Opinion | I'm not panicking too much about life... yet


By, Zak Asgard, 2nd Year, English and Philosophy  

As I sit here, writing this article, I’m surrounded by decay: tangfastics, pop chips (barbecue flavour) and what was once, I can only assume, a pear. Doctor Who is on again. This has become our house’s therapy. Our fears about the future are drowned out by David Tennant’s emphatic ‘oh yeses’. Is this a sign? Should I be worried about life now?

Worrying about life, the future and one’s prospects has been, for some, a continual existential struggle. For others, those who came to university ‘to find themselves’, fearing the future has become a new and persistent mood-killer. What’s the source of this fresh anxiety? Time. I blame time. Where did the time go? It feels like mere days ago that I arrived in my university halls and played ‘never have I ever’ over an awkward can of Stella Artois. A year ago, I would have hush-hushed the nearest person to mention an internship or plugged my ears and sung ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie

Worrying about life, the future and one’s prospects has been, for some, a continual existential struggle | Courtesy of Zak Asgard

But it isn’t only time, it’s fear-mongering. We’ve seen or heard countless friends, parents and BBC News articles declaring how bad graduates ‘have it’. With the way prospects are presented in the media, you’d hardly think there’s a point in going to university at all. Oh, and then there’s the self-proclaimed ‘young-entrepreneurs’.

I’ve often been down the rabbit-hole of YouTube, where the braggarts present themselves in the compulsory ad spaces between videos. It’s always the same; some guy with a Ferrari parked behind him, probably rented for the video, sat in what seems like a hired-out garage, which is also probably rented for the video. Whose garage is that, it’s always the same one! They usually say the same thing:

‘Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg … Kanye … Kanye West! They dropped out of university man; I’m telling you … success isn’t in YOUR university; it isn’t in YOUR debt! I’ll tell you where success is!’

This is usually followed by a link to a pyramid scheme in cryptocurrency. If anything, these videos dissuade me from dropping out – for fear of the future – and, instead, convince me to stay at university, safe from the world of bitcoin and seventeen-year olds in rented suits.

It’s only second year, there’s plenty of time for a panic MA.

I’m not suggesting that worrying about life is ridiculous, far from it. But I refuse to be rattled by a friend who says they have it ‘all sorted out’. I don’t believe them. No one has it ‘all sorted out’ and, even if they did, I’d ask why they were telling me. I’m either going to say ‘I’m proud of you buddy’ through an envious grimace or stare deep into my drink – maybe the swirling of the pint, like a magic cauldron, will toss up the answers I desperately seek for my future.

In actual fact, most of us don’t know what we will be. We might have an idea or a goal but sticking to said goal is unlikely.

So, for the time being, I’m more than content with keeping my options open. Let’s, for the sake of the child in me, call the future a theme park – metaphorically strapping myself into one ride would be a real shame, I can’t spend my life riding dodgems and missing out on log flumes – I did, however, get stuck on the log flumes during my trip to Brighton pier once...

I’ll keep worrying. But, as I toss and turn at night, I’ll keep in mind the ‘young-entrepreneurs’ and those who restarted their careers past forty; it’s only second year, there’s plenty of time for a panic MA.

Do you have your life sorted yet?