Growing up is hard. Age and experience seemingly go hand in hand yet no one discusses how they can also rub against one another like a new shoe one size too small on the back of a heel. The end of our university lives is one such moment which can twist and corrupt the link between what we have experienced as independent adults living in a scummy university residency and returning back ‘home’ with the parents.
You begin the first year of university life as a scared child who spends half that year feeling uncontrollably homesick scared of the change of surroundings (something I assume devout Conservatives feel concerning British Politics and society). You find yourself constantly reminded that you are just one phone call away from returning back home to the safety of the room you once called yours for almost two decades. However, as you get used to the surroundings and grow more confident in yourself, university life doesn’t seem so…BIG! Before you know it you have made friends that aren’t just the ‘acquaintances’ you were thrown into student halls with; they are your uni family.
Soon enough though your degree comes to an end, your friends all go their separate ways and you find yourself returning back home to that room you spent so much of your life in. Granted you have returned to it several times before during university holidays yet something is different this time. The walls seem closer, the atmosphere seems less welcoming, the things you held so dear in there feel like they belong to a different person now. You have outgrown this room. To step one foot back inside feels like relinquishing all freedom and responsibility you held for three years. The sense of regressing to a time before university lays alert in the back of your mind, reminding you that this house is not home, it is a cell. You must get out! You must escape! You need your freedom and your only chance for this is getting a job.
Now sitting in my old room on my bed surrounded by the memorabilia of my childhood and pictures of my uni family and I on Facebook, it dawns on me that I am wrong about the whole situation. This room is not my prison. Sure, I may not be employed right now perhaps in part due to being over qualified for any jobs in my home town. There is the risk that I will leave as soon as a graduate position opens up somewhere else (which in all honesty is probably true) but with employment comes a lack of freedom as well. Granted, I must live under my parent’s rule and do things as they wish them to be done but they are my family. The key is to remain positive. After all, I must remember that, although it feels like I have reverted back to childhood, I have already grown from that small, insecure boy taking his first steps into Portsmouth’s James Watson Halls into the man you see before you and he refuses to give up.