Ayla is 21-years-old and is studying Screenwriting and Film Studies. Her favourite poet is Sylvia Plath. Ayla decided to get involved with Student Life to share her thoughts in a hope that they will inspire others.
Starting university, I went in thinking that I could build the ‘perfect’ experience. I imagined myself as quite the academic; hunched over library books until midnight, writing outstanding academic papers, and becoming this excellent writer. I thought could achieve absolutely anything. But, now going into third year, I can’t help but think back on this preconception. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my experience at university it’s that it’s not about what grades you get, but the experiences you have.
Despite being very academically capable, second year was a struggle for me. In pursuit of good grades, I felt like I was barely keeping afloat. What’s more, I would create more work for myself by taking on too many things. I am terrible at saying ‘yes’ to everything. Because I had such a visual image of what I thought my university experience should be like, I wasn’t prepared to give that up. I would pass up opportunities with my friends and family for this goal. I think a lot of this comes down to who my influences are; lecturers, past teachers, poets, philosophers, playwrights, filmmakers. For years, I have lived in an academic bubble. I have always wanted to be someone who creates something memorable, and still do.
But, you don’t have to be so devoted that you forget everything else going on around you. As I’ve mentioned, university is about the experiences you build and the opportunities you take on. When I think back, my favourite moments from university are when me and my best friend couldn’t stop laughing. When I’ve seen a beautiful sunset on the walk home after an intense day. When I’ve had a fantastic PASS session with my students and they’ve told me something I didn’t know before. Or, when my boyfriend has cooked me a beautiful meal. When I compare this to getting a First on a paper I’ve written, I know what I will cherish more.