There’s a reason I am afraid of the weekends, but Saturdays especially.
On Saturdays I wake up without a purpose, except to hunt for food. I wake up knowing it is still early and that there will be another day like this again, the very next day. I do some homework, look at the clock, watch Game of Thrones, look at the clock, then it’s dinnertime. I am stuck in a little unit occupying a fixed volume of air in the fifth floor of an apartment five hours from home. In the emptiness of this little space my thoughts are amplified and thrown back at me at a speed so great they interfere and I am shaken as I realize that it is October and I am still purposeless.
I dread being asked the question: What clubs or societies do you join? because I cannot come up with an answer and my justification for my lack of a response comes packaged in self-hating weekends full of doubt and terrible uncertainty. Sometimes in the absence of anything corporeal to blame I blame the programme I am in for its exam-oriented structure. I keep thinking that I should have done IB instead, that I should have taken the risk and gone for it. But cowardice held me back and I chose to be on the safe, familiar road of academic rigour. I still regret it sometimes, envisioning how my weekends must be so interesting and productive compared to the hollow time warps I traipse through week after week from lack of anything interesting to do.
I’m thinking of university applications this entire time (since the beginning of the semester) and I stop myself every so often to review what I have done recently to be able to add it to my CV. It scares me each time I review it as I am nearer to my graduation date but my CV isn’t any more impressive. I am terribly worried that I am not trying hard enough, that I will look back at this period of stupor with regret and self-loath. That the future me will wish to return to present me and had gotten my ass off my chair and gone out there and done something impressive. Organized a social justice movement, raised awareness on the ways that people can be subtly racist, shot incredible pictures, revived the dead MUN society, whatever. I can almost see that I will feel that way; in some strange way I am feeling what the future me will be feeling. And that feeling drives me to be very uncomfortable in my comfort zone. I am uncomfortably aware, all the time, of how comfortable I am at the present moment, and that this feeling of contentment will one day come back to haunt me in the form of rejections.
It’s not like it’s always been in my personality to join clubs and be consistently active in them. Looking back through the entire course of secondary school I have always been a solo winger, joining random clubs and quitting after a year because of a lack of sustained interest, which I know is a terrible thing to have. But I don’t think my growth has been affected negatively because I failed to hold myself down to any club. I got to where I am today without the need to belong to any one club or a hobby for a long period of time to prove my ‘dedication’. I’m not in an awesome place but I don’t think it’s too bad. I rather like who I am. In fact I think all this experimenting has made me understand what I like as a person and find out what I am fundamentally good at. I don’t believe that being unable to belong to a club renders you somehow disciplinarily inferior. It’s just that I have flickering interests, and that’s because I am consistently growing as a person and I am slowly understanding what I like.
“So what do you do if you’re not in any club and societies? Study every day?”
Alas, I can never miss being associated with the stereotype of the A-level student for being a failure at extra-curricular activities. Honestly though I don’t study all that much. I study about three hours during the weekends and a few hours before a topical test and that’s about it. The rest of the time I am filming and hanging out with my classmates at the bunker classrooms and going on social justice Tumblrs and playing Dota 2 (and recently League of Legends) and staying out until past dinnertime and loitering around school and reading and taking swag shots and thinking about my failure and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed mindlessly and thinking of photoshoot ideas and taking unexpected road trips without guarantees of return transport and talking to new people and letting strange things happen to see what happens. I am collecting stories, collecting feelings and people inside a journal that will become the sword I wield against the adulthood that will soon swallow me.
I hate it sometimes when in the middle of feeling good about life I get struck by this reminder that my CV is still bare. I feel like it’s such a silly worry; It’s all about perspective; if I had something more important to worry about, this worry would immediately diminish. I’ve said this before but I feel like I can never let myself be truly happy. I have my euphoric moments in brief flashes, uncontained raw euphoria that’s unbottled and untethered and it’s wonderful to even have moments like that. But in idler times my mind always wanders to this one worry like a sick psychopath who only feels secure when tied down to a worry. It’s probably because we live in a capitalistic society that sees your worth in a piece of paper, and I worry that my piece of paper will underrepresent me because all the things I do cannot be traditionally labelled and still be socially acceptable.
But that’s just me questioning opposing beliefs to defend my inability to be in any club. At the end of the day I understand that nobody gives a shit about romantic justifications. All that matters is in the lines written on a piece of paper. And that is why there is always a fear at the back of my head, that my refusal? inability? to comform to the model of the ideal student will find its way to get back at me.