They say your years at university will be the best of your life. Considering the amount of essay-stress, crippling debt and inadequate food supplies I’ve experienced over the past three years, I sorely hope that this isn’t true.
Despite this, one thing I consider fantastic about university is moving away from home. Is there anything better than finishing a long day of lectures and walking into the kitchen only to find one housemate screaming over a burning stove, another one dancing manically round the kitchen listening to BBC Radio One and the third housemate reading quietly in the corner?
Well, that’s what my uni house was like this year and I loved it. The constant banter, relatable problems, and ability to discuss what it would be like if trees grew human skin without people thinking I’m too weird. Just little things like that.
I finished my final piece of coursework two weeks ago and now I must head home to my family, get a job and face the real adult world. Home for me is a predominantly upper middle-class village near Liverpool, but I live on the street that’s known as the village “stain”.
I say “stain” because it’s the street where houses are much smaller and cheaper and if you mention the street name to anyone else in that village their mouth pinches up like a raisin and they recoil with disgust. Nevertheless, it is home… but literally nothing happens.
My village has a few sheep, a Co-Op and a pub. The nearest town is a thirty-minute walk away and the most exciting thing that has happened recently is the new village hall Zumba class. So, when people complain that Lancaster is “too quiet” and there’s “nothing to do”, it’s nothing compared to my village.
Another issue with moving back home is the lack of freedom. At uni I could cook what I wanted, go to bed when I wanted and do household chores in whichever order I wanted. This is very much not the case back home, where I have become the resident Cinderella. I cook the tea, clean the house, walk the dog and I’m even tasked with teaching my mother how to finally use “the internet”.
This is all expected of me on a daily basis until I find a full-time job, which is another fun thing about post-uni life. Job hunting. Constant applications with increasingly ridiculous hoops new graduates need to jump through in the knowledge that they’ll be up against people with years more experience.
But the thing about getting experience is that you need experience to be qualified enough to get experience. It’s who you know, not what you know, and at the moment my connections are pretty much limited to sheep and the village Zumba class instructor who happens to be my next-door neighbour.
I don’t think we truly realise how great uni is until it’s over and many graduates must face the early-20s panic of addressing questions like, “Who am I?” “What am I doing?” “Where am I going and how am I going to get there?”
That’s where I am right now, but at least I get to ask these questions with the company of the one thing anyone needs to get through tough times: my dog. My stupid, adorable dog who has just ran off with an unopened Special K cereal bar in her mouth. Now I’m going to have to chase her and stop her before she buries it. Bless.