// what next?

question-markAt the current moment in time, i have written fourteen out of seventeen of the final essays that will bring my degree to its conclusion. A few weeks ago, i had all my sheets of notes plastered up across my walls; now i have just seven, in preparation for my final paper on Tuesday, having (hopefully) written what i knew about each period down when i sat in that exam hall every morning for the past week. It’s a strange visual emblem, and a strange realisation of the fact that what you’ve dedicated the last three years of your life to is over; yes, you’ve gained from it, and there’s knowledge and skills that come out of that which you’ll use elsewhere, but in two days time you’re going to have to find something else to think about, invest in, worry about and enjoy…

You know that feeling when you’re aware that things are going on in the real world, but they all seem to be taking place either a very long way away or through a blanket of cotton wool? That’s where I am at the moment, and it’s a strange place to be. A massive amount has happened outside of the bubble in the past fortnight; everyone now knows about the MPs’ expenses scandal; the BNP have put Jesus on their election posters, even as Nick Griffin has written about his belief in the separation of religion and politics; one friend is pregnant, and two more have had babies; Newcastle United have been relegated from the Premier League, by an own goal, no less; and Star Trek has, apparently, become cool. Instead, I’ve been writing essays, and so although all of this has been going on in the background, it sort of feels unreal, like it’s happening in a different world. That kind of sums up my life for the past few years, really.

The truth is that, as of Tuesday, i’m going to need to find a new passion, something else to think about, invest in, worry about and enjoy, and so the prospect of a few weeks without English isn’t quite so much exciting as it is worrying. What am i supposed to do with that time? This isn’t a new theme, and i don’t pretend to be the only one thinking about it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s confusing, and i can’t pretend to have any answers. And so i’m trying to start a conversation instead, and i’d love for you to be a part of it.

If you’re older, what filled the gap? What inspires you, excites you, gets you passionate? When did you work that out?

If you’re at the same point as me, poised between now and the rest of your life, what are you doing next? How do you know that you’re doing the right thing? When did you work it out?

And if you’re younger, whether that’s earlier in university or still at school, where are you headed? How do you know? And when did you work it out?

*

Work with me on this one – my brain is becoming incapable of doing much except basic recognition functions, like looking at a wall and thinking “wall”, so i need some help.

It’ll take you roughly a minute to reply to this, and it would be cool to hear your wisdom, even if it’s only a one line response.

What next?

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  1. Tom,

    This is kind of tangential to the main thrust of your post, but the fascist BNP actually didn’t put Jesus on their posters. The mainstream media just aren’t any good at doing their research.

    See here:
    http://nationofduncan.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/falling-for-it-everytime/

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