Decisions to Make

[Previous: The Meaning of School]

Dear Whatever,

I know I haven’t been right the past couple of weeks. I know there’s something wrong with being annoyed all the time at just about everyone. I know it, and not just because I was asked to be honest with myself and with the guidance counsellor. The truth is, I really don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to make it so I’m not annoyed with just flipping out at everyone.

I don’t want to be known as a head case. I’m just putting that out there.

The way I see it, I’m just wound up, nice and tight and ready to snap if I don’t relieve some tension. And I don’t mean going all Columbine on this. I’ve seen the news. I’ve seen what people do, and it makes me sick, and I don’t know why they do that. Anyway, that’s not me. I’m not violent. I’m just afraid I might be if someone pushed me too much. Like, not bring-a-gun-to-school violent. More like punch-and-kick-and-bite violent. I think that could be me.

The thing is, the past couple of weeks haven’t been great. The first week sucked. The second wasn’t much better. It’s all “Oh, don’t forget the Mock Exams. Oh, and the CAO. Future future future!” Fuck.

That’s the big one, really. The CAO, the big application to college. I’m eighteen years old. I burn toast every morning. I’m not a people person. Or a skills person. I’m clumsy. I get nervous in big groups. I don’t know how to talk to girls. And somehow I’m supposed to know what to do in college, which is supposed to decide what I do with the rest of my life.

Who decided life should be so cruel when we’re so young?

Seriously, how am I supposed to know what I want to do or be? People in my class, I hear them talking, and they want to be zoologists and teachers and engineers and electricians and game developers, and I have no clue about any of it. I don’t know how to be that guy who just lands on his feet.

I’ve looked at my options. I’ve been looking at them for a long time. I still have no idea. This morning, I asked the guidance counsellor about it. I asked her, in these exact words, “How do I know what to do with the rest of my life?”

She said there’s a test for it. We did that test. It didn’t help me. I told her that, and she said I should look at what I’m studying, look at what I’m interested in, look at what I want to do with my life, and try decide from there. One word for that: fuck.

See, I don’t think anything I study really goes together in college, except maybe French and Business. And I don’t want to continue studying French at a remedial level. Sometimes I feel like the most French I know is Je ne parle pas francais. Your move, oral examiner.

Anyway, I did what she said. I tried to, anyway. I told her I liked playing the ukulele, even though I wasn’t very good at it, and she asked if I’d consider music. Then I told her, in no uncertain terms, that when I said I wasn’t very good, I really meant I can play three chords, and I can’t sing very well, so I would never, ever, get into a music course unless they were desperate. And anyway, I can’t read music. So I’m kind of hopeless in that regard. Fun for me!

She recommended a Business course, because they’re always useful, or maybe something in Communications. I shrugged, because how do I explain this… my parents are against the idea of me studying Business for some reason. I think they’re afraid I’ll suddenly find myself surrounded by people from regularly functioning families and, when I get a job at a big bank, suddenly up and leave and never talk to them again. I love my parents, but they are definitely insane. I guess that’s genetic.

That leaves Communications, but I don’t think I’m a good fit for it. You know, because I can’t communicate well with other people. I don’t know how to talk to people, or what makes them laugh, and I think I would struggle to fit in to a course that requires its students to be able to talk.

She kept throwing out suggestions, because I guess I looked that lost sitting in her tiny little office, and do you know what she said? Arts. Fucking Arts. As in a generic Arts degree in any college in the damn country, because from there I can make up my mind and specialise in something. Or, I can cost my parents twelve thousand euro to put me through a course that will never get me a job if I don’t figure out in those four years what I want to do.

Fucking Arts.

I told her no, right then and there. I told her Arts isn’t for me. Not because I’ve heard no one with an Arts degree gets a job. Not because I have anything against Arts degrees. No, I told her no because I don’t think I’ll figure out what I want to do while doing an Arts degree. I told her I didn’t want to waste four years of my life that would be better spent working in a shop, because the whole point of an Arts degree is that you specialise in it and then specialise further in a Masters or something.

She said something to do with Chemistry. I told her I’m a C Average in the subject. She said something in Geography, maybe Geology, and I said I don’t have the stones for it. She kicked me out for not taking it seriously.

So now I have to figure it out by myself, and I just don’t know. I just don’t know.

Fucking Arts.


[Previous: The Meaning of School]


About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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2 Responses to Decisions to Make

  1. Pingback: The Meaning of School | ParagraVerse

  2. Pingback: So That Sucked | ParagraVerse

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