As pressure from the responsibilities around you begin to take its toll, you come to see that life essentially takes the form of a relentless marathon. An engineered atmosphere of competition that drains you. You run and run. And just when you think you’ve reached the checkered line, you’re told you have another round to go. And again and again. You may be leading the race for a lap or two, then lose pace and waver in the middle (okay fine, at least you’re not last), but then before you know it you’ve retired to the rear end of the group. Now, you’re making your way alone and watching as those ahead disappear around the sharp corners, and you can’t help but wonder in a state of confusion, “what the **** happened?”.
University life can be seen as parallel to this experience.
A lot of intimidation stems from this substantial meaning society has subscribed to statistics as if it can provide some profound insight into recipients. Such is that for the age of 18 in which one is expected to miraculously metamorphosise from a dependent uninhibited teenager to a responsible mature adult (ironically and despite the ‘teen’ remaining in the pronunciation of the figure). 18 then opens many doors while simultaneously slamming and bolting others which have been lock-free until then. And for many, this can be a terrifying, jarring and perplexing transition.
And there’s the uncomfortable truth that the world is governed by outcomes. Effort is taken for granted. Results are taken too literally. The process of how the gem came to be formed is not what matters but only that the gem exists. So, when those deadlines bolt down on you before you even hear the word ‘go’, it can be seen as a race against time to produce that gem of a product. But sometimes a race you thought you had prepared for becomes a track for disaster. And one wonders what it all means and if all that effort was worth it.
As a society, we need to acknowledge this intolerant atmosphere we have shaped for our future generation. We need to appreciate and show this appreciation for effort instead of solely results. How we do this is one subject that needs to be discussed. Because an individual should know that the ripples of the effort they exercise reverberates something in them and thereby shifts the cause of all that around them on an irreversible and intermolecular level. This effect prepares one for a result that radiates in light than disintegrates in darkness. So, we need to remember that when the going gets tough there is something meaningful in our every movement and every act, even if this is not exactly visible to the naked eye.
I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that although the first few months of university and simultaneously transforming into an adult (at least in society’s eyes) have hit me with an overwhelming sheer force of confusion, I have come to realise that it is one that is an important process which is gradually shaping my existence and development. University has encouraged me to set out and meet people coming from all corners of the world (in doing so helping me tackle my social awkwardness) and has imparted a humbling set of original perspectives on life. In some ways, this new role descended upon me induces a daunting and apprehensive gulp of unease of what other surprises are waiting down the road, in other ways it ignites a thrilling nervous-excitement of the very prospect of sketching a future that has been self-determined. What is certain is that whatever lies ahead, this marathon is what you make it and it is far from over.
So keep running.