Giving up on it all

By Madeleine Somerville

Well, here I am, halfway through another school year. At times the road ahead seems endless, stretching out in front of me punctuated with exams, classes I never go to and deadlines I have a harder time meeting with each passing day.

When will it all be over? And what the hell am I going to do with a Bachelor of ArtS in Sociology? It’s almost as useful as a degree in philosophy or art.

On the rare days when I manage to be positive and think about what life will be like once I break free of the ivory tower and all its institutionalized contradictions, it seems the life I’ll lead post-university will look much the same. It may even be worse, as I can’t see any potential employers being too happy if I decided not to show up for weeks at a time.

The question of the day is, what is it all for?

I am beginning to think I’ve been sucked into the cult of success. I spent 13 years in public school, three in a post-secondary institution, I’m dreading the next one-and-a-half, and for what? So I can go through the hell of job interview after job interview, only to end up with a job I hate when I graduate? Granted, there is the off chance I could actually like my job, but does it really matter?

Like it or not, it has to be done. Anything to pay the bills and allow me to buy a car I can’t afford, clothes I don’t feel comfortable in, food I feel guilty eating and a huge house in the suburbs which sits empty all day while I am at work, hating my job and worrying about how I’m going to pay for it all.

Sometimes I wish I could just become a dirty hippie and live in a shack in the mountains. Make my own jam, wear burlap sacks, have romantic rendezvous with whatever forest rangers happen to stop by.

It could happen. I mean, I wouldn’t have a proper wall to put my damn degree on and my lungs would probably go into shock from all the fresh air, but it’d be nice; au naturel.

Let’s face it, I would eventually be forced to move by one logging company or the other and then I’d have to protest; fight to keep what little I had. I’d be on television and become known as that dirty hippie lady who refuses to leave her shack.

And we all know that, as far as romance goes, journalists are no replacement for forest rangers.

All those people I hated in high school would watch me on their flat-screen TVs sitting on the proper walls of their empty houses and they would laugh at the life I’m living. Old university professors might remember me, sigh, and say I had so much potential–if only I had applied myself…

Then all of them, the high school chums and the university professors (perhaps even the forest rangers), would get in their cars they can’t afford and drive to the jobs they hate but must have so they can keep the house and the car and the respect and the life–everything I feel like giving up. At times, on days like this, it’s too hard to pretend it’s all worth it.

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