“When I was your age…” is a phrase we have all heard before. As young adults, we have heard comments from our grandparents or older relatives about their lives when they were in their teenage years or their twenties. Stories about how they were back then, what their lives were like, and how they have grown up. I will dare to say that most of us laughed and listened when they talked to us about it, but we never took it too seriously; at the end of the day, they could never understand us.
However, we can relate to their stories more than we think, and so, when they speak, we should pay attention to what they’re really saying. We tend to forget that, people who are now in their sixties or seventies, were once in their twenties, trying to figure out adult life and, some of them, trying to figure out university – just like we are!
As a university student, I’ve struggled with figuring out what I want or what I should do, so it feels comforting talking to older people and realizing that they were once in my shoes, and they figured it out. After all, the oldest people tend to be the wisest, they are the ones who have lived and experienced the most.
Last week, I approached some elderly Segovians, who will be kept anonymous to protect their identity, and asked them a simple question: “If you could say one thing to a current university student, what would you say?”
A lot of them were surprised I would ask them this, but they happily answered, and I thought their advice had to be shared, because, although it might not help you, it might just change the way you see things.
There was a general consensus among the different people I interviewed, which was to study what you love. Before you settle on a career, make sure you will like what you study, and make sure you will enjoy learning about those subjects. We are supposedly studying something that we will dedicate our lives to, at least our professional lives. Every day, we will wake up and, most likely, go to work in something related to our current degree, so make sure that what you’re studying will make it exciting to get up for work, that you will look forward to finishing a project for a client, or advancing your business, or going into the courtroom.
According to one of the women that talked to me: “Knowing what you want is the path to having a worthy future.” Don’t settle on a career, and don’t let others choose your future. There is a sentence that one of the men I talked to said that I think is very important to highlight: “If what you learn doesn’t help you experience something, it is not worth your while.”
Another one of the men that I approached mentioned something very interesting, that I believe not a lot of us think of while we’re in university. He pointed out a necessity to study and learn about more than what our degree is limited to. Do not only study business, but learn and research about law, too. Do not only study law, learn about psychology or politics. Do not limit your knowledge. Our minds are capable of a lot, and it would be a waste to not let them expand themselves. This same man, however, claimed that the most important thing was to live and experience things. Study a lot, and study hard, but do not forget to experience life at its fullest, because that is what will bring the most knowledge, and, in his own words: “it is what will set you free.”
Lastly, another woman pointed out the importance of managing our time well. There must be a balance between university, social life, and personal life, and this balance is what will bring you well-being.
University life is not easy, so sometimes we have to turn to those who have already experienced it, and listen to their stories. Soon, you will be the one re-telling your university experience to a younger generation.