Realising that you’re about to begin a new chapter in life is always surprising, no matter how prepared you thought you were. For students, finishing study is like merging on a highway. You’ve checked your rearview mirror a dozen times. Yet somehow, all of a sudden, your exit is in 10 metres and you have to merge across 4 lanes of traffic in 10 seconds without having a mental breakdown and destroying everything in your path.
As we reach the final stretch of our study, a strange phenomenon occurs. Every mundane thought and useless activity becomes your biggest priority. Meanwhile, anything of remote importance towards the future becomes so burdensome that you would rather pluck your arm hairs out one by one than consider thinking about it.
It’s called selective apathy and I just made it up. Here are the signs:
1. You look up pointless videos for 2 hours during a lecture because you’re too tired to listen (ie sloths trying to cross the road). You find the word “sloth” used inadvertently used in your notes instead of important terms.
2. You skip the lecture “to study” and end up sleeping through your alarm and watching the same videos for 2 hours. Your notes were probably better off with sloths in them.
3. Instead of planning nights out, you restrict yourself to the isolated cave of your bedroom. After 24 hours of solid hibernation, you decide on a whim at 10pm that nothing more will get done. You grab your goon sack and throw caution to the wind.
4. You begin studying at 5pm because apparently your hangovers last a whole day now.
5. You start looking at the Subject Outline in Week 13 to find out what each week’s topics were. Hopefully each 5 word title reveals enough about the course to pass.
6. You start talking to your dog/cat. You find said pet to be quite interesting.
7. You begin drinking alone after you hand in an assignment to “cool off”. You begin to wonder how many beers you have to drink before it gets sad. You have another.
8. You constantly fantasise about the life you could lead if money were no object.
9. An inconsequential event occurs, such as seeing an ant on the pavement, and suddenly you’re convinced you’ll never find your true passion and succeed.
10. You have messaged or called a friend to tell them how directionless your life is and ended up talking for hours. The panic still refuses to set in.
11. Every time you hand in an assignment you swear you’ve never been this rushed or handed in an assignment this bad before. Yet inevitably, your standards drop lower and lower.
12. If a rushed assignment miraculously gets a good mark, you’re filled with a sudden rush of power and honestly wonder what else you can bullshit your way through.
13. Your coffee choice becomes more efficient. The size of your beverage has become smaller and the number of shots has increased. You’ve wondered when they’ll invent caffeine injections.
15. Getting more than 5 hours sleep actually makes you more tired because your body now considers sleep an unnatural, foreign state.
16. Your pantry has become your psychologist.
17. You find yourself bonding with new people over the hopelessness of the future.
18. The steady stream of graduation photos on facebook is a superficial reminder that the end is so, so close. You may just make it.
19. You then begin shopping for a graduation outfit online until you have spent what little money you have.
20. Repeat steps 1-19 until your final exam (or extend your degree by at least one semester to “help ease the stress”).
Inevitably, once you graduate, you will find yourself desperately wishing that you could revisit this tumultuous but glorious time in your life where you actually had the luxury of skirting responsibility. Suddenly, there’s no going back.
Wait, maybe you could do a Masters…