One thing that gradually occurred to me during my uni years was that, being lost was a mandatory state in every semester.
Sometimes I wouldn’t even notice that I was feeling lost. There was no specific time or place when it happened, it just did. A reasonable explanation for this, is perhaps, the weariness that was caused by the exhaustion due to the assignments (no surprise) and keeping up with the lectures/tutorials. They seemed to be consuming my energy so much that all that was left was the need to rest, eat, nap and sleep.
That could be it, but I knew
I shouldn’t blame uni all the time it was more than that. It was a cycle I’d become accustomed to and it was quite a destructing one.
Some people would say the condition is similar to having a writer’s block and I don’t disagree totally. It did feel like having a mental block and a few times, I’d just stop doing what I was doing since it wasn’t doing anything except building more doubts and negative thoughts. Thirty minutes later, I found myself continuing doing what I was doing before that i.e. facing the laptop and getting on with whatever assignment I had at that time.
Strange, how the mind and body work.
Despite the complaints that I had and still have with the uni life, the schedule or the assignments, I do feel appreciative towards those times where I was feeling lost and uncertain. I’d say I started questioning things when I was in high school but the sixth-form was when I dug deeper about things and then uni officially made me a ‘deep’ person, however unflattering it sounds (since I’m the one saying it, it’s a different story if somebody else says it.
And uh, you know what, never mind).
The doubts might have tortured me, because no one really likes not knowing what to do or being uncertain about the existence of life, but they helped to steer some things to a better light and made them clearer. That is, if you treat doubts as challenges or ways to understand meanings beyond words and actions in order to make sense of your life. At least, that’s how I’ve come to see and accept.
I think it was during my first year that the doubt was becoming more intense. I’d find myself in this kind of situation (extracts from one of my journals):
I don’t really listen to what the lecturer is saying and most of the time just think about other stuff and also ‘what am I doing here for?’
Feeling unsure of what is it that we’re supposed to do, asking yourself the same question, walking on the same path all over again, pacing here and there, back and forth – constant doubt.
So, constant doubt – why is it happening? How did it happen?
I suppose this happens to everyone, at some point.
And it is happening to me now.
So you can see, the big questions that had appeared during my sixth form days were entering my life again and this time, with more emphasis on the choices that I would consciously make for myself. (Hey, guess what? It wasn’t uni, it was life! Okay, glad that’s settled now)
The things that I love, the things that I hope to be, the things that I don’t need, the things that undermine and motivate me – the growing independence eventually raises these issues that I’d have to confront at some point in my life.
And it’s really hard.
The fact that I haven’t gone into specific details about those experiences probably shows this.
I can tell you for certain though, that humanities/liberal arts are the core of my interests if you’re talking about academic interests. They’re the ideal subjects that I hope would and should receive more attention especially in my country.
Sociology, Literature, Philosophy and History – taking classes for these modules is one of the best things that happened to me. Modern education does have its demerits, which I would love to talk about next time, but I think what attracts me the most from them is the knowledge that has been seeded in each of them.
Sure, some scholars or professors might have written works for other reasons than spreading ideas/theories and elevating people’s minds into understanding the society and societal issues. But the energy, the effort and the sincerity – some things you can just feel and I was entranced by this phenomenon. I suppose I was having some kind of realisation, that I want to do what those individuals that I’ve learned, studied from and about, did. To me, it would be fulfilling to do something that benefits others and myself.
The passion for learning is basically the reason why I opt to study in a university. Even if I’m not a student anymore now, I don’t think I could stop doing research and reading from trivial to crucial topics.
To tell you the truth, I’m still clueless, afraid and anxious about life: what’s going to happen and what’s going to change. What have I actually changed from 4/5 years ago then? Maybe, I’m just more relaxed and not so caught up in things and one would argue that this could be a symptom of becoming mature, I don’t know.
I’m not sure if I’m going to do a part 3, maybe. It’s so hard to write stuff about yourself and honestly, I think I’ve been all over the place. Hope there’s something good somewhere here, though.
I’ll share a quote that I find comforting in going through stuff in life which may be a bit harsh (or even unrelated to the stuff that I’ve been talking about) to some:
“These are problems [murders, terrorist acts in the name of religion and secularism etc], they’re not going to go away. Welcome to the world, welcome to planet earth” – Hamza Yusuf
I mean, who wouldn’t feel comforted knowing that there are issues/problems all around the world, solvable and unsolvable. At least I know I’m not crazy and at least I have some things I’ve grown fond in life despite the struggle to keep up with the society’s standards.
On a more optimistic note:
“To find yourself, think for yourself” – Socrates