Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Adult Limbo: also known as being a student

University is an odd place; it acts a limbo between our teenaged lives and our adult ones. On the one hand, many of us at university live independent lives. We go where we want to go, do what we want to do – get drunk and bring strangers back into our bedroom. All fabulous.

Yet at the same time, we’re either getting supplemented by either a student load, bursaries, or our parents. We’ve moved off the tricycle, onto the big kid bicycle, yet we still have stabilizers to stop us from falling flat on our faces. We’re semi-adults, which is the correct definition of a student.

Of course, the problem with this semi-adulthood, is that it is transient. Eventually the loans run out, our parents retire, and our degrees come to an end. Which leaves many of us in a precarious position – just what are we supposed to do with ourselves? If live was an instruction manual, I imagine it would go something like this:

If only life was so easy? I imagine if this was the instruction manual, many students would be calling the help desk, demanding what to do if they are unable to complete step C because of the recession. Or step D because the person they were supposed to marry just ran away with an accountant on the second floor. Or step G because they just went to the fertility clinic and found out their uterus is a hostile environment for sperm and only have an 11% chance of ever conceiving.

Because life isn’t a SIMs game, where we set a life time achievement goal and use cheat codes to get there a little faster. We cannot set ourselves up for goals and check them off like a to-do list. There is no certainty in life, just as there’s no guarantee that when you remove the stabilizers from a bike, that you won’t crash or fall off somewhere along the way.

Though anyone will know, as a kid, if you’ve never experienced falling off your bike before, the idea of it happening to yourself can be pretty daunting. The same applies to being an adult. As I’ve just finished my exams, my second year at university draws to an end. In a year’s time adulthood will be knocking at my door, and in the mean time, I get a sneak preview of my worries in the form of my mother, who likes to write emails saying: “What’s the plan? Where are you going to move? What career are you going into? Do you know what you want to BE yet?”

And you know what? I’m scared. Scared of falling off my bike, scared of failing as an adult.

I don’t know what I want to be, and by that logic, I am therefore nothing. Or rather, I feel like nothing[1]

Life sometimes, feels that it is set up in a way that makes you believe the instruction manual I wrote earlier, exists. That we should be heading towards certain goals, certain lifestyle decisions. Now I’ve already stated that this isn’t true, and yet here I am, contradicting myself, by telling you that even I feel that it is true. And the problem is, this imaginary check list of achievements, which hangs over our heads – my head – doesn’t tell you how to go about checking off these accomplishments.

So what is the point in this blog post Heather?

This is the part where I would like to impart some sort of advice to you, the readers. Say something really profound and comforting to all of you who are reading this and experiences the same problems as I am. Maybe something along the lines of – hey buddy, don’t worry about tomorrow, live for today and... something, something, inner self, something, something, have confidence and BELIEVE in... something...

But, as someone, who is still set in the student-limbo of adulthood, I’m afraid I cannot advise on what I have yet to experience. All I can do is relate to you my fears, letting you know, that if you too share my doubts for the future, you are not alone. We are all stuck on a hill, on our bikes, just about to ride off into the sun set, yet not quite ready to whiz down the incline. 

Instead we hover, our stabilizers rusty and just about to come off, and watch – watch as people graduate, get jobs, and fly down the hill to a place we can’t be certain of. All the while thinking: Will I be next? What if I fail? And thank fuck I don’t graduate for another year.

[1] Or is it that SOCIETY MAKES ME FEEL LIKE NOTHING?! (Sorry, doing English literature exams does this to your world perceptive).


  1. I totally agree. We spend the first 21-25 years of our lives in a highly-cared-for state. After that, "the real world" is kind of a cruel splash of cold water. I'm not sure what the solution is though...

    In answer to your comment on my blog re: not getting subscribers, the first thing I would suggest is adding the GFC widget to your page - readers look for that and it can be a deterrent if they don't find it. It's a very easy way to subscribe and I've found that most of my readers use it.

    Secondly, I would go into your settings and make sure your email is available on your account (I forget the exact wording). Right now when you leave a comment on someone's blog, your email comes through as One huge way I've gotten and maintained a relationship with my readers is by email conversations after a post. If people can't respond to you though, that's never going to happen.

    Anyway, cute blog! I just subscribed, so now you've got one more subscriber! ;)

    Oh and PS: I'd also get rid of the word verification on your comments. Blogger does a great job of weeding out spam if you teach it (mark as spam, as opposed to just deleting), but word verification can really turn away potential commenters.

    1. Thanks for all the advice, I've literally just gone through your advice like a check list and done every one of them. I didn't even known that people were being asked to do that word verification thing!

      Glad you like my blog is cute, it thinks your not too bad yourself ;)

  2. First off, love your blog banner! Great post! If only life was simpler. I always say go with the flow, you can't plan life to the letter and you shouldn't let a list of ideals dictate your life either. Take opportunities as they come to you and enjoy the bits of life that you can. Make the most of being a student as you'll miss it a hell of a lot when it's over, even if you might complain about it lots at the moment!

    1. Cheers, I don't know if you can tell but I drew the dragon myself :)

      Complaining about being a student doesn't mean I don't enjoy it, it just means I'm very British - complaining is just part of the nationality.


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