LifestyleOur Generation

I’m Just Not That Into U(ni)

posted by Dan Carter January 27, 2016 19 Comments

They say there’s nothing like doing something you hate to find out what you love. They would be right…


I arrive for my lecture fashionably late, coffee in hand. Trying to be as discrete as possible (and not make a scene) I find a seat on the back row. “Today is the day”, I tell myself. Today I’m going to focus and make the most of this crazy opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the world. I set a timer and decide I’ll keep concentrating for 10 minutes at a time. It’s much easier in small doses.


As I sit and try to get to grips with the jumble that’s being read off from the presentation, I can’t help but day dream about where I’d rather be. I dream about everything I could be doing and think about everything I have done. And it’s now that I get angry about my current situation. Angry at what feels like the biggest waste of time. I’m not listening to what she’s ranting on about way down on the stage floor. I’m not getting anything at all out of this. Why? Because I’m not putting anything into it. I want to be vaguely interested in this course and I can try but I can’t lie.


“What a waste of time!” I imagine all the things I could be doing right now. “Right, that’s it. When I get out of here I’m taking my camera and I’m going to go… There’s no way I am going to let this day go to waste!”


And it’s around now I realise that doing things you hate, forcing yourself to do those things that you really don’t want to do, day in and day out, helps you realise what you love. I use this potential frustration and negativity to drive me to do more, to take more risks, book more flights, have more adventures. Sitting, doing what I hate, makes me ten times more motivated to earn money for my next adventure.


But what I just can’t comprehend is: Where do I go from here? I know the value of higher education and I am aware of the doors that a degree will open and the doors that remain closed without one. Perhaps I can use a few of those hours for extra motivation but I could definitely use those 20 hours a week far more effectively. Doing things to get by, to scrape through and ‘get it done’ is not my vibe at all and I’m not sure I can bare that for much longer.


I guess what I’m trying to say is… it’s not all hiking and waterfalls and I don’t expect it to be; Yet right now, I’m not sure whether half of what I am doing has any real value.


Still, I’m typing this up over an incredible coffee: Life is good! I only question what I am doing because I refuse to believe we should allow ourselves to live some mediocre life. I refuse to believe it’s okay to ‘just get by’. I refuse to accept we cannot wake up every day and enjoy, look forward to and relish in the day ahead. I refuse to believe adventures are to be watched and not experienced. Sure there will be bad days but we have just one life and I want to live for now. Questioning where you are and what you are doing can only be positive so long as we appreciate and accept what is and make the most of what we’ve got.



There’s one thing we must remember and that’s that we all have a choice. Sure, we can make a terrible decision but that decision is ours to make and ours alone. No one can make that decision for you. If you’re waking up and dreading the day ahead, know that it’s your choice. When you realise that, more often than not you realise what your doing isn’t actually so bad at all.

What’s the plan from here? Your guess is as good as mine. Did I foresee this would happen? Absolutely. Any regrets? Not one.


Photos by Matt Miszczak (@sliceofmatt)

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Mina Mirovic January 27, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Such a great post! I relate to this so much, sitting in class day dreaming, getting out of uni and still trying to make most of the day… I agree with everything you said about not settling and pursing something you love even thought at this moment you don’t know exactly what it is 🙂 Good luck with everything and i can’t wait to see how you journey unfolds. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Dan Carter January 27, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Hey Mina,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Reading your comment made me glad I posted the blog! Good luck to you as well, wherever your path may lead!

Myriam(@Myriam95x) January 27, 2016 at 6:52 pm

This is so inspiring! Thank you dan 🙂

Dan Carter January 27, 2016 at 11:24 pm

I’m really pleased to hear that. Thanks for reading!

Luke Dudley January 27, 2016 at 11:46 pm

I think a lot of people studying at university, like myself, have all questioned its value and spent lectures dreaming of the next big adventure. But I think going to uni was one of those big adventures I have spent time dreaming about in the past. Sure, it’s not the most exciting thing at times, but I do get things from it and hopefully will benefit from it further in the future! Great post Dan! I hope you work out the best thing for you!

Dan Carter January 28, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Yes Luke!! Thanks so much for your comment. I think you are 100% right – it’s definitely one of the biggest, life changing adventures you could possibly have. While every situations different, I’m glad you also could relate.

Have a good week 🙂

Michael S January 28, 2016 at 12:00 am

I agree with everything so much!
I can’t believe how content many people I’ve met are letting their lives pass them bye, and making their young adulthood into a blur of lectures and drinking.
So few prioritizes fitness, so few prioritizes travel, so few prioritizes significant experiences.
Reading posts and comments like this make me feel good that there are people out there who are trying not to settle, and not waste their potential.
Thanks for that
Whatever your plans are in the future, good luck man!

Dan Carter January 28, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Thanks Michael! Yeah… I guess the great thing is everyone is different and have different priorities. In a few years time, I reckon my priorities will change again. Maybe it’s just about doing whatever feels right for us now, and not thinking about what everyone else is doing…?

Good luck in whatever you are doing!

Lucy Milson January 30, 2016 at 1:10 am

This post has really made me think about my situation. I’m at uni at the moment but would love to travel the world. Your post puts everything into perspective and has inspired me to do more! Thank you for your constant positivity and inspiring work!

Dan Carter January 31, 2016 at 11:24 pm

Thanks for your reply Lucy! So happy to hear that. That’s the beauty of uni holidays I guess, so much time to explore. Hope you have a great week 🙂

Kelly Chase January 31, 2016 at 2:45 am

Love this post Dan! I lived my whole life thinking college was the route for me (and pretty much everyone) until I actually got there and only lasted a semester haha. If you think it’s the right thing for you then by all means keep trudging through toward that degree, huge props to ya! As for me, I’m so much happier and feel so much freer now without school- the simultaneous stress and monotony just wasn’t working for me. I think it’s super important to remember that just because someone doesn’t fit in with the post secondary education lifestyle doesn’t mean they’re not a motivated, interested and capable being with a damn bright sparkle in their eye. It’s all situational in the end, school means something different for everyone. I wish you luck in your journey, hope to catch ya along the way someday!

Dan Carter January 31, 2016 at 11:28 pm

This comment made my day. I think you summed up exactly what I was rambling on about in this post. “It’s all situational”! It’s so easy to compare our situation with everyone else and worry we aren’t doing the same thing at the same time when we are actually all on our own path, at our own pace. Love this. Thank you for your thoughts. Hope everything is going well for you 🙂

Dustin Grace February 29, 2016 at 11:35 am

Hi Dan,
Thanks for this post. Puts a lot into perspective for me.
I find myself often sitting and thinking of similar dilemmas. I am living in JHB, South Africa, and doing my articles whilst studying my accounting degree. I used to constantly dream of travelling all over and find good views to accompany me on my runs (avid runner).
This year I finally decided to stop dreaming and start doing, I am starting small with just adventures in and around South Africa before going abroad.
I am very lucky to have so many amazing places around me in South Africa!
I have one year of studies and articles left before I have free time on my hands to do more and get involved in more adventures. Can’t wait for then to start exploring on a broader basis.
You and many others (Ben Brown, Louis, SP, George Benson, etc.) have been such an inspiration to start living my dreams so thanks very much!

Can you possibly do a blog on tips and tricks to travel with limited time and budgets if possible?

Love what you are doing with Unogwaja. Hope the running is going well.
Are you running the Two Oceans in March?
I am coming down to race the Two Oceans and would love to bump into you.

Cheers and thanks again.

Dan Carter February 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Hey Dustin,

Thanks so much for your comment. That’s awesome that you’ve been inspired to explore more of SA! One year is going to go so fast so hang in there! Must be amazing to have such a variety of places to explore on your doorstep.

I’m actually really keen to do a blog about travelling on a budget, so keep an eye out for that in the next few weeks! Also stoked you are excited about the work with Unogwaja too, had you heard of them before?

I’d love to be running Two Oceans but I’m not going to be in CT in March unfortunately, it’s definitely on the list for future years though! That’s epic that you are running though, it looks like a beautiful event.

Good luck and enjoy!
Keep exploring.


Dustin Grace March 4, 2016 at 8:36 am

Nope, can’t say I had ever heard of Unogwaja previously. I am based in JHB, is there anyone up in JHB that I could possibly talk to from the project to possibly also get involved and help out?
Very stoked for Two Oceans, really looks beautiful. First time running in CPT so I’m excited!

Dan Carter March 8, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Cool! Yes, if you have twitter definitely contact them on @theunogwaja or @johnmcinroy who is based in CT and he will be able to direct you to someone in JHB. I am 99% sure there is a red sock run in your hometown. You are going to LOVE running in CT!

Davide Brugiolo April 19, 2016 at 9:34 am

Hey Dan, first this is a really good post second for how weird it sounds i’m literally sitting in one of the back rows listening to a lesson in my uni and fantasizing about what i could do and how exactly like a couple of week ago when i ended up jumping on a train to Venice and visiting most of it including some little islands around it, i have not a big budget but i luckily live around some amazing places so i take those little day trips trying to find a balance between uni and fun. Then i often spend more time eding picture and lately I’m trying to edit my first short video and im happy when i do it but later i feel like i wasted time that i could be using for uni. Seeing other comments and this post made me realize that im not the only one and somehow i hope to find my way out of this not so happy period i’m living now. Sorry for my bad English..
Have a nice day,bye

Cody November 16, 2016 at 8:22 pm

I know I’m replying to this months later but I absolutely love the message in this blog, Dan. I only have three weeks left before I complete my degree and more and more I find myself struggling with what to do next. I’m an amateur “photographer” who is absolutely in love with watching YouTube adventurers, you among my favorites alongside Ben Brown. Hope that one day I’ll have the opportunity to pursue my passions like you. Keep moving forward, Dan! Thanks for the awesome content.

Dan Carter November 22, 2016 at 7:36 am

So happy you found it and thanks for your kind words.

You’re so nearly done so that’s awesome. Don’t worry or even think too much about what to do next. Just keep doing things you enjoy, start earning money and you’ll begin to ‘find your feet’ and without knowing it you’ll start following a path. I don’t think we need to always be able to ‘see’ where you are going.


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