Anthem from a Doomed Youth

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. If it helps, all bad things come to an end, too. In fact, all things come to an end in general, and one day you too might well be chilling in some sort of afterlife while the kids trample over your body on the way to the hologram shop.

One thing that’s just ended is my degree, which means that soon I’ll get a little piece of paper telling me I passed for the low, low price of £27,000. Still, I’ve learned an awful lot over my past three years. Now I can pass my arcane wisdom onto you, through these very pages (the first draft was carved into stone and had a lot more ‘thou shalt’-s in it, but apparently there isn’t the budget for that at Nouse).

The first thing I learned is that yeah, there are a lot of people out there who are just as smart as, or smarter than you, as I went from a fairly-big-fish in a fairly small pond to OK-fish in a shark tank. That strips you of various airs and graces rather rapidly, and in fact, when it came to social interaction in general, university blew my mind open so wide I’m pretty sure I know how Hemingway felt.

I met Lib Dems, Tories and Greens (oh my), hung out with Norwegians, poets, teachers and people who could sing, played board-games and watched Doctor Who episodes and once dressed up as an ent for a few weeks and ran around a field, like a pound-shop Lord of the Rings. I wrote a whole lot of essays and most of a novel and managed to fanboy over Dickens for 10,000 words, every so often reassuring my parents that yes, watching this musical IS part of my degree.

I learned that clubs…well, exist, given that I’d never actually been to one until my STYCs carefully coaxed me in before releasing me into the wild. I learned that technically, it doesn’t count as alcoholism until your degree is over, and that it’s not a problem, it’s a solution. I also learned that learning how to dance is a lot more effort and time-consuming than just drinking until you start to think you can dance.

I learned to expand my horizons. There are some things, like broccoli or oral sex, where your parents make you try it as a child and then that puts you off it for ages afterwards. Some things I tried at uni failed – the kayaking attempt that gave me a taste of York’s finest lakewater, for instance (thus far I’ve neither developed superpowers or cancer, which I’m told is the usual outcome). But there’s things I tried that I’m sticking with for life.

I learned that sometimes you might have to try something scary, like sitting back as a doctor scrapes the surface of your eyeball with a needle to swab a corneal ulcer, or you might have to try something really scary like asking someone out. Still, it’s worth doing, and, if nothing else, doing it can give you a form of closure, or possibly stop you going blind. Depends how extreme your dating life is.

And yeah, I wandered into Grimston House one day and developed a mild student-media addiction (granted, that makes for the kind of person that even vaping addicts probably bullied in high-school). Still, Nouse has been nice enough to print my ramblings for about three years, which saves me having to print out a manifesto and staple it to my chest or something.

So that’s what I learned. If you’re reading this with years of university still to come, cling to them and cherish them and wring every last drop of all the things you can try right now out of them while you still can. And if you’re a final-year… I think that’s the future up ahead of us. Let’s go forward and scream at it together.
Good luck, and thanks for reading.

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