Yesterday I moved onto campus at what will be my home and place of learning for the next three years, and so far it has been awesome.
Awesome, and stressful, but more on that in a moment.
It’s been both fun and a relief to meet new people and start making friends. I like the people on my floor, and during o-week stuffings have met other cool people and done a lot of friending on facebook.
The relief stems from the fact that I was terrified that I’d show up at uni and be totally alone.
It’s been an interesting two days. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that back home, I most certainly had a serious case of “big fish, small pond”. In a year group of 36 and a town of 600 people, it’s easy to believe that you are special. Coming here to a place where I am a number, a shirt colour, and one tiny human in a crowd of hundreds, I am very quickly realising how entirely un-special I am.
Interestingly, it’s something that my ego is taking incredibly well. Although one pissed off needy individual is stamping her foot and crying for attention, another larger part of me is feeing incredibly relieved that there is absolutely no pressure.
Back at home, I was feeling the heat. So many expectations from everyone you meet that you’re going to go out into the world and live this extraordinary life and do all these amazing things. All my life I’ve been driven mad by teachers and grown ups always looking at my work and giving it the praise of ‘great potential’. Or worse, ‘it’s be amazing when it’s finished!’.
In my mind, I’ve never been extraordinary. I’ve always been average, everything I do is average, everything I’ve ever aspired to do is average. But being surrounded by people who somehow have gotten the idea that you are somehow special, or you will eventually be special; it’s a dumb thing to complain about, but it’s hard. No harder, I imagine, then being told you’re worthless. But I feel almost like I’m somehow lying to people, for never correcting them and saying “actually, it’s not great potential. It’s just sheer, perfect, average mundanity”. And then there’s the added delight of becoming terrified of failure, for the simple reason of the amount of disappointment it’s going to give to everyone around you. “You did your best” echoes with “but it wasn’t enough”.
Shit like that can fuck with a persons head.
But here, I’m away from all of that. Away from anyone who knows me and seems to be under the misguided impression that I’m somehow destined for greater things. Away from any expectation of greatness or astounding success.
I am nobody. I am nothing. And it feels amazing.
I can do literally whatever I want because there is no one to disappoint and no kind of expectation to live up to.
On the other hand however, I’m also experiencing this surreal kind of, out of body-ness. It’s almost as though I’m watching all this stuff happen to somebody else. It’s almost like, I spent so much time planning and thinking and setting out this pattern, and now I’m just watching it all play out on a screen. I’ve been forgetting things, I’ve been forgetting myself. I almost don’t know how I should behave, what to say, what to do. It’s causing me a baby bit of anxiety, although the root cause of my current state of being is the fact that tutorial sign ups are tomorrow morning and I’m panicking.
But it’s okay. I’ll be okay. This week is going to be interesting.
I’m pretty keen for o-week to be over and the actual academic stuff to start. I’m keen to be back in a routine and for this new chapter of my life to start feeling normal, and not like novelty.
There’s so much stuff I want to talk to you guys about! I want to tell you all about New Zealand, and about where I’m living now, and about certain interesting developments with my online dating experiment. But right now, I desperately need to sleep.