Future/ Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

A pledge to stop fixating on the future

I’m well aware that the last thing that should be on my mind on the first day of the summer break is going back to university. Nonetheless, on the first term-free Monday of July, I found myself thinking about the next academic year and getting a bit sad that it would be my last as an undergraduate. That’s the slightly pathetic way I welcomed in the summer: in my cat-themed pyjamas, pondering the rapid passage of time and wondering what on earth I had filled the last two years with.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited for my third year at Warwick. I look forward to being on the exec of two societies I love, spending time with friends, and finding new ways to avoid doing the work that desperately needs to be done. I can’t wait for all the memories that will undoubtedly be made, and I have so many plans I hope to fulfil.

Not knowing what I’m going to do once the security blanket of education has been ripped away terrifies me

Underlying this excitement, however, is a fear. Knowing that in a year’s time I will have to say an emotional farewell to some of my closest friends makes me really sad. I’m not ready to sacrifice the pleasure of sitting in Curiositea instead of doing my required reading. And not knowing what I’m going to do once the security blanket of education has been ripped away terrifies me.

I’ve recognised that I have a habit of being fixated on the future in this way, and I’m trying to combat that mindset. I saw a quote on social media that opened my eyes to the mentality I’ve unconsciously adopted. The gist of the message was that we spend so much time worrying about the future that we forget enjoy the present. If you think about it, we’re actually living right in the middle of the future that we’ve always looked forward to. This is a realisation I sorely needed and perhaps one that I could’ve done with a long time ago. I spent so much of my time as a teenager looking forward to being at university. Now I’m at that point, I find myself worrying about post-graduation and getting sentimental over my eventual final day, despite the fact that I still have an entire 365 days to enjoy before that.

Appreciating the little things in daily life has helped me to enjoy the beauty of the present that will one day only exist in memories

My tendency to stress about the distant future may have held me back from truly enjoying what’s happening in the present. That’s something I need to break out of for my final year.

I’m quite a sentimental person when I want to be. So, when I find myself consciously and completely happy, I savour that feeling. I know it will be a memory I look back on fondly. Appreciating the little things in daily life has helped me to enjoy the beauty of the present that will one day only exist in memories, and that has drawn me away from constantly looking forward.

Whilst my degree is important and arguably the main reason why I’m at university, making an effort to spend time with friends whilst we’re all living near each other is the plan for my final year. I don’t want to look back in years to come and only remember the stress of studying for exams. I want to be able to remember the laughs, the tears and the moments of pure joy that I’ve already experienced and hope to continue having.

I’ll work on going into my final year less fixated on the end and more immersed in the present, enjoying life as it happens and savouring every single moment of happiness I’m lucky enough to encounter

Making a conscious effort to enjoy the present is a tough ask for someone who is as obsessed with planning as I am, but hopefully I can achieve the perfect balance next year. It’s highly improbable that I’ll be able to repress my desire to meticulously plan out my time and will suddenly become entirely spontaneous. On the contrary, the demands of managing a section of The Boar will require me to be even more organised than usual. And, quite honestly, having a pretty bullet journal is just too aesthetically satisfying to give up.

As a compromise, I’ll work on going into my final year less fixated on the end and more immersed in the present, enjoying life as it happens and savouring every single moment of happiness I’m lucky enough to encounter.

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