I honestly still can’t believe it’s been 5 years. On one hand it feels like only a couple of years have passed, but on the other, there’s a lifetime of changes between myself now and the person who graduated university on this day 5 years ago.
Since I love looking back, making comparisons and being nostalgic, I couldn’t miss the chance and not write about this “significant” event. I even re-read some of the posts I wrote in 2018, to remember my thoughts and feelings better, to get into that mood. And my first observation is – I was making so many grammatical mistakes, my sentences were often incomprehensible, full of tautology, and now I couldn’t read them without cringing a little. But that’s a good sign, cause it only means that my writing skills have become better. I wonder if I’ll cringe from this post too in a few years. Most probably.
5 years ago, I was comparing the graduating me with the freshman me. It was easier to do so, cause it feels like those two were the same person, just a little younger and older. Now, I feel like I’m a whole different person, despite some same interests and hobbies. Well, not completely the same, but I can’t say that my likes/dislikes have changed too drastically. Nevertheless, now it feels like I’m a brand new person, whose life is nothing like the one before. Not in a good way or a bad way, it’s just a fact.
I was a scared kid back then, not ready to grow up, not knowing how to live in this world, how to fit in, or take care of herself. I didn’t even know anything about my future, because I simply couldn’t imagine what I’d like to do as a profession or where I should start. I had some vague and uncertain ideas that existed only in my dreams’ world. I still feel like a kid sometimes, but that’s okay, because apparently we, millennials, are the generation who refuses to grow up. But at least now I’m mature enough to be a kid, who knows how to take care of herself and is already finding her place in this complicated world.
5 years ago, I decided to take a gap year and not do anything for a while. Pretty much none of my acquaintances understood my decision and were trying to persuade me to find a job or get married asap. As though there was no other option. I’m so glad I was able to stand my ground and not give up on vision of how I’d like my life to be. The path I chose was hard and long, and even now, 5 years later I can’t say that I’ve reached the final destination. There’s still a long way to go, but at least now I know where I’m going, and I’m taking my steps, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but steady steps forwards. I was on that path all alone, making the decisions and facing its consequences on my own. And that’s probably one of the biggest things I’m the most proud of – knowing that no one influenced me, no one forced me to choose a career or life that I didn’t want. People surely tried, but my belief in my dreams and stubbornness were stronger. The funny thing is that when I was a lost graduate, who was just starting her adult life, people were desperate to tell how I should live and what I should do, they were always there to criticize and advise. But guess what, once I started to settle, be more responsible, find a job or continue my studying, none of those people were there to cheer me up or celebrate it. Not that I was expecting anything, just a funny little remark, which only means that people don’t really give a crap about you, or each other. They simply love to share their opinion on how things should be, but they don’t actually care whether you’ll succeed or not.
My biggest battle was the reluctance of becoming a part of a system with its mandatory rules again. I’ve been living in a similar system for 15 years, and I was sick of it. I couldn’t fit no matter how I tried in the beginning. Later I realized how cool it is to be a rebel against the society and finally started to appreciate my “white crow” essence. And there was no way I’d enter another system, where I had to either fight every single day, or simple give in and become like everyone else, with the same goals, same values and same way of thinking. But I didn’t want to become a solitary castaway as well, so that was the biggest issue: how to study or work without becoming another cog in a new mechanism? Is it possible to find a balance, find the best of both worlds? I guess the short answer’s yes, even though it’s a little more complicated than that.
The world has also changed. Life before 2020 and after are two different realities. Maybe that’s why it’s harder to do this comparison for me, and that’s probably why these 5 years (which isn’t really that big of a period) seem like a lifetime, because it feels like living in an alternate world, a world where the 2018 me simply couldn’t fit. All the crazy events that have been happening since the coronavirus have changed us all, it was like crossing the Rubicon, there’s no way back to how things were before. And even though I get really nostalgic about those older times, I’m also really curious about what else can happen in this world and how it will affect the humanity and me as well.
One of the questions I like to ask myself – would I change anything if I could go back in time, knowing what the future holds? Probably not. Because despite all the difficulties and problems I like the results of those seeds. I’d however love to give me some advice – to be more confident, to care less about others, to be more honest, and first of all with my own self. And to never compare myself with others, because the path I’ve chosen is different from everyone else, so there’s simply no point of comparing.
Another question I ask myself – do I regret going to university? I always used to say that uni was a nightmare, and that it sucked, and that I didn’t learn anything. I still partly believe in that, but those statements are highly exaggerated. I learned a lot in those 4 years. Maybe not too much about linguistics and translation (especially interpretation), but a lot about life, relationships and myself. It was a very important phase in my life, where I got to grow up, start developing as a person and understanding what’s right and wrong for me. I slowly started to learn to be on my own, solve my own problems and face my fears of rejection, of being left out. Now I wouldn’t have made the many mistakes I made throughout those four years, but if I didn’t make them back then, I simply wouldn’t learn them, so it definitely wasn’t in vain. Now I look back at those years with a smile and a bit of nostalgia. I remember the good days, the fun times, rather than the difficult ones, and that’s a big progress.
I guess that’s everything I wanted to recap. There’s a lot more in my mind, but everything so tangled that I can’t put my thoughts into proper words. The most important thing is that I’m proud of the person I’ve become (not in a narcissistic way though). There were lots of hardships, bad moods and losses, but twice as much happy and cool moments. Well, just like everything in life – a good balance of both sides. If I could go back to this day in 2018, I’d tell myself to keep dreaming, because dreams have a tendency of becoming true, and that is the most amazing feeling ever. And I’d compliment myself for the courage, the stubbornness and unwillingness to do what others tell me. And that’s probably it.
I really like this write! All too often people don’t see or understand just what going onto university really means. It just isn’t the courses or the degree, but the personal growth which transpires in oneself, which many never recognize. Many people want you to be just like them… get a job, be in a relationship, get married, have kids…etc. etc. etc…the standard life. But , there are the few who stick to their own path and who are content in their own skin who can look back and say they have no regrets for they would not be who they are now. Stay strong! For you are truly an amazing woman!
thanks a lot! I really appreciate your kind words! and you’re right, it’s not only about the degree or the scientific knowledge we get, rather the experience we have!
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Well done, Annmary, not every person has the courage to go his own unknown path. it is easy to go through life on the already beaten path, which is what many do, betraying their dreams. Follow your dreams and they tend to stray from those who are loyal to them.😍😊👍
thanks so much! I’m glad you liked it! ♥️