By Sophia de Guzman
This is a satire piece from our Fun Issue, The Darkest Timeline. Life has become such a clusterfuck that it’s hard to tell the difference between reality and satire. While this is a made up story, it’s rooted in truth and research to provide social commentary. Have fun reading!
“So, what are you going to do after you graduate high school?”
Before I had close to an idea of how to answer that question, I knew exactly how I wasn’t going to answer it. My answer would not include: backpacking, hostels, wanderlust and definitely not self-discovery. In other words, I didn’t want to take a gap year. At first.
I know there are people who need to take a gap year to work and afford school, or just want to go straight to work. I’m mainly talking about the people who wanted to “find themselves” during their gap year.
I thought my life was exactly where it should be—in the heart of the biggest city in Canada. Who needs to see the fountains at the Palace of Versailles in France on a Contiki tour around Europe? The ones at the Eaton Centre suffice. I thought I’d be perfectly happy standing here, in Pitman Hall’s screechy elevator, sweating slightly as the musty, metal coffin drags itself up to my delightfully beige room.
I sucked it up, I think as I pull out my multi-million dollar textbooks from my bag. Instead of pouring thousands of dollars into airline tickets, hostels and Hydro Flasks, I poured it into my education.
Some could say that by going through all this education and losing some of the best years of my life to The Man and his Institution instead of taking some time to enjoy a world that is quickly disappearing is me totally drinking the kool-aid.
I’ll be the first to agree with that—but only if the world gets Pompeii-ed by 2030. There was truth to what my parents and teachers told me: I’m the future. If I have my life mapped out correctly, I’m going to spend the next four years doing my undergrad, another four years in medical school, another three years of either an internal medicine or pediatrics residency and then finally two to three years of rheumatology fellowship.
According to the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting, there’s only 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. If I do the math, 14 years of school minus 11 years equals… unemployment.
My hippie cousin couldn’t have been right when he said that I should “totally take some time to soul search” and that trekking in the Himalayas is “totally enlightening.” Or was he?
My mom always says that soul searching is just something Millennials say to get out of doing some good ol’ fashioned hard work. However, my mom is a boomer who has never faced the harsh reality of the ever-changing job market and will die before she has to feel the real consequences of the climate crisis. She’s not really knowledgeable on this subject.
What really is the point of staying in school if our future seems fucked? Maybe the people bathing elephants in Thailand as part of a “soul-searching journey” had it right all along.
Toward the end of October, I have five midterms all taking place in the span of one terrible afternoon, but it’s probably all for a brighter future. My ex-best friend takes Instagram photos with hot men in foreign countries, but I think it’s responsible to be putting my skills to good use. Earlier this morning I may have stepped in dog shit-sized rat shit, but it’s gonna be worth it, right?
On second thought, if I fly with WestJet, a one-way ticket to Bangkok is only $850.