Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Yesterday, I was a different person

University will provide us with a degree, the chance to experience new things and to discover ourselves, and so consequently forming the building blocks that will shape our lives. However, what I want to know is did we think that this would ever happen; the time when we would decide what we ‘want to be when we grow up’ and how we can achieve this?

Sat in my second year induction speech, the careers guide comes in to tell us that now, these next few months are some of the most important. A question resonates through the air ‘but what if I do not know what I want to do?” Everyone is still finding their feet, after the laid-back attitude we had in first year living on campus. Remember those times when we could wake up ten minutes before a lecture and turn the heating on at the first sign of frost, leaving Granny’s woollen jumper neatly folded at the back of the wardrobe. But now its an entirely new scene; dealing with landlords and electricity companies, searching for a part time job and, if this is not enough to fear, we still have to complete our degree!

We find ourselves walking around the Sports and Societies Fayres on Welcome Week, feeling overwhelmed by the thought of lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee, learning another language or even exploring the gnarled bark of Middle Earth with the Tolkien Society. Anxiety hits when we are out of the dark trancelike state of the SU, in the bright sun, ferociously filling out work applications and arranging interviews. Is it possible to have both worlds?

However, on reflection are they not both the same? Experience and innovation is how we find out who we are and what we really want to be; a bit like trial and error; Lewis Carroll once said: “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then”. This correlates somewhat accurately to the life of a student. Not to sound cliché but taking each day as it comes; perhaps we are unconsciously making the decisions and learning the life skills that the careers guide insists that we need to make. Therefore, although we may feel pressure to pick a career path and begin making the necessary allowances for that now, we could be missing a step. Not taking the opportunities we have today, those so easily within our grasp, we may fail to catch our true endpoint.

The objective of University is to build and shape the rest of our lives, and this would have failed if we were left unfulfilled and longing to develop our skills and knowledge. So would it not be best to combine the opportunities we have now with the prospect of the future, letting them develop naturally? Taking the chances presented to us now whilst preparing for life beyond University can work together, no one is directly telling us that we need to commit, so if we use this preparation in conjunction with the opportunities we feel we should be having surely we will ultimately end up as self-determining individuals with greater awareness of who we are.