Old age is fast approaching
Some pleasures and experiences in life depend entirely on your age. When I was 12, I could not wait to turn 15, because the 15-year olds at my school were allowed to cross the street and go to the local shop during breaks from class.
When I was 15, as I was standing at the shop across the street from school during a break, I looked at the 18-year olds in the school’s parking lot, and I could not wait for my 18th birthday to come, so that I could get my license and drive the family car just as they were doing. As I drove my family’s car past Copenhagen Business School (where I normally study), during my 18th summer, I thought, “wow, if only I were 24-25 and about to finish my studies…those guys will be starting real jobs soon!”
Well, here I am, 24-25 years old and about to finish my studies and get a real job soon. So what is there to look forward to now?
Driving on Fraser Island
The disease I suffer from
Let me share something private with you. What may be clear from the above paragraphs is that I suffer terribly from a disease. The evidence of this is mostly clear to myself and the ones nearest to me – a doctor will not have the instruments necessary to diagnose me (although a psychologist might!). Fortunately, the disease is not lethal, nor is it contagious. In fact, it doesn’t even have a name (at least not to my knowledge).
The symptoms of my disease are that I am very poor at living in the present. I spend a lot of my conscious time longing for, worrying about, and imagining that I am living in a future state, only to spend my sleeping time dreaming of the same future state. Where I am in the present often merely offers a comfortable seat for me to daydream in.
“Aren’t you supposed to be writing about exchange?”
Yes, I am. How does all of the above relate to my exchange experience?
I cannot wait to get back home! This is not to be understood as a critique of my present. I enjoy Australia, and I have enjoyed being on exchange. I have experienced a lot. The chick that fell from the nest three months ago (see my first blog post) has seen the world and survived doing it – in fact I am feeling ready to promote myself from chick to bird… perhaps even rooster. I am however also ready to go home. I want to get back to my normal life and I want to get my studies over with so I can start working. Because, I will be honest… while I have enjoyed exchange, I have throughout felt as if I am caught in no-man’s land, in a place where I cannot build a permanent existence.
“So is exchange a bad idea?”
Absolutely not! As you may have read in my latest post, there are a number of benefits to going on exchange! I would go as far as to say, that if you go on exchange during your studies, you enter a group of some of the most privileged people in the world, because 1) it means you are taking a degree at a university, and 2) it means you had a chance to experience a foreign country while you were taking that degree!
But what I have accidentally done (wrongly) is that I have watched a sunset in Byron Bay, contemplating the topic of the thesis I will be turning in, in nine months. I have skipped stones in the lakes on Tamborine Mt. thinking about finding work when I return home. I have traversed the sand dunes of Fraser wondering what my CV will read like in 5, 10 and 15 years. I have been diving on the Great Barrier Reef, worrying about whether or not the kids I may or may not have in the future take their school seriously enough – and how much it’ll cost me to fix their crooked teeth. I have watched the Hakka at a New Zealand-Australia Rugby game, imagining my future golf-swing and how much I can get my handicap down before retirement. I have strolled Elizabeth St. in Melbourne, ecstatic at the thought of being old enough to get away with bickering and having young people rid their seats in the bus, just so I can sit down…
So what I am trying to convey is that if you do go on exchange, my best advice would be this: do not spend so much time excited about the next thing, that you miss out on your foreign experience! Enjoy every moment of your exchange experience! Get a “Carpe Diem” tattoo – and live by it…
You may be thinking: “Surely that’s enough complaining out of this guy”, or “I don’t spend my time reading these blogs to pick up the burden of some anonymous blogger”. If you’ve gotten this far, you receive my dearest apologies. I promise I’ll be more positive next time, regardless of topic, so tune in…
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”