June 14th 2015
Today I’m reviewing my time at University with one word: the word in the title of this post. Sheep.
Firstly, let me remind you that I studied Maths at Cardiff University. Cardiff is in Wales. If you, reader, are British then you’ll know the stigma attached to Wales that all there is here is sheep, and firstly, I refute that. The only time I see sheep is on my way into and out of Wales. When I’m driving before and after the Severn Bridge (depending on which direction I am travelling) there are a couple of hills and fields with a load of sheep, but apart from them, I don’t see many. Granted, you’re not likely to see many sheep walking around a capital city, but if Wales was as overrun with sheep as everyone says then there’d be far more than a couple fields worth. Saying that, there’s more people than sheep in South Wales but when you get anywhere North of Cardiff then I’m sure that ratio flips.
So I, at least, don’t see many sheep in Wales. Until I look in the mirror.
Being at the festival this past weekend has confirmed to me that I am exactly that, a sheep. If perhaps you’re reading this from a country where you’ve never heard a person described as being like a sheep then let me describe some of their characteristics.
Sheep are Not Stupid
I am not stupid, I’m actually of reasonable intelligence. I’ve been to University and everything, honest.
Sheep will Run From What Frightens Them
Something I do all the time. Instead of facing or tackling any problems I’ll just ignore them, pretend they don’t exist, and then walk away. Baa.
Sheep will Move Toward Another Sheep or Friend
This means that sheep kind of ‘tag’ on to other sheep for protection. My social life is pretty much like this. Walking through the festival this weekend I saw loads of people I knew, but they’re people I know through other people. There was never a time when we saw someone that I knew, and that I could introduce my friends to. For example, my housemate knows a lot of people from the tennis club because he plays tennis, so he’d say hello to them and I’d kind of just linger in the background. Or we’d see people from the football team, and I’d kind of just linger in the background. Or we’d see people that we know from Maths, but that I don’t know well enough, so I kind of just… yeah, you guessed it… lingered.
My social life depends on others, I have to tag along on the back of the social lives of others. Because I’ve not put myself out there to join clubs, or teams, or societies I’ve not met people outside of my Maths group unless I am introduced to them by people I already know. I struggle meeting new people, and I only ever allow myself a close group of friends. Baa.
Sheep Maintain a Flight Distance Between Themselves and Others
Because I am quite introverted and self-concious it means that sometimes I need to be alone. I’ll keep my distance from people, my friends, and the world for a few days and just marathon watch a TV series in my bed with a bottle of water. This usually happens on Wednesdays because that’s the day when my flatmates leave to go to their tennis/football/singing clubs. So whilst they’re down the tennis courts or in the pub at a social I will be in bed, keeping my distance.
There are days where I just don’t feel like going out drinking, or into town, or to the pub. Some days I just want to be alone, and I enjoy being alone, don’t get me wrong, but there are occasions when I feel that I should’ve made more of an effort to join some extra-curriculars. Baa.
Sheep are Gregarious
But then again, I have a very tight knit group of friends. It’s how I’ve always worked. I keep my friendship groups small and close. At University it’s been sort of different, there’s always lots of people around, because one person invites four friends who bring their housemates and suddenly there’s 28 people in my living room asking me for a clean glass. These are people whose names I know, and people with whom I can have a conversation, but they aren’t my friends. I have a close group of friends within the group, a sub-group, if you want to get technical, and I stick to the sub-group for safety, like a sheep does. Baa.
Sheep will Follow Each Other
This is the main one. I am a follower. I realised this yesterday as our group was snaking in and out of the crowds at the festival. With me at the very back just following wherever everyone else was going. I am never in charge, I just go with what everyone else is doing. Even something as simple as finding your way from the front of the stage to the back of the crowd, I can’t take charge with. I need to be following my way out. I don’t know if this is an active decision I make or if it just something that happens, but it’s something that I’ve noticed. I’m very “Right, what are we doing now, then?” rather than “Right, this is what we are doing now, then!” I’m more of a question mark, than an exclamation mark. Baa.
I’m not particularly fond of this realisation that I’ve made, but it’s hardly a new revelation. It’s how I’ve always been, even before Uni. I’ve stuck to a small group of friends, I’ve always liked to be alone but also rely on the decisions and pro-activeness of others. Baa.
I don’t want to be a sheep.
Until tomorrow, no one wants to be a sheep.