Finding the future

The future really freaks me out. Thinking about where I’ll be in just five years after I graduate is enough to paralyze me in worry and fear.

Will I return to my 10th year reunion unaccomplished, still living in my parents’ house? Or will I have the success and recognition I so longingly desire by the 25th year?

I traipse through hordes of giggling girls as I make the brief journey across campus, and there it is – a giant banner, staring me in the face. ‘Inspiring lives of leadership and purpose.’

Was this put here to mock my uncertainty? Wilfrid Laurier’s beady eyes tauntingly gaze at me from a distance.

His eyes tell me the stories of success. How will you ever compare to the greatness of all the men and women who came before you? He asks me. I don’t know how to answer. So I continue muddling through this ever-developing campus. I’m late for class.

Walking in solitude, I worry that the life I’m living is only a fragment of the parallel lives I could have lived. Shaped by the decisions I’ve made, I’ve carved a path for my future.

In the final year of high school I applied and was accepted into every university in Ontario.

Despite the triumphant acceptance letters and scholarship offers I went with the safest choice, to save money and stay home by attending Wilfrid Laurier University.

Making a decision that was largely influenced by the opinion of others left me bitter and angry.

I hated Laurier.

I hated the modernity of the campus, the vacuous people. I swore to keep my head down; this wasn’t the intellectual paradise I had dreamed about. First year academics taught me to think less critically, more simplistically.

I learnt how to cite a million peer-reviewed journals and how to perfect that all too effective hamburger essay. I was listening to the criticisms people gave about Laurier. The buildings are old, the campus is small and the professors don’t care.

While Laurier prides itself on their Latin motto Veritas Omnia Vincit, maybe the “Truth that conquers all” is just this: it’s an outdated, party school, contributing little to the city of Waterloo.

This makes Wilfrid pretty angry; I can see it stirring in his eyes as I continue to walk on.

I have to assure him, I came around. It was winter when I had my first positive thought: I can make it to any building in four minutes or less, for most of which I don’t even need to go outside. It was cozy curling up and reading, watching my peers study, seeing my friends walk past.