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A Fresh Perspective: The Universal Truths of Learning to Adult During First Year

Kerry Maxwell, a first year English Literature and Drama student at QMUL, gives you the low down on coping with the quarter life crisis of the end of your first year at university (because your 19/20 now which means you are very very old)

1) You will face at least one existential crisis per term.
Such crises shape the deadline-looming/budget-making/budget-breaking/trying-to-get-your-life-together mould that undoubtedly is Freshers Year. You start out in September bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with a pink fluffy pen which was supposed to write you into 2.1 territory and your brand-new laptop which holds the answer to every question ever asked about anything ever. “You’re a go-getter; you’re ready for this” you think. Little do you know that that entrance into 2.1 territory is pretty much the equivalent of trying to break into Area 51 of the education system, and the questions you ask yourself *Siri* and the answers you’re *Siri* meant to have seem to increase tenfold. The pressure builds as the essays pile, the bomb explodes, and rather than chuck the new laptop to the ground and waste all expense (see point 2), you find it perfectly acceptable to lay in bed 6 hours before the deadline contemplating the purpose of your degree as if we’re all dust in the end anyway. Yet you still pass. And you breathe a sigh of relief. And once again the cycle begins.

2) Think you’re broke now? Ha.
I have learned that adulting – yes, that is now a verb – requires a certain measure of monetary management. ‘Finance’ and ‘Budget’ are words I am slowly learning because, shockingly, things cost money. Who’d have thought it? Student loans are of God; gilded butterfly wings of beauty that flutter into our bank accounts termly with promises of a food shop, nights out, maybe a concert ticket…the possibilities are endless, dangerously making overspending far too easy and resulting in you being that person who lives off tinned tomatoes for the rest of the term (true story) Be a grown-up. Budget. Spread the word to save a life.

3) People will tell you that winging it doesn’t cut it here, but you’ll wing it anyway. And it will work.
Links back to point one, really. You have 6 hours and 2000 words to write. Enter a modern form of Plato’s Euthyphro Dilemma: does this student rite of passage release the adult within, or do you step up and become an adult to make it through the night? Adult-like qualities of strength and self-motivation seep through your pores, leak through your tapping fingers onto your keyboard to power you through; the essay is worth 60% of your module, after all. Winging it ignites a fire in your belly; becoming an adult, you discover, means you can complete anything on time to a satisfactory standard. That, and that caffeine truly does work.

4) You will be expected to grow up and figure out just what you want to do, yet the wider world will still view you as a child.
Not a Harry Potter or Matilda Wormwood ‘child prodigy.’ Not an educated person who is finding their feet in the big wide world. Just a child. Better yet, a millennial: a social-networking, technology-obsessed member of Generation Y. You’re lazy, entitled, floating through life in university, dreaming of a future in politics or media; you think it’s tough? “You lot don’t know you’re born! Kids today, eh?” Kids. Call me a kid and question my maturity when you pay my accommodation fees due at the end of this week.

Image: Kerry M/Facebook

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