, you just wouldn’t hang out with them – the lack of socialising was the indication that you weren’t on good terms. Now, if you think that about everyone then you’re going to be very lonely. Everyone has their different lives and new friends now so it is pretty unrealistic to think that you’ll hang out all the time – it doesn’t mean that you can’t still be friends. That leads me to my second lesson …
FRIENDSHIPS AREN’T TOTALLY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY but you do have to make an effort. There is nothing worse than an unbalanced relationship and that includes friendships. It sucks when you make all the effort and you seem to get nothing in return. Being the one who puts in no effort might seem fun for a while but eventually the friendship peters out and then you just feel guilty and alone, so that sucks as well. You don’t always have to be the one organising coffee dates and making care packages but you also can’t just sit there and wait for someone else to do everything for you – nothing will ever get done if you do that. You need to find the right balance. Also, everyone shows their affections in different ways so you should probably think twice if you call the other person controlling because they always call you first or before you call them lazy because you’re always organising the outings. Make sure you’re not missing their displays of friendship just because they’re different from yours.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL EVERYONE ALL YOUR LITTLE SECRETS but you do have to open up. In all the movies and all the teenage magazines, they tell you that if you’re really good friends with someone then you should know every detail about them. That made me feel a bit sick. Not because I had anything to hide, but because I’m not very good at sharing my emotions or dealing with other people’s emotions – I just wanted to steer clear from emotion territory. Good news is that you don’t have to do that. No one needs to know your every thought but they do need to know something. I hit this point during my time at uni where I realised that none of my friends actually knew anything about me. They knew the basics of course but they didn’t know how I felt about certain topics, they didn’t know what I really wanted to do as a career and they definitely never knew my emotions at any current time. I had become very comfortable being a little clam but it turns out being a clam is kind of lonely.
NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO HAPPEN BEFORE YOU’RE 21 but you do have to have some kind of ambition. There’s this youth mentality that the best years of your life are all before you’re 21. I’m not actually 21 yet so maybe that’s true, I have no way of knowing that but I had always found that sentiment kind of depressing – am I really supposed to fit in all the cool things before next April? I wasn’t too worried about having a ‘bucket list’ for my teenage years or anything like that but then I found myself at all my friends’ 21st birthdays and as I listened to the speeches that their friends made, I was struck by all the cool things that they had done – great and small – and I got all anxious that I hadn’t done anything like that. I realised that while I was busy plodding through life at my own speed, I had actually forgotten to make any goals at all. That’s not to say you can’t go at your own pace, but life is so much better if you have goals and the best part is that the expiration date is your death, not some lame milestone birthday that you won’t even remember in 30 years.
I also learned the importance of asking other people what they think, instead of just yapping on about my opinion. I’m still learning that one, but what have you learned in the last three years about yourself or about life? Leave a comment because I’d love to chat with you about it!