Almost a month ago, my baby sister moved to university. This is weird for a few reasons:
1) She only made the decision to go to university the night before A-Level results day
2) She can’t be 18, because that would make me 26
3) That means it’s been four years since I graduated
My memories of my three years in York are so distinct and so fresh that it’s bizarre to think it didn’t all happen a few months ago. I look at the photos my sister puts up on Facebook or Snapchats me (when she’s out partying and I’m obviously in bed), and the thing that hits me the most is how young they all are. I mean, they look so young. How are these tiny people allowed to fend for themselves?! I don’t differentiate between me now and me at uni, because I don’t feel all that different, but then I look at my life and realise that things have majorly changed and that actually, I’m probably a bonafide adult now.
I don’t just have a job, I have a career. I don’t just have a boyfriend, I have a long-term relationship. I pay bills, I get appalling hangovers, I have crow’s feet and cellulite.
Then I stop and think: Do I really want to be a student again? Fair enough, living away from home for the first time is a lot of fun; you have a student loan which at the time basically seems like free money, and your responsibilities just about stop short of being too scary. But there are limitations, and I remember being at the end of my third year and being 100% ready to graduate and move on.
The positives completely outweigh the negatives. I live in central London, one of the most exciting cities in the world, but unlike most students, I can live in a nice flat! I’ve been lucky enough to travel more, and further, in the last year than I have in my whole life, and I intend on doing more. I have a small group of awesome friends that know me inside-out, and who don’t judge me if I want to stay in in my pjs watching The X Factor. I’m working in an industry that I love and meeting some amazing people. It’s scary to think that I need to start saving properly if I ever want to get a mortgage, but that’s just the next challenge.
The last four years have seen internships, redundancy, burglaries, illness, travel, promotion, relocation and exploration. I’ve grown so much more as a person since graduating than I did in my comfortable and sheltered university bubble, although my experience there has undoubtedly shaped who I am today. On the surface, it may seem like the fun is over, but actually the excitement is happening right now. Turns out I actually quite like being a grown-up.