As a child I went through my fair share of stupid and funny fears, ranging from spiders (which I still have to this day) to Harry Potter and Scooby Doo (less so now that I’m 20). However, along with avoiding needles and anything with more than four legs, some fears have developed more as I’ve aged, and they’re not particularly justifiable either. It’s one thing to run away screaming from spiders, but it’s a whole other story when you’re trying to run away from student debt and your future. Children of the future: make the most of everything you’re currently scared of. Embrace those spiders, needles, and everything else that I now see as relatively harmless. The true fears come when you get a bit older, when you have to face leaving university and joining The Real World.
So here I present a definitive list of Things Scarier Than Halloween:
- Student debt: When I was younger I’d worry about pocket money not stretching far enough until Christmas or my next birthday, when that bi-annual injection of cash would keep me going for a good few months. A decade on and I’ve become comfortably familiar with that same lump of cash, but from the student loans company rather than my family and friends. In contrast though, they’ve asked for the majority of it back. Student grants are wonderful things but they’re few and far between, and my looming debt (which I’m estimating to be around £40,000 by the time I graduate) is far scarier than wondering if my parents will lend me 20 quid to buy a new t-shirt.
- Graduation: One of my friends has been planning her graduation shoes since first year. Three years down the line and she’s no clearer as to what she wants to wear. Combined with the fear of falling over en route your formal greeting, wondering which embarrassing stories your friends will tell your parents and wondering what grade you’re actually going to get, it’s a nightmare.
- Full time work: One of my favourite things about uni is the amount of lie ins and late starts that I’ve grown so accustomed to. After a brief stint of work over summer (10 weeks in an office) I have decided that a 9-5 job is not for me. I have my heart set on one publication, in one specific city, with one individual breed of dog by my side (I’ve done a lot of planning) but unless all my wishes are granted within the next seven months, it’s looking more likely that I’ll have to settle for a standard, entry level graduate job. The fear of long term failure is well and truly real.
- Having to move back home: Another uni delight is doing all the things you’re not allowed to do at home. I’m not talking copious one night stands but rather the ability to wear shoes on the stairs (sorry mum) and leaving plates in my room for over 24 hours. Let’s not even get started on being able to cook and eat when I like, and being able to spend entire, hungover days lying around in my duvet. I love my family, I really do, but after moving out two and a bit years ago, it is one step I’m terrified of going backwards to.
- No more student discount: I don’t know about you but I rely heavily on discounted products to get me through my days. It’s the primary way I can justify buying half my clothes and the thought of losing it is very scary. Topshop and American Apparel are really nice places to shop but a lot more so when you can squeeze an extra 20% off everything. My younger sister starts university the year after next, so the way it’s going I’m going to have to time all my big purchases to happen either in the next few months or over a year after. I’m pretty sure I even got my Halloween costume with student discount, to add insult to injury.
- Being so far away from uni friends: It’s so convenient just to walk upstairs or round the corner when I need a friend to rant to. With the majority of my friends at home working full time instead of being at university, there’s a lot of dilemmas I face which a uni friend is better at sympathising with. (See: what to wear on a Tuesday night out, the best mixer to use with value vodka, and how to avoid bumping into someone in your seminar). The trouble here is that most of my uni friends live a few hours away from me when I’m at home, and the prospect of having to drive the distance for a proper catch up is not one I’m willing to face just yet.
Student life has been the best nearly three years of my life, and I’m not ready to give it up for a Real Career any time soon. So kids, you think clowns and zombies are scary? Hold on tight, it hasn’t even started yet.