Blog of Justin Cheuk, home to writing on London, Hong Kong, Studying Abroad, Trains and Travels.

Second Year, First Term: chilly thought of adulthood

Another generic snap of our most photographed site

As it always seems to be, my time at Durham has once again flew by. In a split-second, I am once again on the southbound express speeding back towards the metropolis of London. Well, back down to the South.

Now to ‘encapsulate’ (one of my essay buzzwords, basically just a fancy way of say ing ‘to recap’ for me): this has simply been one heck of a term. 

The biggest difference this year for me is living out of college (halls accommodation) and with my friends instead, and subsequently spending most of the last three months on our living room sofa. While work has been tough and particularly hectic towards the end  (partly due to second year workload, partly due to laziness), the frightening thing is that I seem to have once and for all bid goodbye my teenage years and through to adulthood.  Perhaps that’s just what university, or living out does to you, but this term- or this year- I really noticed the difference. Scary thought, isn’t it?  

I have lived pretty much all my life in a boarding house environment, sheltered and even isolated from the everyday life, there were strikingly few worries: all I had to do was to remember to bring the laundry basket to the laundry room, and the rest would simply sort itself out. Yet this carefree lifestyle where the most important thing was to win the Champions League with Crystal Palace has inevitably had to end (Haven’t managed it this year yet). Coinciding with a couple of serious decisions in my life, it seems that I am becoming an adult at an alarmingly rapid rate.   

University does accelerate the process of becoming an adult suddenly. I was joking to the freshers that in your first year you would firstly get married (collegiately at least; although the myth that Durham graduates all marry each other is apparently absolutely true), then you look for a house and expect college children in the next year. Of course we are all familiar with this blueprint of life; however in a sudden this is no longer what you see on TV or movies but in actually happening among your friends.   

Between meals we no longer discuss strategies of online game (not that I was ever good at it), or the latest episode of X factor; instead we moan about traffic and parking at the Metrocentre, or deduce whether it is cheaper to buy electricity and gas from the Scots or the French (conclusion: both prohibitively expensive, but we’re with Scottish Power anyway)

Not to mention this is that time of the year when you are trying to figure out what you really wanted to do with… your life. Internships, graduate studies, work experiences, they are overwhelming. And of course there’s always that one friend who seems to have their whole career sorted, internship secured and life set. And you seems to have done nothing useful at all at the same time-span.

These are all really, really scary thoughts.

But at the same time, life does go on. When I was still a kid I dreamed of being an adult, how it would actually be. While I have clearly not grew accustomed to this REAL world yet, there’s time. There’s also marvelous support from friends and family, so this is not exactly a baptism by fire. I shall look forward to this new identity; as they always say, growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional.

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