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M√ľnster, Germany

Back Then

by Jan

It was just another ordinary break from writing my master’s thesis. I had been sitting in the University library for the entire day reading one article after the other trying to make sense of it all.


It was actually the first day it started coming together in my head. The direction I wanted to go had formed and the material I was working with proved reliable. But somehow I was still scared I might not finish on time. This feeling did not seem to leave me, even though I had been working in the library from 10am to 10pm the last couple of weeks. All day. Every day. Maybe that’s why I hadn’t taken a break all day. I finally locked up my books and laptop and headed straight for the bench outside the library.
I walked passed all the other students who were on their break. They formed these little groups and you could hear them talking about all those different topics. From mathematics to political science. From family law to physics. There were other groups as well who were able to talk about something other than the next exam they had to pass or the term paper they had to hand in. They talked about the latest gossip, about the last party their friend had missed and the next party said friend would make sure not to miss again.
When I arrived at the bench I realized that it has been quite a while since I was part of such a group. All the friends I made when I started University had already graduaded, founds jobs and moved away. And here I was still not finished. I had planned to just take a short break, 10 minutes tops. But I kept staring at that clear blue sky and realized that I wasn’t afraid to not finish my thesis on time. I was actually afraid to hand it in and finish my studies, get my degree and probably move away. My inner voice was telling me that something was not right. I knew that I had attended University long enough, that it was time to finish it. But I somehow also knew that the path I had chosen was not the right one. Another thing to be scared of. I couldn’t just leave now, I had spent too much time and money. I started to listen to the other conversations around me in order to not have to listen to my inner voice. I eventually went back inside, got to work and finished my thesis. Handed it in on time. Got my degree. Moved away and found a job.
I should have been happy, because I had been able to finish something. I tried forcing myself to be happy. But it could only work for so long. Everything finally came crashing down. I did what I should have done back then. I quit my job and figured out what I really wanted to do with my life. I should have listened to my inner voice back then. Why did I not have the courage to do it back then?