Picture this: your alarm goes off at 7am, your bedroom’s dark, the first thing your hear after you snooze your alarm is the rain coming down hard against your window and the only thing keeping you warm is your thick, cosy duvet that you’ve woken up cocooned in. You have a lecture at 9am and it’s your least favourite lecture of the entire semester but you have to go because it’s registered. You reluctantly leave the comfort of your duvet cocoon and drag yourself into uni, all the while preparing yourself for a long and uneventful day. However, as you’re waiting for the lecture to start there are a few announcements, one of them being from an enthusiastic American girl waving a pile of green flyers around and excitedly talking about having a trip of a lifetime volunteering abroad.* At 3pm, when you finally get a spare hour, you’re sitting in a room watching videos of people doing all kinds of amazing things like going on safari, climbing mountains, building schools, standing on top of active volcanoes, swimming with dolphins, helping turtles, teaching children English and making a difference to their lives, and then, before you know it, you’re signing up to go and join them. That’s a crazy scenario, right?
Crazy yes, but that was actually my day the other day. And it could be yours too, especially if you’re at university, or you will be one day.
That day got me thinking about the whole going to university thing. To be totally honest, there are days when I wonder why I’m putting myself through it all, when I’m crying at 2am the day before a deadline because I still have to reference my essay/report but I’m too tired to even see straight, days when I have lectures on topics that I don’t really care about, days when the work just keeps piling up (and I’m sure 99.9% of students have felt exactly the same way at some point during their degree!). But then I think of all the ways that it’s changed my life for the better, and all the exciting opportunities that it’s given me, either directly or indirectly. I would never, ever have had the confidence to go to the USA alone for three months if I didn’t move into halls, I wouldn’t have met most of the friends I have now, I wouldn’t have been given every Wednesday afternoon off, had I just gone straight into a job, to go and play tennis (not to mention how acceptable it is to be drunk on a Wednesday night!), and I wouldn’t have had this blogging opportunity.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is university is, for the most part, a wonderful experience. The experience feels unique to you despite the thousands of universities across the world giving thousands of people degrees every year. I’ve been having doubts lately about whether choosing to come to university was the right decision for me but, after the other day (and after having had time to reflect), I think it definitely was the right decision and I would recommend university to anyone; you have your whole life to be tied down to a job. And besides, how likely is it that someone is going to walk into your workplace and offer you the chance to go to Africa/Central America/Asia? I’m no statistician but I’d say not very.
*The company organising these trips are Give. Go and check them out if volunteering abroad is something you’re interested in (you don’t have to be a student.)