The power of patience

I have never been a particularly patient person.

My natural mode is ‘fast’ – both mentally and physically. I walk everywhere with the pace of someone who is either incredibly late for something and/or enjoys partaking in competitive speed-walking. I’ve lost count of the amount of times a friend has told me they saw me in town the other day, but didn’t say anything because I ‘looked like I was in a rush’, when I thought I was just going for a casual stroll. My knee is almost always doing that nervous-bouncing-thing that many of us do, and I’m a chronic fidgeter.

Upstairs, my thoughts and feelings move around so quickly that sometimes I lose complete track of what I was doing or saying a few seconds ago. I work best when I’m paying attention to multiple things at once, and have lots to occupy my speedy brain, but then I also get burnt out and overstimulated by the 17 tasks I’m juggling simultaneously. I’m aware this whole intro just reads as a description of someone who should probably speak to their GP about an ADHD diagnosis, but that’s another article for another day.

This trait of mine was put to the absolute test when my Masters came to an end recently. I’d spent the majority of my life knowing I liked certain stuff (stories, words, talking to people, working in a team, being creative) but I’d never had that ‘eureka’ moment of fully realising a career goal or life’s passion. Growing up with two parents who very much do have a calling in life, this lack of direction always left me feeling a bit lost.

Then, I got three days into my Journalism course and was hit with the overwhelming feeling of ‘oh, shit, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ It came with its own pitfalls. Before, if I tried something and it didn’t work out, I’d be bummed about it, but able to move on. Now, there were stakes: I’d fallen in love with the entire world of journalism in a matter of weeks, and I wanted to be really good at it. I felt a drive and a need to be successful- I’d finally found my thing.

Unfortunately, just because you want something badly, that does not mean that the universe is going to play ball. I wanted to dive in and get started and do it all, but I had assignments and essays and job applications and personal commitments which had to take precedence.

On top of that, I was spending hours applying for jobs all over the country and getting rejection after rejection due to lack of experience. My chances of making it in the industry I had become completely enamoured with seemed to be dwindling.

On a particularly shaky night, I went and cried on my Mum, which, as we all know, is one of life’s best remedies. She stroked my hair and cooed over me, and told me that I had to be patient. She said things would work out, and that rushing through life stages was not the way to achieve what I wanted. She told me to breathe, slow down, and let it come to me

Of course, I scoffed at her: did she not realise that things were only going to go my way if I was highly strung and anxious and stressed about them every single second of every day? But she did have a point. Worrying myself sick about the future was not helping anyone.

So I slowed down. I focused on other things, and tried to make keeping myself well my top priority. And what do you know – within just a few days of my mum’s sage advice, the recruitment manager at Archant reached out to me to tell me about a new role they were going to be interviewing for.

Patience is still not in my wheelhouse, but my journey from terrified student to working in a newsroom has taught me many things. Now, when I find myself getting frustrated and restless, I remember the lessons I learned from this experience. Irritability is usually not productive. Being impatient about something you don’t have control over is only going to make you feel worse. And, of course, I was reminded of the most important cosmic rule of the universe: mums are usually right.

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Maja Anushka

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June 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

If you would like to get in touch, email the Editor on L.Hargreaves@uea.ac.uk. Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.