Oh Captain! My Captain! Let’s seize the day


The expectations of society are the main cause of our somewhat naively but beautifully ambitious childhood aspirations withering away, and altering into something deemed ‘more suitable’ as we get older. Why do we pressure ourselves to get a degree? Would taking a different path lead us to a life we would prefer?

From a young age we’ve been pushed to think about our future almost a little too much and constantly asked what we want to be when we grow up. For sure all of you answered things like: Doctor, Fire fighter, Lawyer, etc. Many also said they’d like to be a princess or superman; where did that dream go?

The concept of continually looking to the future means we forget to seize the day. I’m not sure that’s a great thing. It’s interesting how we live a life hoping for the next chapter. When we were children it was school, then it was university, next is the livers out house contract, career paths and so on. We should be reading the book but also enjoying every sentence of it, but we keep doing the opposite to what Carpe Diem stands for. There’s nothing wrong with planning every step of the way- that’s great if it’s balanced-but there’s a small line between enjoyment and always waiting for the next thing to happen.

There is the misconception that Carpe Diem is living a life of adventures and exploring the world in a motorbike, for example. Whereas the real meaning of Carpe Diem goes further than that- it’s about savouring life as it comes and not letting it get away before you’ve had a chance to take it in.

Nobody asks you what makes you happy or what do you enjoy, when surely that’s the most important thing. Our society makes it all about the career or how much money you’ll make. I wonder if people could actually challenge the stigma that the world has put among us and do what they are really passionate about? It might be getting a degree in Anthropology or serving with a charity in Zimbabwe or maybe learning many languages. It can be overwhelming thinking about all of the chances we get and there’s also a lot of pressure, but if we stop thinking about what we’ll do next, we are on the right track.

It’s possible to enjoy individual moments; it’s a matter of putting in the  extra effort to leave technology for a couple of minutes and just enjoy the simple things. When was the last time you’ve actually had a conversation without checking Facebook? It’s very hard to leave social media- its just part of our nature in the 21st  century- but we could do so much more in that time. Let’s challenge what society tells us to do; we might as well be the best we can and enjoy ourselves. We have the chance to make a difference and do what we love, whatever that might be.

Photograph: Durham University

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