A lot of crazy stuff has been happening for me over the past few days, one of these being applying for university. I always saw university as some far away universe I would never make it to. Two years ago, I watched as my brother graduated high school, moved overseas and began university. Through this, it still didn’t seem to hit home that it would soon be me. As much as we are told by teachers about how these grades we receive this year affect our university entrance, and no matter how many times we are asked by each and every person we meet, “So what do you want to do next year?” it never really seemed to hit home. Through the excitement of a countdown to graduation, and dreams of moving to New York or London to write for a living, it still seemed like a distant future. I’ve attended school since I was three years old. I don’t know anything different than getting up at 6am and putting on a uniform to go to school. It’s never really occurred to me that, one day it’s actually going to end, and I’ll never wear a school uniform again.
After an email I received this morning and applying for university this afternoon, it’s hit me. It’s really started to hit. I have 19 school days left, forever. In 61 days, I’ll be walking across a stage in an auditorium full of the families of my peers to receive my Queensland Certificate of Education, with the prospect of never having to attend the place I’ve called hell for the past five years becoming a reality.
It seems as if I’ve been so caught up in all of my big and exuberant dreams for the future (beautiful apartments in my favourite cities, a popular blog, offers to do TED talks, a marriage to Harry Styles and of course my 16th birthday present – a cat called Winston by my side all the way) that I’ve forgotten that the future is actually beginning? And as exciting as my dream future seems, it’s finally started to get scary. I’ve spent the past five years of high school just shaking things off, saying to myself, “In five/ten years it’ll all be different. You’ll be travelling the world with your dream job, marry the guy of your dreams. You’ll be okay.” And whilst I know (hope) that it will all be okay in the end, I’m scared that I’ll be disappointed from where I end up because it’s not what 17 year old me dreamed of.
I’m scared that no one will take me, or my writing seriously. I’m just a kid and a keyboard, writing to a song on repeat. I’m scared that I’ll start university and decide I’m not cut out to be a writer. I’m scared that when I finally land my dream job, I won’t enjoy it, or it would have taken so long to get there that I’m just totally bored of the whole writing thing. I’m scared that I won’t get to see all the places I dream of, in real life; the pyramids, the ruins of Pompeii, Times Square, Central Park, Harry Potter World. I’m scared that I won’t fall in love by the time I’m 27 so I can have all four children before I’m 36. I’m scared of infertility. I’m scared that they’ll remake the Harry Potter series in my lifetime. Daniel Radcliffe is the only Harry Potter I will ever accept.
There are so many things that I’m scared of in the future that I’ve discovered and I don’t want to leave the security that school provides. Every day is planned out for me. I know when I’ll be eating lunch and what I’m going to be doing two weeks in advance. In the real world, things change with the flip of a switch. I like to plan, so this scares the bejesus out of me. But, as much as that scares me, it also excites me because there are many things in this world I’ll get to experience. And whilst I’m so scared that the future won’t turn out the way I envisage, I’m also okay with it, because I know, wherever I am, I’ll be writing and I’ll always be able to do it. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 11 years old; it’s what makes me happy, so I don’t think that’s ever going to change. But if it does, something else that will make me even happier can take its place. And that’s pretty exciting, because I can’t think of anything that makes me happier right now.
So if you’re about to graduate high school and don’t know what to study next year, or you finished school long ago and aren’t happy, the only advice I can give you is to stick to what you love. Find something that puts a smile on your face, even on the dreariest of days, something that makes all the hurt and pain disappear. Once you’ve found that, you’re future is simple. Stick to it. I believe in you, like you all believe in me for reading this.