The First Year Experience: Runaway Student

 
 

With midterms and essays upon her, Lucy Montague-Moffat isn’t quite sure she can handle the pressure

This week I mostly watched Runaway Bride. Well once. But even once is a big commitment, especially since watching it was the only productive thing I did all week. As you have probably guessed from my choice of film, I wasn’t exactly in great form this week. Not romantically, or anything stupid like that. I wasn’t reaching for the Julia Roberts section of my film collection (in truth my whole film collection is Julia Roberts classics) to fill some horrible boy induced wound in my soul. No, the reason I dragged myself through the 90 minute will she/won’t she thriller was because it was the stupidest thing I could find on Netflix, which is saying a lot, and stupid is exactly what I needed.

I had a bad week. It was raining for one. As a cyclist I must say that rain is not my friend. I don’t mind it so much if I am cycling home and am able to dry off in the privacy of my own room, but spending six hours squelching around the Newman building is far from fun. However, I am using rain as an excuse. It is just such a handy one! I often find myself believing my own rain related bullshit: “No Lucy, go back to sleep, it’s raining. No one expects you to go to work while it’s raining. You’ll most definitely get sick and die if you leave the house.”

Okay, rain is off the hook. To explain the reason for my bad week I must first explain a really lovely trait that has been part of my personality my entire life. It is called self-sabotage and its gloomy shadow follows me wherever I go. Anytime I am almost good at something, or start to achieve anything remotely impressive I immediately back away, quit or use rain as an excuse to not do it anymore. I have no idea why I am programmed this way, maybe it’s just pure laziness or some crazy fear I have inside of success: “Ah, achievements, get away from me!”

If I look back at my life (yes, I just went there) these self-sabotage situations crop up constantly, to a point where I get so frustrated I have to stop thinking about them and go watch Runaway Bride. For instance, when I was 12, I changed gymnastics class and started going to this amazing Russian coach. After a few sessions he told my Dad he had really high hopes for me and refused to let my Dad pay for my classes. It was at this point that I decided my gymnastics career was over and I’d much prefer hanging out in my room reading Mizz magazine for hours on end instead.

Or take when I was 16 and a literary agent said she would be interested in publishing a novel I had sent her. All I had to do was a bit of editing and storyline changes. After a year of procrastination I decided that I didn’t like my book anymore and let go of the whole idea.

These are just two examples. But you would think with age, maturity and experience I would have slowly grown up and out of this horrible routine of ruining every opportunity that I get. How I wish it was all that simple. No, apparently my self-sabotage creep is still firmly by my side, whispering sweet nothings into my ear about spending whole days in bed and ordering take-away at 2pm, like a boss.

Last week I decided that taking a week off college was a very sensible, almost noble, thing to do. It wasn’t that I was overworked or dying with rain-induced pneumonia, it was simply that I deserved it. I lounged around the place, putting any food I could forage in my mouth, and watching documentaries in an attempt to make myself feel less guilty about missing out on real education.

I had a golden week the week before, apart from tutorials, but who counts them? I was on top of all my college work, was finally noticing that I was learning new information and could actually understand most of what the lecturers were talking about. I even talked in a tutorial, loads. Like, they couldn’t shut me up. Now here I was, putting on my runners under my wedding dress, scampering away from anything that I could be vaguely good at all over again. I am now really behind in all my subjects and it feels awful. I know I can catch up and I have got some time to get everything done but it is just all extra bad because it is self-inflicted.

I heard a woman talking in the corridor today about how she was so sick last week that she couldn’t physically get up. She was telling her friend that she has three huge essays due this week and didn’t know how she was going to get them done. All my problems seemed immensely insignificant compared to hers but at least she doesn’t have the extra burden of the horrible guilt, because when it is your own fault that you are failing life, your brain isn’t going to let you forget it.

Now that I am so aware of this trail of self-sabotage history stalking me through my life I think it is time to make a decision. What am I going to do about it? I need to choose whether I am going to turn around half way down that aisle and make a mad dash for the nearest vehicle to speed away from my new life in, or if am I going to just take the plunge and marry Richard Gere. Well, he is super charming. I’ll give him that.

Read: Lucy Montague Moffat’s third ‘First Year Experience’ entry

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