Keeping your independence after University

April 20, 2013 12:00 pm

For the past three years coming home to see my parents has felt like a bit of a statement, it’s the ‘I actually moved out before I’m Thirty and I’ve come home to visit you’.

In the run up to leaving for university, on the brink of independence, I felt oppression stronger than I’d ever felt it before. Even a simple ‘empty the dishwasher’ felt like an order that I didn’t want to HAVE to obey. The prospect of knowing that I could say ‘I don’t actually live here anymore’ gave me freedom like I’d never known it.

Every student before they embark on their university journey has an ideal about how things will change. Suddenly you’re going to move in with your best friends, create a new dysfunctional family based around being drunk, fancy dress and harry potter marathons. If your parents are giving you grief you just wont come home and visit, simple. The first half of this was very true – there’s been leopards, ducks, mutant ninja turtles, Smurf’s and my last Halloween costume was appropriately completely inappropriate.Dorm

But the truth is you will be coming home to visit because you will have become extremely grateful for the effort your parents go to. It turns out looking after yourself aint’ no picnic; you’re quite high maintenance, you take a lot of feeding and you have a lot of washing, you’re messy and you still can’t grasp the skill behind ironing. But still your parents don’t know this (did Uncle Vernon know Harry couldn’t do magic outside Hogwarts?) so as long as they remain ignorant you’ve still got your independence.

I am approaching my last return to University EVER. This is the last time I will come home just to ‘visit’ my family, next time they see me I’ll have a car load of now useless fancy dress, a couple of musical instruments (I can’t play any) and a load of abusive carnage t-shirts. Everyone is in panic mode, dissertation deadlines are looming and there’s a desperate scramble for graduate schemes. But I’m feeling pretty calm about it all. I haven’t finished my dissertation, I actually still have a lot to do, its due in a week and I’m sitting here writing this article….

The one thing that is terrifying me is the fact that I am going to have to move back home for an inevitable amount of time. Don’t get me wrong I do actually love being home; just yesterday I witnessed my dog grab my mum’s bra off the radiator and dash out the front door, dad in toe in a frantic show down in the street. But moving back home really feels like an act of defiance against my new found independence. Yes I will be going travelling but that seems like forever away. You begin to notice things about home life that didn’t even bother you before but now I feel an overwhelming need to rebel against it. My own personal battle with an oppression that doesn’t actually exist.

I’ve now noticed how much of a clean freak my mum really is. She’s one of those women who can hear the sound of a mug hitting an un-coastered surface from outside the house. Each time I’d come home the coffee table became less and less visible under a sea of cardboard squares screaming “PUT YOUR CUP HERE”. You don’t just get handed a cup of tea when you walk into my house, you get handed a mug and a coaster and instructions of how to combine the two in a safe and secure manner.

So I’ve already started to take action, I’m starting to prepare myself for a battle to retain power and general student dirtiness. I’ve started small; leaving crumbs in the butter, putting the buttery knife into the jam jar, not wrapping up the bread, leaving a general bomb explosion of food, wrappers and mess wherever I go. Not to mention my Dad’s personal favourite; going to utmost pains to make sure that every possible light switch remains on at all times. It all comes pretty naturally to me, turns out I’m actually an expert at being messy,

It has recently occurred to me that my brother isn’t an untidy arse who takes my DVD’s into the black abyss of his room where they miraculously never founder. No, it’s not that he has no regard for other people’s possessions or respect for the other people living in this house. No. He’s actually a genius. This mastermind has been carefully inflicting this torture on my parents in order to retain his own sense of power. From a young age he’d had this all sussed out. He was laying the foundations so that they could never overpower us, making sure I could retain my freedom. It was a battle of child vs man. He’s already started the war, I’m just a new ally. Reinforcements.

I’ve become part of this evil crusade to destroy these perfections, I want my student atmosphere where I can’t find a spoon because no one has washed up all week, or the feeling of not knowing if that was a giant roll of dust that went by my foot or if it’s just the rat again. I long for this uncertainty, this freedom and total disregard of socially excepted cleanliness.

IndependenceSo to all the other soon to be post grads let this be a warning. Yes the prospect of not having to starve so you can drink might be endearing, washing that magically appears and actually smells clean sounds like a miracle, but don’t be fooled. It’s all part of plan to lure you into a false sense of security and before you know it your twenty-five and you’ve been grounded. Fight your battle fellow comrades, screw the coasters, screw the energy bulbs and for god sake stop putting your shoes away you sissy.

Of course, you could always choose to live harmoniously with your family, for ease of life and a peaceful atmosphere. No friction, arguments, unnecessary pain and discomfort on those you love and respect. But really where’s the fun in that?


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