Life: on university

24.2.19


Thoughts from a two year 'gap year'





(between sixth form and uni) 

"Now sweetheart. I don't mind if you don't go to University; but if you do go, I want to make it very clear that you should have a year out before you go. A gap year."
I'm sat writing this on the train home from London; listening into a wide eyed sixteen year old and her mother discuss University. It's the first time I've heard a parent actively encourage (if not pressure) their child into a gap year; "but what if I don't want to?"  I want to interject, to tell her it's the best thing to do; but I don't.

Ironically I'm travelling home from a University interview; my head a mess of decisions and what ifs. I've just been offered a place at my dream University; but I've already decided I'm not going to take it.
Life has been full of great decisions and choices as of recent; and the control freak in me is not thriving. I'm a terrible decision maker, and since reading The Alchemist I fear I've become somewhat of a 'philosophical ditherer.' Every decision I make now seems to reflect a wider plan the world holds for me. So, for once in my life to be so sure about something puts my mind at ease.

My phone is a buzz of messages asking how it went, congratulating me. In addition to my terrible decision making, another flaw of mine is foolishly caring too much what people around me think. But in the words of Courtney Barnett; "Nobody Really Cares if You Don't Go To The Party."




"Thanks," I reply. I won't be going to that University; on my own accord. But it's ok, and I know it.

University is a funny thing. It's a lot of money; and realistically you only get one shot (unless you have megabucks, in which case I say get as many degrees as money can buy) putting an enormous amount of pressure on any decision related to the subject. There's a lot of snobbery associated with University too. I understand it of course, and I am absolutely guilty of judging degrees and judging universities: as I'm sure others are too. But a degree is a degree and it's a feat and an achievement, period.

I was with friends the other night talking about life and choices. How different life could be had you not got on that train, drunk that coffee, had you not lived in those halls. It's exciting to think that we're all still yet to meet people who will play a huge role in our futures to come; and it's those moments and encounters that we can't control that make us unapologetically human. I think we all have a desire to be in control, and my choice to not attend my 'dream uni'; to go somewhere else is a reflection of that. My tiny decision is the only control I hold in what will become a whole chapter of my life. Everything is already in the works, so why should we worry about what's to come?

"The greatest threat to our happiness is often our misplaced determination to control our destiny. We need to learn to be shape shifters, embracing ups and downs, fulfillment and frustration and people who move in and out of our lives... A hamster on a wheel endlessly treading the same space is the definition of hell, but we should be equally fearful about trying to control the pace of change and where and when it occurs. It's ironic that the defining feature of all our lives- the inevitability of nothing staying as it is- is what we battle hardest against." 

I saw this brilliant quote the other day from this advice column, and felt it summarises my current feelings of the future and of 'fate' soo perfectly.

Hope you are all well as always,

Lexie

9 comments

  1. I'm so glad the interview went well (and that you were able to navigate around London ;)) The whole thing about how even the smallest of decisions actually have such a huge impact is crazy to me because every day I realise that if I had not done something or chosen to go out at a certain time then certain things would've never happened. I'm actually feeling that today, I met up with a friend I made by agreeing to help her with her dissertation survey, we had coffee today and then just as we hugged and parted ways, I crossed paths with a few people from MENA society who insisted I went to the pub by the river with them. This is such a long and rambly comment but your decisions are so powerful and can result in such amazing experiences and time well spent- 'fate' really is there. I've already said this to you but you will end up exactly where you are meant to be- I have every ounce of faith in that, my own experience is testament to that. BEST OF LUCK and LOTS OF LOVE

    Dalal
    dalaltahira.com

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    1. Ahaha all thanks to you Dalal;) It is soo crazyy!! I love that story and loved your instagram stories of the day. It is so mad to think, if you hadn't agreed to help your friend you wouldn't have had any of those experiences. And that's just one day proving it all. I believe so much in fate and it's role in our everyday. Thank you Dalal for your rambly comment and all your support! xox

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  2. I adore this Lexie, and am digging that mum advising a gap year. That shit is good. Its hands down the best decision I took and I still see the advantages nd ways its helped me. Decisions like that are the bravest and hardest, when you have an 'amazing' opportunity but it doesnt feel right. I'm sure me telling you won't ease the stress, but do what you gotta do. I think maybe life has a weird way of working out, or maybe we just make our lives out of the situations we are given? Uni is odd and expensive and I do question how much its worth the money (academically) but its also amazing and enriching, but I think so much of life is. Man, making decisions is hard. Choosing what to cook for tea is hard enough. You've got this xo

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    1. Oh I was loving that mums advice, she was such a cool mum. Gap years are life </3. Your words are always so good to hear and reassuring Katie and I hope Oxford is treating you well so far. I like to think the good of uni will outweigh all the crappy parts, which are inevitable. Decisions are the worst, especially when you end up putting so much pressure on them! Lots of love xo

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  3. Remarkable! Its really awesome article, I have got much clear idea regarding from this article.

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  4. Oh Lexie I love this. I think the idea that we do have some control over our lives is so good and, as I’ve been reading the comments as well, Dalal’s point that we’re going to end up where we are meant to be is so true. It’s incredibly strong to decide that you want to decline your dream uni but, if you know it’s the right decision then it will be. I’ve ummed and ahhed about taking a gap year but I know that for myself, the decision to go straight to university will be the best one (especially if I make the most of this summer I think). After the whole Oxford thing it really put into perspective what education means to me and I’ve come out of it with a much healthier mindset, these are all life experiences that help us on our way to greater things and meeting great people. Xxx

    Eleanorclaudie.com

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  5. Hello there! This post could not be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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  6. Your style is unique compared to other people
    I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity,
    Guess I will just book mark this site.

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  7. zanik erekcji w trakcie stosunku

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thank you x

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