Regaining a Sense of Purpose

By Emma Rowley

About a week and a half ago, I watched a Cambridge Union Debate on the Climate Crisis. One of the speakers, a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, warned of the state of the Earth. The Climate Crisis being what it is, I was terrified. The past week has been me googling climate stats and fretting endlessly about things that are completely and utterly outside of my control.

When I’m in uni, I’m happier. I spend a lot of my time in the library, working on university work and then getting direct feedback in supervisions. The system works well for me; I work hard, I get feedback, I try again, I improve myself. And me doing that, enjoying it and being there means that the university is staffed, people are paid, academia is advanced, the world and humanity benefits. Simply by going to a university, humanity is benefited. And I get to learn things, so then I get to have a job, pay my taxes, and benefit society. It works well.

Also, when I’m at uni, I’m surrounded by people. If I’m sad, I get cheered up. If they’re sad, I cheer them up. I am locked within a sense of constant moving community, and I understand if I am happy then I am best placed to make others happy. Because it helps others when I am happy, I enjoy and embrace happiness.

Now, in lockdown, with exams over, no internship, and a sense of dread over the Climate Crisis and no one to see (I live with a mum who is constantly at work and a brother constantly in his bedroom), I am completely losing sense of what I ought to be doing with my time. It feels like I’m benefitting no one.

I feel unable to do physical charity work because of the restrictions, so I need to find things to do online, because I’m losing my sense of purpose, and what my time on this Earth is for. I feel like I’ve become a consumer that does not benefit the world around me, and I have to change that. I have to be useful for others in a way I’ve not been before.

I need to help those less fortunate than I am because at the moment I’m stuck here being fortunate without really benefitting anyone. I can’t hug my friends better anymore or help with the process of academia. But I can and I will try my best to make a difference to this world.