There is no doubt about it. Whichever way you look at it, I’m no longer a student.
Perhaps I stopped being a student three weeks ago when I started my job. As I’ve said previously, it’s only a summer job on a production of Treasure Island, but it feels oceans away from the student life I left behind. Being able to get up in the morning with a purpose (as cheesy as it sounds) gives your day so much more clarity. People always joke with me about how much free time I had as a student, but I had to explain how it wasn’t all that it seemed. A day wasted doing nothing for me meant feeling guilty, unproductive and down. Not enjoyable. With a job it is so much easier to appreciate the time off you have, and it’s making me appreciate my job.
The unfortunate thing is I am not required to dress up as a pirate. I have only managed to get away with one “Yarrrrrr!” to two audience members who had come in pirate costume and pirate spirit. I do, however, get to wear a pirate bandana (available to buy for £3.00 from all good pirate-themed merchandise stands) but have yet to wear it on my head for fear I’ll look like a lubber. It makes a good neck scarf though.
Perhaps I stopped being a student two weeks ago when I graduated. Graduation was a lot more ceremonial than I previously realised. There is a very expensive looking mace which must be in the room or else it is not possible for a degree to be conferred. In addition, during your ten seconds of fame, you must walk across the staging towards the chancellor with your hands in the universal gesture of prayer. The chancellor then clasps his hands around yours and it is at this moment that you go from ‘graduand’ to ‘graduate’. You have graduated.
You imagine that graduation makes you feel different. It doesn’t. I felt a little nervous when I collected my gown and hood, a little irritated when I couldn’t put it on properly, a little self-conscious walking to the ceremony, and then back to irritation again after an afternoon with the folks. Proud? Maybe. More mature? Hardly. Less student-like? Not at all.
Perhaps I stopped being a student a week ago when I met someone who is more student than I could ever be. It’s always depressing when you meet someone pretty. First, and primarily, you hope that you are constantly a silhouette against the sun for the entire duration of your meet so that your individual features can’t be made out. You wish you were them. Secondly, you wonder why someone like that is spending time with someone like you, and get the odd feeling that it’s not going to happen again. You wish you had them. Thirdly, in my case at least, your mind stops functioning in any socially useful way. You wish you weren’t you.
Many people say that when you meet someone it is important to be yourself. Unfortunately I feel that when I meet someone new I’m as far from the real me as possible. Being daunted by the person you’re meeting does not make things easier. Still, I am aware that a lot of the problems were in my head, that every human is beautiful in their own way, nobody judges a book by it’s cover, there’s plenty of fish in the sea and that pigs can fly. Well, at least that’s partly true.
This guy is a student. Everything about his life says that he is right for university. He’s not a stereotypical student in any imagining of the phrase, but he is the student that all the other students want to be. He’s the student I want to be. His life isn’t perfect I’m sure, but for anyone looking in it would not seem that way. I studied at university. I passed the course and left. But was I ever a student? I envied the student life of others I saw around me. I envied the student life that I never had. I envy the position (and the looks) of this guy who has that life. I want to be that student.
Yesterday my student card expired. I’m certainly not a student anymore.