Farewell flat, hello home, and a list of life lessons

Assignments done, no more news articles and I am now a free woman. I’ve been trying to think of things I’ve learned from my first year of living independently. Actually I did start a list in my diary, but if there are two things I’m wary about discussing on the internet, they are periods and blunt opinions on other people. Anyway. Without further ado, here is the polished version of said list.

Illness. Independent-living beginners of the past, you weren’t wrong when you warned me that viruses run rife during the first term. Independent-living beginners of the future, yes it can happen to you. You have an immune system of steel, you say? Just keep telling yourself that when you look/sound worse than people who have gone home sick, and your housemate thinks you should have done the same a week ago.

Societies. Not wanting to neglect my musical side, I joined the DMU choir. As is often the case with societies, I was hoping to get something out of it. Making friends? I could count the number of names I learned on one hand. Having fun? Well arriving at uni at 4.30am and waiting five hours for a bus to a competition in London may be a real joyride for some…Fitting in? When I sent a WhatsApp message saying I was quitting, no-one replied amid their group discussion. Basically the virtual equivalent of saying something out loud and everyone just continuing their conversation without noticing (I’d had a few non-virtual experiences like that as well).

Personal stuff. While I’m particular about what I disclose on the internet, I’ve learnt that you can’t be too pernickety about toilet/hormone/generally embarrassing details when you are two friends living in a relatively small space together. Although why I’ve only just accepted this after so many years with my family is a mystery.

Mental health. On a more serious note, this year did, at one point, lead me to question my emotional stability for the first time (nothing to worry about, I hasten to add). Mum and I both thought that student counselling would help my self-esteem, and the first couple of sessions were good. When I returned after a particularly difficult few weeks after Easter, I was politely but sternly told that this wasn’t just a drop-in service and I couldn’t keep coming back when there was nothing wrong with me. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed, I couldn’t think of anything to say for the rest of the session. The moral of that story? Just don’t take these things for granted.

So there you go. As this year comprised coursework (which I finished) and work experience (for which my Derby Telegraph internship sufficed), I grew bored of feeling loose-endish at the flat and decided to come home. I have to say, I felt sad about packing up the bedroom I’d become attached to (pictured above). Also I think all the coursework, flat stresses, Demon articles, choir events and trips to Derby are catching up with me if the recurring headaches and nausea are anything to go by.

But on the bright side, I have reminded Bouncer how to come when called, eaten my own weight in home cooking and returned to Leicester to make a fool of myself at a church Ceilidh dance. As you do.

And now for a post script from Tango: