By Taylor Navarro

    By now, we are fully cemented into 2024. For some, that’s a great thing— our everyday routine has solidified, our goals are underway, and the next day isn’t another hellstorm of the unexpected. But for senior students preparing for university, it’s far from fun. It’s exactly this time of year that the question starts to surface with renewed weight: what do you want to be? 

    What a loaded question. 

    Primary school deceived us with a notion of time. Back then, the world really was infinite. We had our entire lives to decide. And even now with teachers reiterating that idea of ‘time’, it’s not the same— because with university or work looming around the corner, ‘time’ is becoming more of a way to comfort ourselves from the pressure to succeed than anything else. Until highschool has officially finished, ‘time’ won’t mean anything to us, and those fond memories of childhood aspirations are now riddled with preferences, courses, grades, scholarships and of course, the skewed ATAR system. 

    It’s so easy to say that we’re going to get that 99.95. 

    That every university within the realm of thought will come sniffing you out, or that your dream place of work is going to snatch you up just because you said so. 

    That you will win. This is your year, 2024— the year that you will work hard, succeed, and reap the benefit after. It’s all so easy. 

    Until it’s not. 

    According to most pathways counsellors, all students will become ‘realistic’ usually by June every year. ‘Realistic’ is a horrifying way to put it. ‘Realistic’ is a very soft way of saying that you’re going to realise your chances of succeeding are not guaranteed, and that dream of yours— however big, small, sure or unsure— is not tangible. No matter how many extra-curriculars, super-curriculars, study groups or practice exams you take up or participate in, it doesn’t change the fact that you may not succeed. And that hurts. It’s the reason why mental health plummets the most between ages 18–21. 

    So the solution?

    Detach. The truth is hard, cold and cruel, but it’s also flexible. Stop pushing yourself to burnout over a 60-40 chance so you can live a future we haven’t even reached yet. Live for the present. Organise your time so you’re living rather than surviving, and start dreaming again. 

    Because the truth is, you do have time. And you have it now. You just have to see it. 

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