Written by Ioana Tache – Student Writer
There’s nothing better than taking your faith into your own hands and running with it. To be young and finally feel in control of yourself. To be 18, to be moving away towards the good life. One step closer, only 2000 miles away from everything you’ve ever known. Only 3 hours away by plane and 3 days by car from your family and friends, fully aware that you are never going back.
When you go through the gate you can feel it. The other you stepping out of your own body; the old you remains behind almost as if you’re in a panorama picture which wasn’t taken well, and right here at the gate there’s two of you, each with a different facial expression, yet both scared at the same time. The old you stays at home, with your parents, who now wave frantically ready to let you go into the world and make more of yourself than they did, get more than they could’ve offered you. They wave whilst trying to remember as much as they can of your face, your figure, and your smile. This is the last time they will see their baby. The last time you will ever be this: rosy-cheeked and full of purpose, before the world will leave its greasy gravy-stained fingerprint on your forehead.
Yet you don’t cry. No, sir. You’ll see them at Christmas, according to the plan. Your path is clear, as you so diligently kept it swept and tidy all these years. It is a bit different than you envisioned it. Your best mate who was meant to be your ride or die in Uni has aborted the mission, leaving you to do all the cool stuff planned for two by yourself. It’s not bad. The room is bigger than yours at home, it’s got plenty of light, it’s even got a little sink to… brush your teeth in the morning after a night of fresher fun.
It’s not bad. It’s not. You know the language. Sort of, anyway. Admittedly, it is nothing like the English you studied back home. The words have no ‘t’s in them, making it all sounds like a bunch of vowels mushed together, but some call it the ‘Mancunian accent’. First time you got on the bus, you ended up skilfully creating a beautiful queue behind you as you could not for the love of God understand what the driver said. Something about change. Whatever. It all looks like monopoly money anyway. You were never good with money, true, since you have seen so little of it in your palm in your 18 years of life, but this just makes no sense. Is £5 a lot? Let me calculate.
Hey, hey! Child, have you exhaustively comprehended the English language in day two of your arrival or are you on NZT? Sure as hell you can understand every little thing this noisy group is saying in the distance. That’s because they are your countrymen.. A wave of ‘oh-my-God-i’m-not-alone-in-the-world’ came over you. You were going to have friends in the end. So you did everything in your power to please them. Go out every night. Check. Host parties in your house. Check. Let them have that ham and cheese. Check.
Remember when you felt out of place back home? You came to see a different lifestyle. To learn, to grow, to discover. Reheated thoughts will bring you nothing new. However, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of familiarity; it’s good to have a safety net. Isn’t it better to scrape your knee whilst learning how to walk than to never walk at all, though? Scare yourself everyday, huh? Start by walking to the shop alone. Take the wrong bus. End up in the wrong part of the town. Get mugged. No. Don’t. No one needs that much adrenaline in their life. There’s a little voice somewhere inside that tries to guide you towards your path, call it destiny, whatever you want. Listen to it. It will try to tell you what you’re good at, don’t disregard it. There’s another voice somewhere in your head that will try to tell you that you’re not good enough. Don’t listen to that. Also, if you can hear both of them in the same time, go see a doctor. The idea is, you went to Uni to discover who you are, not what job or career you will end up with. Definitely not how many ‘ks’ you’ll make. You left the comfort of your home to see if you can do it alone, in a strange world with toy money and funny voices. Take a little pride, stand a little taller, be happy that you can swear with a smile on your face and no one will ever know.