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It’s reached that time of year again when everywhere you look there’s some Buzzfeed article telling Freshers how to make the most of their time at university. Sure, you should seize the day and grab at every opportunity you can, but the ‘Go-For-It’ message isn’t just one that we should roll out to those starting university. I’m a Third Year student and, like many others, the terror of this being my final year at Lancaster is settling in. Questions have started popping into my mind, such as “have I done everything I wanted in my time here?” and “what do I still want to do?”
Answering those questions is difficult, but it has shown me that the ‘Go-For-It’ mentality is one that should be with us throughout our entire time at university, not just as a Fresher deciding whether or not to join a society in those first few weeks. When else are we going to be in a place with so many opportunities, and when else are we going to be in such a mix of people to meet and befriend?
Here lies the problem though. Many people often apply the ‘door’ symbol to opportunity, as in, how when we see an open door we should walk through it as to reap the benefits on the other side. However, some of us fail to even approach the threshold of these doors. We can have people from all sides shouting the ‘Go-For-It’ chant but that doesn’t mean that we do.
Some doors we don’t approach because we know they’re wrong – the opportunity is there to rob a bank but that doesn’t mean we’re going to do it. This isn’t the same though as when we put off joining that society or talking to that stranger on our course. A number of factors come into play here: maybe we’re just anxious that things might not turn out the way we want them to; we might create excuses in our head such as “I don’t have the time for said thing”; we might doubt whether it will be any good for us. If the ‘what ifs’ of anxiety or doubt are justified in their reasons for being on your mind, there is a chance you won’t like what you see on the other side of that door: after all, it’s the unknown, but if we don’t stick our head in to that new thing, then all we’re effectively doing is having a staring standoff with a doorway whilst three years ticks on and it closes for us.
Our comfort zone is indeed a nice place but there’s so much more beyond it. The worst case scenario is that we don’t like what’s on the other side of that door, or we go for a new opportunity just to have the door slam in our face, but, in the rare cases this happens: it’s okay, we tried, there’s always another door around the corner, open and waiting.
Now I’m not going to tell you to go all ‘Carpe Diem’ on every opportunity because that lifestyle can really run a person down and that’s not good for the main reason we’re here – our degree (right?). We can, though, take the ‘Go-For-It’ attitude and use it in proportion, so that when we look at opportunities we will think ‘will I regret it’ if I don’t go for this and we go for it. We at least say a hello when passing that person. We take a moment when procrastinating on our essays to think ‘why am I not going for this?’ instead of spending yet another six-hour-binge-watching Netflix.
Perhaps it’s easier for someone coming to the end of their degree to look back on things and say this, but, as much as this is a Third Year saying we all should employ the ‘Go-For-It’ attitude because of how little time I have left, it’s something we should all strive to at least aim to do. I pledge this year, and welcome you to do the same, that I will try something I never have this next year, that I will speak to people I might never have allowed myself to, that I will make sure I try to apply the ‘Go-For-It to my degree. Finally, that if at any time in this final year of university a door slams in my face I’ll simply try to smile and find the next one. First year, Second, Third, Masters or PHD, we’re all only here for a certain amount of time. We need to look at all the doors we’re lucky enough to have open at Lancaster and go for it.