At the start of 2013 I was stuck in a bit of a rut; I felt as though I had very little sense of purpose or direction. It had been about 6 months since cutting ties with University and I was asking the universe with an anticlimactic sigh, ‘what now?’ I guess I had this idea that going to University was a sure fire route to greatness and that somehow those three years would culminate in a dream career. It’s not until you start cruising through your twenties that you realise that life doesn’t work that way.
University teaches you many things, but what you choose to study does not define who you are as an individual and certainly does not chain you to one path in life. Of course it’s a beautiful thing if you’re a switched on teenager and pick a course that benefits you in a long and fulfilling career afterwards, but for many of us, things don’t work out that way. The person you are when you walk away with your degree is very different to the person you were when you skipped in fresh-faced with eyes wide and dreamy. And again, the person you are after a couple years of employment – or whatever else – post-university is vastly different again.
We are always growing and learning and finding new interests and paths we would like to pursue. And we are only inspired by these things as we gain experience in them. We must stop guilt-tripping ourselves for taking a path that is seemingly ‘completely unrelated’ to whatever degree we have. Whilst the subject material may not be the same, everything you do is related to that degree because you wouldn’t be the person you are now had you not studied it. So even if you feel frustrated that you are thousands of pounds in debt for studying something that it turns out a few years later isn’t your true calling, that’s OK. Unfortunately it is one of those things that you simply don’t learn until you’ve been through it. And this is why I am so against students having to pay for their education; you shouldn’t have that burden to carry around with you for years afterwards. You should feel free and weightless to pursue new things, should you want to.
So when I was plodding along in that period of my life, feeling defeated and confused, I decided to take a pledge to do something new every day. It started out small, like cooking a new recipe or visiting somewhere that I’d not been before, but slowly built into bigger and bolder challenges like quitting my job and flying out to the United States. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, it’s that your thoughts completely determine what is next for you in life. If you play victim to your current situation because you despise it, you will inevitably get more of the same, because what you focus on grows. If you put every waking thought into the place you want to be, however, you will move through the bad and into the good.
This process became a kind of addiction; never in a dangerous way of course, but rather an exhilarating one. I saw how much fun I was having experiencing all these new things and knew that it fuelled me. I thrive off of new sensory experiences of all kinds and love the process of learning about something new. Somewhere along the way in the past couple years I forgot about how much joy this challenge brought me, so I’ve decided to start Round 2. Today marks the 30 day countdown to my 25th birthday and so what better time to start? It’s healthy to scare yourself a little and edge out of that comfort zone that we too easily settle ourselves into. I dare you to join me; you might be surprised at the outcome.