Written by Josef Ashley
Workload is a load of work – at university level the amount of work is greater than A Level but we’re adults now, aren’t we? We ought to be able to take this kind of strain in our stride now we’re fully functioning 20 year olds – managing our time effectively while eating correctly, socialising, relaxing, working and getting eight hours of sleep nightly. I can hear your laughter.
But who among us can lay claim to achieving all these? Not me! Seriously.
I’ve eaten pasta every day since September the 17th, I’m about as un-relaxed as it’s possible to be and I haven’t seen my flatmates in over a week because I’ve been sleeping in that ‘socialising’ slot. Oops.
What I’m suggesting is that perhaps we’re not adults yet. We’re more demi-adults, pre-adults, under-adults post-children – whatever you want to call us, 20 is not adulthood. And we, the generation they’re having to build Pre-Fab Houses
for in a desperate last-ditch attempt to ever get us on the housing ladder, we, are not adults. I realise this is just a more eloquent version of Britney’s Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman, but it’s true! We’ve
gone from 18 years of pure security and comfort – wrapped in an almost suffocating blanket of political correctness and the multi-million pound Parenting Book industry – to a life of almost complete self-sufficiency. The idea of no one waking you up is wonderful until you realise no one is going to wake you up and you have a Bridget Jones style Alsatian epiphany.
Adult readers will be bemoaning me from their ivory towers they bought in the early nineties with a 5-figure-price-tag for a 5% deposit (that are now worth well over £400k…) because ‘you won’t starve’ and ‘there is always McDonalds’ or ‘you could get a job’. I understand that parents won’t let their children go hungry, not matter how many hundreds of miles away from home they may be. But the demi-adult must ask their parents, the demi-pensioner, for help, and that can be the hardest part – many students become hugely mentally unstable and ill before they reach out.
I was in the library until well pastmidnight several nights last week attempting to finish my Learning Log (it’s just as bad as you’d imagine) and once Thursday came around I hastily thrust the Log into the hands of the curt, disapproving secretary (can’t blame her, I am an English student who didn’t have a pen, I am so sorry) and ran to the station with an ache in my stomach where relief should have been. My dad remarked I hadn’t cooked since being at home, he was right, of course, I hadn’t and I wondered – why? I love cooking, but I realised I had come home to be a child, to regress – to be fed, be woken up, have my food paid for and my messes cleaned up.
I know I’m not the only University student to quake under the pressure of workload. I’ve got two friends doing Psychology at different Universities and they’re drowning under the coursework – made all the worse by poor guidance meaning no life-raft. One’s even dropping out to pursue a different course, talk about jumping a sinking ship! I even know one person who’s had a flare-up of Shingles – usually caused by severe ’emotional and physical stress’ inhibiting the immune system according the the NHS, scary.
And herein lies my point – we are not adults, we don’t have those coping mechanisms (they come later; with the Volvo and the Bitterness). University is character building and creates adults but we are still fledgling birds, so maybe we need to go easier on ourselves before we check out.