As my time here at Western draws to a close, I find myself frequently drifting off into day dreams about how fortunate I am to have travelled here and experienced the things I have.
For most, this journey would simply be about experiencing Western student life and seeing as much of Canada as possible. Of course I’ve wanted those experiences too, but for me, the journey has also inadvertently been about self-discovery. This may come as a shock to some of you, as it means that your nagging has finally paid off – I am finally giving more thought to the present. My head will always be in the future, but Canada has given me a sort of liminal space in which I can stop and think about the ‘now’. I’ve learnt that with any completely new experience you embark on, particularly when travelling, the sense of anonymity felt at the beginning can be perceived as a sort of freedom. No one knows you, so you get the chance to think about who you are, perhaps even who you ‘want’ to be, and what you want to achieve.
This has only been possible because time, although it is passing quickly overall, seems slow in the everyday life. But doesn’t time only fly when you’re having fun? It doesn’t have to, it appears. By no means does this imply I haven’t enjoyed myself – the opposite is true – as you can tell from my previous blog posts! (Relevance is always in the eye of the beholder.) This sense of slowed time has given me chance to think about my future. After 16 years in education, 16 years that have disappeared in the blink of an eye. Now I’ve come to realise that I may only have 6 months left, which doesn’t give me much time to decide my future career trajectory, time seems to have fortunately decelerated a little. I know that the decisions I make now don’t have to dictate my entire future, but the market is tough, and I want to be able to enjoy my graduate job. That’s the tricky part.
Grabbing the bull by its horns
So although I’ve tried to make the most of Canada in that good ol’ carpe diem fashion, I find myself intimidated by the elephant in the room, her name is ‘big wide world’. Having been in education so long, the fact that I may actually be leaving behind a way of life that I know so well, is a daunting prospect. We all ‘come of age’ at different times in our lives depending on what we experience. For instance, those who have endured a turbulent childhood or assumed caring roles at young ages grow up quicker than the average person. I have far greater respect for these people than for my self; I admire their strength and resilience. But for me, leaving education behind is what constitutes ‘adulthood’, and the HUGE uncertainty is exactly what makes it exciting. Despite being a creature of habit, I need to sometimes realise that time spent worrying is time wasted.
My graduation in the summer of 2017 will bring with it new opportunities, and it will afford me the chance to start a new chapter. It’ll soon be time to ride the storm, and things will be a whole lot easier thanks to the fantastic friends I have made on my journey over the past few years. Who knows where I will end up!