"The strange sympathy which sometimes exists between two human bodies, so that a touch will stir many secret and perilous emotions, closed down on them both at that moment of contact, and they sat unnaturally still by the fire, feeling that in their stillness lay safety."
“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”
"Things were not so simple after all. She could not understand even her own feelings. She saw the most cherished of her convictions put into practice - and her eyes filled with tears. She had won fame and independence and the right to live her own life - and she wanted something different."
“He wanted to ask her what sound a heart made when it broke from pleasure, when just the sight of someone filled you the way food, blood, and air never could, when you felt as if you’d been born for only one moment and this, for whatever reason, was it.”
“The brain is a 1.5 kilogram mass of jelly, the consistency of tofu, you can hold it in the palm of your hand, yet it can contemplate the vastness of space and time, the meaning of infinity and the meaning of existence. It can ask questions about who am I, where do I come from, questions about love and beauty, aesthetics, and art, and all these questions arising from this lump of jelly. It is truly the greatest of mysteries. The question is how does it come about? When you look at the structure of the brain it’s made up of neurons. Of course, everybody knows that these days. There are 100 billion of these nerve cells. Each of these cells makes about 1,000 to 10,000 contacts with other neurons. From this information people have calculated that the number of possible brain states, of permutations and combinations of brain activity, exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.”
After a couple of people that I knew transferred universities, recently, I started thinking back to my first year of uni, and the friends that I made. It struck me: none of them had followed the path that they began, two years ago. While I’ve stuck with the same old degree, they’ve all transferred, switched degrees or dropped out. And I’m not talking 1 or 2 people, here; I’m talking at least 10.
I used to think that those people who changed degrees- or abandoned them- were just indecisive, or lacking motivation (sorry, guys). But the more I think about it, the more I start to question my unwavering commitment to my own degree. I mean, the very idea of choosing your life path- at the tender age of 18 (or 17, for some)- just seems a little ridiculous. I don’t mean that in a way that’s condescending; not in the slightest. There are plenty of highly-motivated young people who have ambition, and know exactly where they want to be. And I think that’s incredibly admirable.
However, the truth is, a lot of us really don’t know. So many people are simply pushed into a particular degree, by parents or teachers, in order to secure a high-paying job. And even those who aren’t pushed down one path, are usually expected to go to university straight after their HSC (in which case, choosing the right degree becomes a matter of Russian roulette).
I’m not, in any way, against uni. Let me make this clear: I’m probably one of the most pro-uni people you’re ever likely to meet. But, realistically, so many people that I’ve met, who went straight into uni, have done a complete 180. They’ve transferred from Science to Arts; from Media to Accounting; or they’ve dropped out, after deciding that the psuedo-intellectualism of uni just wasn’t for them. And they’ve been left with at least a year’s worth of debt, for something that they spent a year of their life hating.
When I think about the amount of people who’ve done this, I think it says less about their lack of commitment, and more about the unrealistic expectations that are placed on young people to think about their ‘future’. Most people are expected to commit to a degree- and an enormous HECS debt- before they have any real taste of the career that they’re pursuing. Some students even go to uni before having a part-time job. How are they supposed to know what kind of career they want, if their only vocational experiences have taken place inside the educational sphere?
This doesn’t just apply to those that have changed degrees, though. I mean, even if I make it to the end of the year, and graduate… What happens then? What happens when we get into the real world? When we travel, and realise what else is out there? When we can’t find a job, or we realise that we liked the job in theory, but not in practice?
Students who change degrees or decide to defer university -in favour of work or travel- are often dismissed as less ‘dedicated’ students. But there are people that I’ve met who have done those very things, and come out with a much clearer idea of where they want to be in life. Could it be that those things aren’t so bad? Perhaps- once I’ve completed my degree and gone into the real world- they’ll be the ones with the real experience. Perhaps…
'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' soundtrack reminds me of why I've always loved Trent Reznor. It also makes me incredibly excited to see the film. If it doesn't meet my ridiculously high expectations, I might just cry.