Pre-warning: I realize this post is very much an I-put-pen-to-paper-and-I-never-lifted-it to determine what it is I’m actually drawing. I’m hoping it embodies one of those portrait line art pics that are popping up all over Instagram(?) Or maybe just like the logo of thoughtsinmy20s.
2020 was a discovery year for a lot of my friends and family. My mother discovered her inner talents for art, my friend is a soon-to-be discovered songwriter and pop star (check her out @lookitsbea), and another has decided to organize the first-ever student European startup conference in London. It feels like everyone came out of the pandemic having learned something about themselves. But here I am thinking I’m more lost than ever. they’ve all discovered their passion and sprinted towards it with all they’ve got. And meanwhile, all I’ve been feeling is this kind of pang of jealousy; An identification crisis? Entrepreneurship envy? Or just romanticizing the idea of starting a business? Or maybe I’m just a classic student suffering from that I’m-about-to-graduate crisis and a little too much time on her hands? Could very well be.
Downloading Clubhouse hasn’t quite helped. Profiles are labeled with “CEO of A”, “Founder”, “Co-Founder”, “Entrepreneur” whilst my own bio remains utterly vacant. But LinkedIn above all has been the ultimate source of anxiety; “I’m honored to announce”, “During this pandemic, I launched..” “I used my free time to build..” I could scream at the number of times that I (mind you, mistakingly) thought to myself: “why didn’t I think of that?” Or most ignorantly “I could’ve done that!”
I know I’ve always wanted to start something of my own, you know, own something. But I’ve always felt it wasn’t right if I didn’t know what that something was. How can I convince people that this is a viable idea if I didn’t even believe in it? You can’t build something from the ground up without a vision. So I internalized this goal for a later stage in life. When I’m financially stable, have a breadth of experience, and can comfortably do so. I’m also painstakingly aware that I’m romanticizing the idea. The blood, sweat, and tears that go on behind the scenes are not on display on LinkedIn nor Instagram. But with the p-word providing me with all too much time on my hands, and little distraction, this jealousy has boiled to form a constant thought of “Start something”, “Do something”, “Launch something”.
So many questions. Is this really what I want? Is it healthy that these feelings were fuelled this way? I could go on a real bender here; talking about my “student” identity slipping away within a couple of months time - although what does being a student even mean in these circumstances anymore - my internal battle with the very problematic, very self engrained idea of meritocracy, and so on. But, I’ll save that one for another post. Also, I’m sure my English teacher would be highly disappointed in the run-on sentences and incorrect use of the semi-colon in this post, so don’t wanna fuel the fire.
Ok so this is everything that I felt a few months ago. Maybe it's not what you want to hear, but you have time. And by that, I don't mean that you have free time, now. I mean that you have time, in the future. Take things one step at a time.
You said you are still a student. Well, take care of that, first. If it's not keeping you busy enough, invest in something else. A new language, a wierd hobby that you aren't sure you'll like, but you think it might be useful in the long run (I find sewing to be a valuable skill in life; or cooking, damn is life hard to live on sandwiches). Or, even better, enjoy the free time.
I know it's hard now. I'm not sure how it's going over there, but in my country, the last few months as a student have been... well, not to sound dramatic, but man, I felt like I needed more hours in a day. Or maybe it was just me, as I am a closeted procrastinator.
I found a tumblr post that helped me when I was feeling what you are feeling, but with the pressure of actually having that degree packed and not used. It said: Just because you took longer than others doesn't mean you failed.
This is not a race. Others success doesn't have to be your failure.