So it’s finally here. The year it all changes – irrevocably, uncontrollably and hopefully for the better. At least that’s what all the prospectus’ say.
I’ve got into university and am about to start studying the course I’ve been continually obssessing over for the past twelve months, something I’ve been even more infatuated with than watching New Girl and stalking Grant Gustin on Twitter. Yes, I know, his face is just beautiful.
Something strange happens when you get your exam results and they are good. Not Hollywood-glitter, ten thousand watt firework good but real, going to throw up your morning Weetabix you’re so terribly happy, good.
You stand there, hugging your results sheet like the last pair of red skinny jeans in a Topshop sale, terrified someone is going to rip them away from you, guffaw loudly and shout, “You thought you did this well? You poor, pitiful child, these are Master Gabriel’s results from Farley-Hugh Boys School down the road. Yours are here, under this rotting tarpaulin we use to line the horses stalls in winter.”
The fact you have not failed takes a good week or so to even sink in. You have spent so long trying not to even dip your toe in the university-life pool of happiness, you feel guilt-ridden when you’re finally allowed to plunge in.
I spent the few months leading up to results day having daily arguments with my mother over why she can not buy ANYTHING for university in advance, lest she bring the dreaded Karma upon us all.
“But this cutlery set is half price,” she would wail, waving a box of spoons enticingly under my wrinkled nose. “It’s only three pounds fifty!”
“It’s not worth it!” I would cry, anguished. “My life is hanging in the balance. Those spoons are the very things that will tip me over the edge!”
So now I sit in my bedroom at home, surrounded by colanders, heaps of clothes, toothpaste, fourteen towels, three pillows, eleven jumpers, (“I just worry you’ll be cold…”) carefully cardboard-covered knives, a drying rack and a tiny pink potato peeler.
Yet it doesn’t seem real right now. I realise I’m thinking of university as a kind of holiday: go away for a bit, have a great time with my mates and come home after a month or so, ready for Dad’s secret ingredient bolognaise and the last episode of Dr Who.
Not that I’m under any illusion my course will be palm-fringed vacation. I have already received at least six emails warning me of the hours needed to commit to the course, the importance of meeting deadlines and a book list. This is expected. You don’t spend two gut-wrenchingly, brain-meltingly, toe-curlingly hard years doing ‘A’ levels and not twig effort is required if you are to succeed.
I am incredibly excited. But also a teeny bit terrified as well. And there’s still four weeks left until move-in day. I’m sure the idea I’m moving away for life will sink in soon. Very soon. Tomorrow in fact. Or next Tuesday at a push.