How the University (hasn’t) prepared me for life
On this journey called life, we often try to predict and thus disrupt that natural spontaneity that later provides the best lessons in life. When we are children, everything that is unpredictable and new is perceived as exciting and fun. As we grow older and mature we become more careful and less ready to invest into the unknown and strange, making the stakes higher just like the ages add a new number each year.
For me, the University was something unknown that I was afraid of, the entire new world I stepped into after finishing my high school. For several months I was trying to persuade my parents that I should start living on my own since I felt completely capable of something like that. Finally I made that first step towards the adulthood. It was the first and the easiest step, because everything that came later required more than simply taking steps.
Apart from 48 exams I had to take, the University also brought many positive changes, encouraging ones, but as it usually happens in life every change, good or bad, requires a period we need to adapt. Mom`s cooking, that used to be a part of my everyday life gradually became something I was regularly fantasizing about, especially at the time when I was preparing for my exams.
However, since fantasizing won`t keep you alive (or feed you when you are hungry), I decided to take things in my own hands, or to use the students` language, to take the kitchen utensils in my own hands, and give my digestive system something more than canned beans and instant soup.
Even though I expected that I would burn the kitchen down while trying to prepare my first decent meal, it was incredible for me to realize that, surprise, surprise, I can cook. Basically, all of us can do whatever we set our mind on, but I have to admit that it really feels nice when someone else can do it for us.
If you are wondering why this is so (which is completely normal), I think the answer is: because we are human beings and not even the evolution could solve the problem of laziness. Not to mention how nice it feels to be in your safe, comfort zone that we rarely want to leave. However, growing old or mature starts when we stop refusing all those things we are afraid of, and there is no better way to build up our confidence than that.
I don’t know about you, but when I was a child I used to be afraid of a monster that I imagined in my head, and that monster used to create its habitat right under my bed. I was so afraid, that I used to go to my parents` room and sneak into their bed and stay there till morning. Of course, such fears are completely normal when we are kids, but at one point that kid turned 13 and was still afraid of the dark.
That kid was me.
And how I managed to overpower my monster and finally start enjoying the delights of my own room? One night I decided to look under my bed, and there I found one big nothing, (except some dust I was supposed to clean the previous day), but that`s another story and another genre. The point is that our fears are often irrational and they won`t let us live the lives we deserve.
To sum it up, the University managed to prepare me to a “single life”, to encourage the development of my inner “Jamie Oliver” and most importantly, it taught me how to be brave. But, what the University failed to prepare me for?
It failed to prepare me for my life after the University, that it`s a new transition I had to adapt to. It failed to prepare me for the fact that every time I visited my parents` house I would notice a new wrinkle on their faces and that my room`s empty.
It failed to prepare me for the feeling that it`s not easy to grow up and make your own choices. And finally, it failed to prepare me for how much I was going to miss the college life once it was over. And to be completely honest, hardly anyone can prepare you for that. You are the only one who can do that. Life is a constant change, and it should be exciting and unknown, because only in such circumstances we can truly grow and mature.
Alden Nowlan wrote: “The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.”
Making decisions and having the possibility to choose are the major characteristics of growing up, and they can bring a lot of joy to our lives, but also many responsibilities. Sometimes that responsibility is a burden, but as the time passes, the burden becomes lighter, and we become more confident. And there is no better way to have an authentic life, than to be free to create that life on our own.
Over and over again.