I still don’t have my laptop back, so my writing time of late is whenever I can borrow Viv’s laptop, or I’ve got a pen and paper to hand. Fortunately, journaling used to be my preferred writing format, so I’ve plenty notebooks handy. Typing everything up once felt too clinical, and it was as if I felt when I was typing that I ought to be producing a finished piece every time. A pen allowed for more immediacy and a somewhat more legible outlet for frustration than a key-smash. Writing online grew on me. You never have the trouble of translating messy handwriting, so there’s more immediacy when it comes to actually publishing something. Also, the fact that I feel what I’m typing ought to seem more ’polished’, despite it not being the case; I can use that mental quirk to my advantage to produce more professional writing.
A downside to that though is because it’s good I’m less likely to bother editing and improving it. My handwritten stuff I generally always edit – which is when the transcription process actually comes in handy, forcing me to analyse my writing. What gets my vote then? For now I’d probably say, pen-in-hand, that I prefer this method (the fact that I’m now typing this up makes this a little bit awkward and meta). I’m also a bit of a sucker for the aesthetic – I look like a writer, huddled in the corner table of a bar with my drink in one hand and a pen in the other (rather than a graphic designer or something).
Today I have to go to uni and dedicate a fair chunk of my day top writing for the sake of ‘learning’ (rather than for business and pleasure, both of which I feel my blogging comes under). I’m starting to feel like this whole university thing might not be for me after all. Looking back – what must by now be five years or so – to when I would tell myself and everyone around me “university just doesn’t seem like it’s for me” – well, I think I was right. It’s not that I haven’t learned a lot in my time studying (although of what I’ve ‘learned’ little of it actually came from the lecture halls) but this whole lifestyle and where it ‘promises’ to take me just doesn’t feel fulfilling any more. Having just returned from a year out to re-evaluate my life and circumstances, I’m hit by a funny sense that this isn’t what I was hyping it up to be. I was looking forward to being back at university, actually learning again, but have I led myself down the garden path?
I failed my third year (funny story, believe me) and rather than immediately resit it, I took a year out. I was sure that coming back to finish my degree was the right thing to do yet on reflection, did I ever actually think about it? Why did I think that finishing my degree was the ‘right thing to do’? Well, I was invested: I’d gotten to my penultimate year (despite failing it) and was already in a gross amount of debt, so turning back seemed counter-intuitive. As well, just having the degree was sure to do me some favour, right? I mean, it’ll open doors for me and lead me to living the type of life I want… right? If I look around and seriously take stock of my surroundings, the answer is actually a resolute probably not. I know so many people who have slogged their way through degrees just to be stonewalled at the end of it and end up back where they started (which normally means in retail). It comes down to savvy though, I would tell myself, it’s what you do over-and-above getting the degree that really gives you any headway in this world. Reflecting now, what was I even telling myself? It’s as if I’ve just absorbed some institutional rhetoric that I’m spinning back at myself.
The question going through my head right now while I ought to be studying (although all I’m doing is researching online business strategy) is do I stay, or do I go? Now, I’ve a habit of getting all ahead of myself, so let’s rein it in a little. I needn’t jump ship just because I’ve had the realisation that maybe this really all just isn’t for me, and isn’t the path to the life I want. Let’s be rational. We can be rational, right? Say I stay: I’m receiving a student loan, which means I need to work significantly less in any actual job. It is a platform for me to learn, should I utilise it well and stay focussed on my own goals on top of all the university stuff. If I can work my own side of things on the side-line, then staying in the game for now probably is my best bet. Otherwise, I’d have to work full-time to afford the basics of living, giving me sweet little time to attend to my actual goals.
Okay, level headed again. I’m not going to up and leave, slamming the door behind me. That means I actually do have to do the studying I came to the library to do though. Perhaps I just need to see this, all this study and revision and essays and exams, as part of the bigger picture. Having the degree, while it entitles me to nothing per se, might help; as well, as much as I hate that it’s shackling me, I have invested in this whole endeavour financially. So, what is it I want to actually do in the grand scheme of things? That’s what I have to work out. I know I want to work primarily online, or at least for the online aspects to heavily compliment and subsidise my work. I want to be able to travel and use my creative talents to live a life I want to live. I’m not up for being stuck in one place, working 9-5 until I’m allowed to retire, then ‘enjoying’ the freedom of my old age – like useless cattle put out to pasture.
I’m frustrated. I know what I’ve just said is probably the better part of wisdom, but I don’t want to have to work at this for another two years just to have what might well turn out to be a pointless string of letters after my name. What will I actually learn that I couldn’t teach myself? Psychology isn’t even really my forte any more, if I’m honest with myself. Actually, it never was; it was the best of a bad bunch of courses when I felt I ought to go to university. It’s not that the subject doesn’t interest me – it does – but the way it’s taught leaves plenty room for desire. I feel stifled, surrounded by less-than-inspired individuals, studying largely irrelevant topics, and doing so little to pursue any true passion. What is my true passion? I haven’t even discovered it yet, but I want to! I suppose I can’t really say I’m doing nothing, I mean, that’s what this blog is for… right?