Yesterday I felt like I was in a bit of a rut. I had been thinking about my time in university, and it had left me wanting.
I realized, as I have a couple of times before, that I’ve really not been making the most of my experience, as I remembered a speech we were given some years previous back in Sixth Form about the outcome of University. The guest speaker told us the definitions of the grades. He said:
“A first is for those who put in the time and dedication to get the best they can get. A 2.1 is for those who have done well, and had some fun; they’ve made the most of their time. A 2.2 is for those who have partied perhaps a bit too much. A 3rd..”, yadda yadda, something about how a 3rd is worse than a 2nd.
Now the reason this came to mind is because I had just recieved an essay that I had written about Doctor Who back from my tutor. She had asked me if I was okay with the mark awarded to me; a 2.1. But this made me think, although I have had 2.1’s before, if you were to analyse the sum total of my grades, the majority would be 2.2’s, bar this TV module and I think a module on the American west.
And frankly, that’s not very good; not because it’s a bad mark, but because I was happy with a low 2.1 and I don’t actually ‘party’ all that much, especially compared to other students I know who have better grades. I’ve got no excuse, and as the day went on, I thought more and more about the fact that I was destined for a grade that basically translates as ‘meh’ (it’s sort of like a C grade, I suppose; it’s fine, but it’s nothing special, and something I’m all too familiar with…).
So I started reviewing my options.
I thought once more about the possibility of becoming a firefighter. I’ve bought weights and a utility bench, and exercise far more now than when I had a gym membership. All I would have to do is retake my driving tests, and then that would be a very plausible solution.
I thought about travelling, and moving from job to job as I quested to see the world. But the frank reality is that I am shit at saving money. I have faith in my ability to get out of my overdraft once I graduate, but beyond that, I highly doubt I would have anything to get me across Scandinavia, Russia, Asia and back to the United States. It’s a dream that is perhaps a bit too big.
Then I thought about my dream of writing. As of late, my confidence had been shaken somewhat, as I joined a class on Screenwriting, which was filled with English and Film students. The pretentious kind as well. Don’t get me wrong; they’re nice people, but the majority of them couldn’t seem to answer the question of ‘What’s your favourite film?’ without some grand detour into the meanings of life and other existential thoughts, whereas me and my friend Jack, American Studiers both, said things like ‘because I like Jeff Bridges’ or ‘Because I wanna be a gangster’ (the latter was Jack, obviously, for a ‘gangsta’, I am not). We told the truth, and didn’t look to sound incredibly intelligent when answering such a simple question. Maybe their reasons were true, but they really didn’t sound it.
And I thought back to a talk my mother had with a former journalist. She indirectly advised me on the best routes into journalism. So I had a look at those, and I began to think once more about postgraduate study. I mean, my friends are all still going to be in university for another year, so it wouldn’t hurt to go back, kill the time that they’ll be away and come out with a degree that is actually worth something.
Having done a bit of research, I even know what Universities I would try and get into; to do Magazine Journalism, I would go to the University of Cardiff; keep things welsh, and study at one of the best institutes for journalism in the country. Alternatively, I could do Creative or ‘Professional’ Writing, in which case I would head down to Falmouth University. I have friends in Falmouth, so I would have people to hang out with, and potentially a place to live.
The icing on top of these respective cakes? I finally got round to purchasing a pair of climbing shoes. I figured if I didn’t do it soon, I would continue to lose motivation to go climbing, as the club continuously goes to a small rock climbing centre, as opposed to the bouldering facilities that I have realised are what I really prefer.
The excitement of climbing in potentially the most outdoorsy style there is speaks to me. I would love to be unburdened with harnesses and ropes, and free to scale cliffs in my free time.
But I’m not stupid; I know that if I did that, I would most certainly die.
So then I found out about ‘Deep Water Soloing’. What is that, you ask?
Well, it is exactly what I previously described wanting to do, but at the coast, where any mistake would instead land you safely in the ocean, within eyesight of similarly minded climbers, who would have boats at hand to fish you out. It’s arguably the safest way to go climbing without a harness, and frankly, I think it sounds awesome.
And you know where the best places for Deep Water Soloing apparently are in the United Kingdom? The coasts of South Wales and the areas around Falmouth! What are the chances.
The longer I thought about this, the more plausible postgraduate study seemed to me. I’ve done three years of university; I would honestly be okay with going somewhere secluded to study, if I knew that I was a drive away was some cool outdoorsy pursuit that I could do with my spare time.
Unfortunately, I don’t have nine thousand pounds to spare, so really all any of this has done is through my future into flux once more.
I had gone from having no idea what to do with myself to having a clearly defined plan for next year. And now I’m back to stage one.
Fortunately, I’ve realised I can still salvage a 2.1 if my dissertation gets a first…