My final year as a degree student starts next week. I’m excited, but the realisation that everything that starts have to end, means my time as a university student will come to a close next year, and I don’t want it to.
Yesterday, I went back to campus to have a couple of meetings with a few people. I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed my university life until I’ve arrived the compound and met with my friends and lecturers. I actually felt like I belonged, and I don’t typically feel that in a lot of societal settings, which leads me to think that I’d have to search for another place I could be as comfortable with after my inevitable departure.
It’s not always rainbows and roses. I’ve had my fair share of disagreements with friends, stressful events, dissatisfaction with working with certain people, but I’ve also had the thrill of sleepovers, getting high on board games and having the rare certainty that I’m surrounded by a handful of people who actually, genuinely value my presence. I never actually pictured myself to be lucky enough to be friends with the people I did and experienced the growing experiences I did, especially not after feeling genuine loneliness in my first year. I wish my degree was stretched longer, to four or five years, maybe then I’d have enough and be ready to move on.
For my summer break, I spent two months interning for a magazine publishing company, which exposed me to copywriting and some PR work. I realise, throughout my time there, that the things I enjoyed the most were the perks, like being invited to the Good Vibes Festival and fancy private parties which included being served some of the fanciest foods I’ve had in a while, and would never be able to afford any time soon. But inside, I yearn for an escape. I used to think since I’m good at writing, I’d be content as long as I’m able to write for a living. Copywriting is different. It feels so much like work. Because it is. I had to tap into that portion of my brain that hadn’t been accessed to since high school. It’s like writing summary for literature classes again, which I didn’t have to do as a Literature and Creative Writing student right now, ironically. It takes skill to pick out the relevant information and to restructure words and make them sound inviting and commercially accessible. It’s hard to make something sound so simple, and it made me have a newfound respect for copywriters.
I may be naive to think that I could have a job that I’d be stoked to do every single day. That only happens to a small population of people in the world, and I may be naive to think that I’d be one of them. I suppose by the second month of my internship, I’ve started getting the hang of writing in ‘copywriting language’ and didn’t feel as stressed out anymore. Plus, the best part of the job was getting to see my name in print, knowing I deserved it. But the dread of 9-5 (mine was 8-4.30, but still) and coping with the lifestyle of being stressed five days a week, only relieved two days, I don’t know how I’m supposed to live with that if I’m not doing something I’d feel satisfied with. When work occupies so much of my time, basically translating into my life, and having it buzzing in my head even after working hours when it’s not even something I’m passionate about, I feel like I’m wasting my life away meeting the demands of other people, realising their ideas and their opinions because my own thoughts and ambitions are on a different wavelength. I write to express, not to impress. And writing to sell products isn’t really what I’d want to do with my life.
That’s why I’m dreading graduation. I’m dreading adulthood. I cannot stand this institutional cycle and I don’t know a job with a stable income that celebrates self-expression in words other than publishing my own materials. That’s a path I’ve thought about, but don’t know how to reach.
I’m still figuring myself out, and my thoughts may change through time, but as of now, at 22 years of age I still don’t quite know how to adult yet.
Featured image by nottotrust.