Neckin’ it at Uni

‘AND if the door is shut on me, I’ll live some more and change my key. To alter just a bit, to fit a larger kind of door and grow some more’.

Some part of me died on Wednesday. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it died an ugly bitter death in a hysterical night of tears, wine and Vodka.

And the cause of such emotional instability? Losing a university society election.

Pathetic? Well I’m not the first, nor the last. My housemates ran for UMS president and social secretary a few weeks ago. Kind and fiercely capable they are, but neither got it.

A degree is no longer enough. The graduate who lands their chosen career does so with a high grade, heavy involvement in multiple societies, volunteering, travel, work experience, social skills, arse-licking and lets be honest; pure damn luck.

On the plus side, I cared; I loved; I hoped. (Past tense. That’s revealing. Perhaps that’s what died?) It feels like weakness and failure now, but surely it was better to have loved that much, than to go through university life bouncing from lecture to pub and never getting passionate about anything.

The world’s most monumental hangover and a scathing email from my father entitled ‘suggest you read this more than once’ later, it’s becoming clear that really the only thing to be obliterated here is my pride.

This semester I have worked five jobs, learnt Japanese and Arabic, joined a church and a choir, produced and presented a radio show, run a TV station, written for Redbrick, done a degree and had a social life. (And the BBC still won’t give me work experience.) I’ve also had three nervous breakdowns.

Was student life really meant to be like this? Two years ago I was sitting on a blue bench under an old tree reading dusty yellow books in India. Is the quality of life really better here in the western world? We’re so busy killing ourselves to make sure we’re not just the 9-5 office girl, that we run the risk of being ‘that girl who killed herself’.

I hadn’t considered ‘life without station manager’. But in that one post-tiebreak vote that decided my fate for 2009, it appears there’s a world of endless opportunities. No longer bound by duty, I can create what I joined the society to create. It’s still a cloud at the moment, but whether the lining is silver, stardust or lead, its still a lining. There’s always another option. Another version of the story.

The bottom fell out of my world, and I fell with it. But in falling, I discovered a cosmos.

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