Words by Kiara Mulholland
The other day, a friend and I were sweating and heaving from the extremities of the gym, and she turned to me and said, “Imagine yourself in 10 years’ time, what do you reckon you’ll be doing?”
A bit random I know, but then again she’s the type of person to say, “Imagine if all the machines in the gym were invisible,” creating a peculiar image of sweaty people floating mid-air, looking very strained. To answer this question, though, I needed to stop and think; to actually choose whether I want to say “well, if I fail…” or “when I do this…” because right now my enthusiasm for absolutely anything has gone down the drain – along with my grades. It’s like I’m just swimming in the sewers, hoping for some kind of revival, which I just don’t seem to have. I mean, education isn’t life – many people aren’t even in education and they are successful, happy people – but for a 17-year-old, education seems to hold the only doors to life right now… which is quite silly, don’t you think?
In 2012 only 34% of people in Great Britain held a degree or a degree-level qualification, so 66% are living, working and are happy without a degree. To me, not having a degree seems like suicide. Want to be successful? Get a degree. “It’s all about the paper,” or so they say. But, then again, is getting a degree just three (or more) years of your life wasted, accompanied by a mass of debt?
This is the type of spiral my head is in right now. Imagining myself in 10 years’ time is hard. Would I have just finished my medical degree at one of the country’s most prestigious universities; would I have seen the world and be teaching English; would I be writing, describing my travels; would I be sharing, or creating, adventures? Or maybe I’d have kids? Or be married? Maybe I’d be having a secret love affair with Benedict Cumberbatch?!
All of this questioning just swallows me up until I get into the state I am in now, of just feeling like I’m a machine for exams, which are just about a grade, and may lead to something pointless. So I’m calling out to all the fortune tellers out there: help?! I need clarity. Yet life seems to take its own turns with no consideration for your plans, so why do I need them? Are they just another superficial thing society has shoved upon us, or is it humanity being realistic? Who knows…
Kiara Mulholland, 17, is enrolled at Exeter College as part of its Journalism Academy. She blogs at The Shelf.
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