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Summer Breeze Don’t Make Me Feel Fine

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Five minutes ago my summer began, and a sense of unfulfillment manifested within me, so the following blog is brought to you by failure. To celebrate I am getting intimate with a Jos Louis, before it can be fully ingested into my stomach, where it can then get intimate with the stomach ache inducing Redbull, which currently seems to be simultaneously killing me and keeping me conscious. Thirty-something hours before my feast commenced, I awoke in my basement in Thornhill, so that I could begin studying for the final exam of my third year of University. That can also mean thirty-something hours ago I finally accepted my fate that either I begin learning the material for a course that I know absolutely nothing about, or I fail as horrifically as a Redbull and Jos Louis fueled heart. Now after thirty-six sleepless hours of attempting to fill my mind with meaningless course material, that would absolve from my memory faster than I could skim through the textbooks to even learn it, everything has subsided other than feelings that another year has passed, and still I do not take my life seriously.

Tomorrow, after this crazy one-man Vachon orientated party subsides, I will find myself back where I woke up one and a half days ago. Upon arrival my parents will congratulate me on another year of lazily dragging myself through university, by inevitably nagging me to go out and get a summer job. A job, the very thing that this entire University experience has been preparing me for, this should be easy, right? Wrong! As it turns out businesses are not looking to train University students to perform at a job for a span of five months, only so that they can quit, and go back to school where they can resume jerking-off to Game of Thrones with their fraternity brothers. Warning: do not join Cream Epsilon Pi. Although in retrospect the Cream-E-Pi shirts that were handed out on orientation day should have been a tell-tale sign of what was to come. Regardless, it is now time for myself to half-heartedly search for the position which is bound keep me in this constant loop of working mind-numbing jobs, the type of positions that make you feel like “if this I my life then I am probably just better off just eating Jos Louis and drinking red bull until I die.”

Sorry to disappoint, yet I am still here. It seems all that has really changed at the moment is the palpability of my life’s mediocrity, the apparency of which is now revealing itself to me through the Vachon wrappers spread out across my lap, leftover from whichever sugar filled substance my body is urgently fighting to ingest, and as my stomach ache fills my conscious, my subconscious has entered a continuous battle against a feeling of unfulfillment which my mind is immersed within. Obviously the person that I was three years ago when I graduated from high school is not identical to the one currently typing, but resumes do not measure your growth in maturity, or your ability to get intimate with a whole entire women, what they measure is academic achievements. So whenever I search for employment it becomes apparent that only a limited number of jobs are going to be handed out to 130 pound Philosophy students, who over their three years in University have only truly developed skills at watching Netflix, a deep appreciation for frozen meals, and an urge to write publicly about the average adolescent life that has entrapped them. Where did it all go so wrong? I mean I expected Nextflix to provide more content.

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Whenever I look back at the high school I once attended in Thornhill, Ontario, before I left for University, the only real struggle for any of the students that had become apparent in each of our lives was the struggle not to fit in. We were literally all the same, while some of us appeared to be trying quite hard to fit in, the majority just could not help it, in comparison to one another we were all just painfully average. As a result a portion of those around me begun to cling to the minor dissimilarities that had begun to fill in their own spare time away from school, while in school, the majority began to find separation through their own academic achievements. All day growing up, surrounding me were other kids who may have looked different, or had different names, but unless one grasped onto some sort of unique hobby, like loving OneDirection, making YouTube videos, or thinking Nutella is gods poop, there was truly no way of telling anyone apart other than by those achievements that were made while we were altogether in school. The majority of my classmates came from the exact same circumstances as me; the Jewish parents who aspired to have them turn out more successful than their peers, just so that they can show them off to the other Jewish parents, an upper-middle class ‘keep up with the joneses’ lifestyle that the neighbourhood breeds, and the expectation that once they graduate at the top of their class from high school each one of them will attend the University of Western Ontario, where they will join a frat, likely not Cream-E-Pi, before either crushing or fulfilling those dreams of success laid out before them by their overbearing parents. As we grew up together, so did the habits that individuals clung to, and those habits suddenly began to transform into yet another similarity that drove the majority even closer together. Obviously this did not mean my entire high school was listening to OneDirection, yet now everyone was on Facebook, or Twitter, or was suddenly using their cellphone applications to recognize who farted, while they sat with their friends eating overpriced sushi, drinking Starbucks, and talking about Skrillex. Once again we were inseparable, it was like a game of “Where’s Waldo?” where everyone was Waldo. The only real way to distinguish Waldo’s as we continued to grow older suddenly seemed to become our own individual successes, mainly our academic ones.

In an environment that unavoidably conditions you to have expectations of financial success, it is needless to say that if I got a position at McDonalds this summer, one of those positions that far exceeds my own set of qualifications, then holding such a position would be viewed as some sort of shame, or disappointment. It would stand out as something to be looked down upon by those who I grew up with. Each day the accomplishments posted onto various social media websites by old schoolmates, allow me to share in their own successes, as I use their fledgling lives to fill the void in my own, in what could only be defined as a never ending social-media high school reunion. It is as if I am currently watching everyone that has ever entered into my life surpass me in real-time, as the pressure to begin talking my own life seriously, and avoid being left behind, is mounting itself through constant updates on my Facebook newsfeed. While a large amount of my peers find themselves one step closer to med-school, or higher up in their families company at the end of this school year, I have stuck myself with reflections that are defined by repeated mistakes, disappointment, impaired by a continuous struggle to progress past a box of Jos Louis, and the children’s book series “Where’s Waldo?”.

But what if this is all just instilled in me as a result of the environment that I find myself a product of? What if being lost and jobless after another year away at University, or working at McDonalds for a summer, is nothing to be looked down upon, and the real problem is this attitude that we have gained wherein the entirety of our lives, mainly our happiness, depends solely on these personal successes. It is hard not fall into this feeling that my life is set to revolve around financial or personal accomplishments that I never intended to achieve. While my own aspirations do not match those which have become the norm, they are often clouded by this feeling that somehow I must work keep up with all of my former and current classmates. As if now, three years into University, is the time to start taking my mediocre accomplishments seriously. At this point my depressing one-man celebration must come to an end. If anything comes from this post I hope it is that those who feel as though they are drowning in these pressures for success can realize that they are not alone; we are all just Waldo’s.

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Jacob Balshin

Jacob Balshin