“Turns out Shakespeare got it wrong” by Melanie Rideout

CEMUS Diaries Entry - week 37


Turns out Shakespeare got it wrong

To be or not to be, that’s not always the question.

To consciously choose, or unconsciously decide – …

To have your eyes open or shut,

To think critically or follow the status-quo…

These are the real questions.



If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that we really know nothing, or next to nothing in the grand context of things, and that’s OK. As long as you’re willing to make mistakes, learn, grow and let go of the idea that one day you’ll understand everything, knowing you will never know everything, and get everything right is a really liberating feeling. In fact, letting go of the illusion will open your eyes to the endless creative possibilities that you otherwise would’ve dismissed as utterly useless; not seeing the clear A -> B isn’t always a bad thing, and we shouldn’t be afraid of the unknown.



CEMUS has taught me to let go of the expected, and even unexpected, and realise that in life – professional and personal – you will have your ups and downs, and in fact it’s this very rollercoaster that colours the tapestry of life, and shapes the person you are and will be. I started my journey with CEMUS as a Sustainable Development Master student, I spent a short time as Course Coordinator for two great courses offered by CEMUS, made some friends for life and learnt invaluable lessons that will never leave me, because they shaped me. Now I am working in the Sustainability field, and no matter where I find myself – either in front of an intimidating room of C-Suite, suit wearing seniors, seated in front of a newcomer to Sweden or a roundtable with government officials, I go back to the core of CEMUS teaching: everyone has something valuable to say, contribute and do. By having an open environment, in which we respect each other’s views, yet always question them with critical sensitivity and intelligence, we can shape and change the world around us.


I often look at the world’s problems and become utterly overwhelmed. Where do we start? How can we solve these wicked problems? Why do things seem so bad and helpless? Given these problems, having a holistic view may seem to have its negatives, but by having a greater understanding of the whole system we are also able to realise our point of greatest impact – our leverage point – and work with tireless determination to our end goal. But most of all, if there’s one key take home message from my time at CEMUS this would be it: Keep those networks, those friends and colleagues who inspire you; you’ll need your sustainability-family to keep you going even when things are tough, to remember that you are not alone, and to keep fighting the good fight, because if you don’t, who will?

I am grateful for my time at CEMUS. It is an inspiring place, full of energy, welcoming in all through its doors. It’s a place I am proud to call the beginning of my journey into the sustainability world, and I look forward to seeing what the next 25 years brings for us all!


This is a part of the 25th Anniversary blog series “CEMUS Diaries: Stories from past, present and future”, where we invite present and former staff, students, work group members, associates, and other CEMUS friends to reflect on their time at CEMUS and shed critical light into the future. Read the other CEMUS Diaries entries here.


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