Changing selves

On Monday, I sat down on a nine-to-five pre-thesis seminar on, literally, how to survive (and ace) your thesis. Next to me sat another girl who was going to do an Honors’ thesis in Creative Writing. We started to talk.

It was nine, and as we had just finished our holiday, coffee seemed to be the obvious topic.

‘Yeah, I’d like some coffee, but I’m going to save it for lunch break – if I have it now, I wouldn’t get through the day,’ I said.

‘Good point,’ she said, holding her cold, bottled Iced Coffee. ‘I don’t drink coffee though. This,’ she gestured to her freshly bought supermarket coffee, ‘was an exception. Coffee’s just too bitter for me.’

‘You live in Melbourne, how do you not drink coffee?’ I half-joked.

‘I know,’ she said, laughing. ‘For me, coffee was just coffee. And it was bitter. I prefer to drink something sweet.’

‘Well, I actually used to love hot chocolate. But now, I hate it – it’s just too sweet.’

‘Huh, weird. I love hot chocolate,’ she said.

‘Yeah, weird,’ I echoed.

Our taste changes over time. And it doesn’t just happen with chocolate and coffee, but our choices of clothes and food. Example: I used to love prawns. Now, I don’t. I used to be a tomboy, now, well, I get slightly more feminine.

And sitting at that intensive seminar proved another point: what, and how we think, changes over time.

If you ask me two years ago about whether I’d ever do research, I’d say no. A big, fat no. I hated research. I turned down a prestigious Honors in Psychology because I didn’t want to be a researcher. (Yes, there was a slight hint of regret on that last sentence.)

Fast-forward to now, and I’m officially a researcher. Well, at the very least, I’m going to be in a relationship with my thesis for the next twelve months.

I know, I’ve changed.

I still don’t love the idea of research, but I don’t hate it (at the moment). On a cruel twist of fate, I’ve actually been employed at Melbourne University’s research department as a videographer for a year now.

The old-me would laugh at the now-me: the old-me turned down her Honors offer; the new-me chose to do thesis instead of the usual coursework subjects.

This makes me think: probably the things that we absolutely hate at the moment may be more palatable in the future. 

Probably what needs to change is ourselves – our ways of thinking and our approaches in seeing life.

Probably we should keep an open mind. Probably what we need is some time away. Probably change is not that bad. (Especially when that change includes proving yourself wrong.)

Photo by Raul Lieberwirth, Creative Commons