I feel that at this juncture in life, this word should be chaperoned at all times by the Jaws theme tune. The owner of the eponymous jaws and my imminent destiny have a lot in common, it seems: both are ominous, unknown and rapidly approaching. Unfortunately, one is a badly animated shark and the other is an impending reality. Both are terrifying.

Recently, along with half of Cambridge, I've been reflecting on my future (DUH duh... See what I mean?) As everyone scrabbles for internships like climbers scaling a well-paying rockface, I am doing what I do best: filling with existential angst and doing nothing about it, like a dinghy with a leak and a cheerful acceptance of its inevitable sinkage — or, in my case, unemployment.

Were there ever any prospects for a Theology student? I hear you ask. Good question. My original plan in terms of career progression went something like this: Undergraduate Tripos Theologian to Pope. Simple, but effective. “Shoot for the moon,” as the saying goes, “and you’ll land among the Archbishops.” This was always going to be a challenging endeavour, considering I am neither the required gender nor religion to fit the job description. You might say this makes it impossible; I say minor details. Rumour has it that in the 7th Century A.D. there was a female Pope — Pope Joan. This was something of a Medieval April Fools, because apparently the idea of God divulging his authority to a woman was just as hilarious then as it is to some institutions today. But, real or otherwise, Pope Joan is my idol and worthy of the slightly anachronistic title of Absolute Girlboss.

I refuse to spend summer wrapped up in a corporate bubble

“If Plan A [Popehood] doesn’t work out, there’s always the law conversion…”, my demons whisper to me at night. As the daughter of a lawyer, some might see this grisly fate as a natural step, but A) it would make my dad far too happy and B) as much as I love to lawyer people on occasion, I think studying law, although it might result in a mansion with heated floors, a pool, and a complex of tennis courts, would suck every ounce of creativity from my strangely-wired little brain — at least, all that Cambridge hasn’t already bashed out of me.

Scrap Popehood and the law. While the rest of the world is going into finance over summer, I will be spending a month living with an Amish community in the hope of finding a new perspective, and another month exploring the ghost stories of Buenos Aires. I’ll get a job in a 24-hour ASDA to finance it all (although I’m hoping the Amish family will give me free bread if I help raise the occasional barn), and an internship can wait. Being in second year, I only have one guaranteed summer left, and I refuse to spend it wrapped up in a corporate bubble or trapped in an office without John Krasinski in it. There’s the rest of my life to try that.

Take a breath and relish the now rather than worrying about the not-yet

My usual answer to the question of what I want to do with my life goes something like this. I want to live in a shed in South Carolina with four things: a Great Dane called Matthieu, peace, quiet and a typewriter. That doesn’t feel like a lot to ask from the world. In return, the world can ask for the occasional story and enough dog turd to provide compost for a colony of small farms — perhaps this could be my long-term method of repaying the hospitality of the Amish.

Our friends so often seem to have it all together: a First and twenty Spring Weeks in the bag before the end of Michaelmas. There’s an unspoken competitiveness when we discuss future plans with fellow students — we discuss internships, work experience, and fan-girl over LinkedIn viewings. We ignore how indecisive and lost some people are — if we did, perhaps we’d realise that most of us won’t become multi-millionaires over summer vacation, and that there’s something to be said for focusing on the present and enjoying our final season of relative freedom. If we let ourselves, we can get so lost in our schemes for the future that we blink and it’s already upon us, the once-present reduced to a hazy memory, a speck in the distance, not to be retrieved.

My point is: don’t panic. Allow yourselves time to be young and carefree and spontaneous. Stop judging your future based on the equally hypothetical futures of the people around you. Take a breath and relish the now rather than worrying about the not-yet. The future will be here soon enough; the present takes its leave without serenade or fanfare, slipping away unnoticed if you let it. Congratulations to all of you who are ready and poised to enter the “real” world — you should be proud of how hard you’ve worked. But to those as unprepared as I am, know that the world you’re in now is just as real. There’s always more time than you think — maybe we should take a leaf from the Amish’s book and slow the heck down.