I’m a second year student and it still sucks to be here.

ImageI’ve wanted to blog about this for some time, but never really had the balls because it goes against the normal decorum of loving student life. It wasn’t until I’d read the blog of someone I used to go to college with, that I felt I was allowed to write this.

University is said to be the best few years of your life. For many, it is – but I’m always the one caught feeling claustrophobic in a seminar room, chanting to myself ‘really?’ I think a large part of my problem is that I am not passionate. My course so far has served to teach me that having a love for reading is a completely detached love for that of literature. The latter, I just don’t have. I find it hard to combine two identities I’m assumed to own; that of a literature loving person and that of a student with particular career goals in mind.  My main goal right now is to get out of university with a 2:1, something that doesn’t look stable at this moment in time. My other goal is just to get a salaried job, any job, just a job in which I’ll earn enough money to own a property and go on a decent holiday every year. So with that in mind, I cannot ignore my inner devil advocate always asking ‘You don’t want to teach English. So where the hell is Milton going to get you?’

If it wasn’t for the people I’ve met and how much I love living away from my parents, not going to university would be a decision I sometimes wish I had made.  All of the other times, I only contradict myself. Yesterday, I started my work experience in archiving, and for the first time in far, far too long, I felt inspired. I felt engaged and vibrant and hopeful that one day I’ll be good at something, that I’ll be passionate enough to see something through. I’m excited about career prospects. Typically, there’s a catch to something so good. It’s those who complete a postgraduate and further qualifications in archiving that are tipped for the jobs.  You can’t get onto the postgraduate courses without relevant work experience either. So here I go again, potentially working towards another academic year. For the most part, I resent academia. I feel like I’ve put life on hold.  Right now, I don’t think I’ve got it in me to commit to more essays, more time reading and more time being a student.

A countless amount of people told me that I wouldn’t go to university after taking my gap year. When I look at where I am now, I’m really surprised in some instances that I did. I resent that I gave up money of a full time wage, to be in so much debt. I resent that the ground I stand on feels a little shakier. I like to know where I stand, even if it is in front of a coffee machine or in front of a rude customer – I like my job. I might have left to look for greener pastures, but it only took me a month to go straight back.

The truth is I’m tired.  I’m tired of literature and I’m tired of education. It is lethargy and on the most part, it is a choice of a bad attitude. Come Christmas, I’ll be halfway through my degree and the time is flying by. I feel like I’m running out of time to decide what to do when I’m finally a ‘grown up.’  I’m also envious, absolutely envious of those who have a fiery passion for what they’re studying and those who know exactly where they want to go.

Part of me wishes to go back and research courses, choose all over again. I wish I had knowledge about all the wonderful courses that everyone else seems to be doing. Part of me just wants to fast forward to working full time, the struggles of a normal working life and living. The littlest part of me is grateful to be at university, yet one day I know I’ll discover that I’ve taken it for granted.  Mostly, I want to sleep through my seminars, rediscover some excitement and rekindle my love for reading the world of fiction, because it disappeared a long time ago and I can’t help but feel that a big part of me disappeared with it.

Check out Tara’s blog, she’s a third year student and also wants someone to get her out of there. http://taralamb.wordpress.com/

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4 thoughts on “I’m a second year student and it still sucks to be here.

  1. Thanks for this blog and for giving me a humble chance to comment as someone who was in your shoes long ago.
    My first reaction was, “Maybe this guy (girl?) will be a cartoonist.”
    Passion grows; give it time. Milton etc. lay a basis for making your fiction reading (and writing someday, perhaps?) an even higher enjoyment. It’s in the myth and metaphor. (My favorite prof, Northrop Frye, once told a class of his students, “Read Blake or go to hell.” — and he meant it, literally!)
    As for particular career goals, teaching English is one of the few salaried positions where you can have a decent holiday every year. However, I felt the same way about it as you do and I ended up doing PR work for the YMCA and editing a community newspaper. (My daughter teaches English and owns a house, with her husband.)
    But never mind that now. My advice is to shut out extraneous thoughts about money and about how confident you think other students are. (It’s not true; everyone puts up a front.)
    Talk to a friendly, accessible prof or grad student about your misgivings about literature and education.Take good notes. Try to get some sleep. What I know now is that the best way to write an essay is to study your sources and read your notes, then go to bed. When you wake up your mind will have it all organized and you’ll get it down fast.
    Actually, I did drop out mid term in my third year (against all wise advice). I got a job as a steno and learned shorthand on the job. I bought a few clothes and things like sheets, etc. for my parents’ house in lieu of rent. I “read ahead” so felt in control and ahead of things when I returned in the fall. Things still weren’t rosy with my inner self but I fell in love and got through.
    Good luck. I’m confident you’ll make good decisions.

    P.S. That shorthand I learned paid great dividends. Recently I was introduced at a Frye centennial conference on Educating the Imagination because my notes have been published online. I finally made it into the world of academia (which, like you, I was always estranged from) as a steno!

  2. I felt exactly the same during my College years. I was lost. Felt zero desire in attaining any of the opportunities there. I saw myself indoctrinating myself into misery for the rest of my life with a forced career path. Nothing stimulated me. In addition, I couldn’t afford the commute and health problems piled on.

    I eventually stopped going; a decision I have mixed feelings about due to the rather large debt I owe for my loans. But, time will tell if I made the right decision. As of now, I’m working and maintaining my family. Maybe it was all for the best.

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