Saturday, July 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Learning to Live

The brutality of life is something which can hit you like a tonne of bricks when you’re least expecting it. Walking down the street showcasing a big grin after your boyfriend sent you a cute text which reminds you of how blessed you are can be shortly lived, independent of geography.

Whether you are greeted by the Red Cross appeal on the side of a bus or you are confronted by the beggar at your feet or even are greeted by your own aches and pains.
When asked, I call myself a Christian but regardless of my distaste at clichés, I feel this is inappropriate in this day and age. I have spent time volunteering for homeless shelters, donated money to strangers in need and given to the food bank in Egham Tesco but I continue to live a life of abundance whilst a girl my age struggles to live at all. How as a Christian, defined in OD as a person ‘of Christ’, ‘a decent and kindly person’, can I say I am kind when in reality I moan whilst writing an essay when another individual would consider it a privilege to own the pen I am writing with. An essay whom another might dream to comprehend. An essay whom one might pine for the time to moan about, let alone contemplate writing.
I am not writing this to preach, as I believe it is futile to teach what you yourself cannot know. I am writing to remind us all that we are all lucky, despite our fights to get here (and our ongoing battles to stay here), we have all gotten to University. We have the freedom to work hard, earn our wealth and have no worries which transcend the mundane. Yet along with this freedom, we are making the mistake of believing our lives are ours for the taking.

The slowest death is one who dies of old age, instead of studying to prevent this certainty, why can’t we focus on making the most of this phenomenon. I know that if Egham Tesco said that they were going to stop selling Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the last thing we would do is wait until they were dwindling in supplies to stuff our faces. Everyone would buy as many as they could carry at the first hint of an announcement. Why can’t we apply this to life? Why waste time studying for something which will inevitably become stale, why aren’t we making a difference before it’s too late?
Such hypocrisy, I sit here typing this, procrastinating from revising for my Maths degree. But let this be a little reassurance, I believe we all have the ability within us to change another being’s life. Whether you can offer a needed friendship, your grandma a shopping trip or a summer volunteering in India. I urge you to eat the doughnuts whilst they’re still there. The only person who is affected in the end is yourself, but if you buy all the doughnuts then you have a choice: to give a doughnut to those who are in need after a crappy day or cripple yourself with obesity. Work that one out… happy doughnut analogies, my friends.