I’ve always had the same motto since I was about 15, and it was ‘Heavy shopping bags heal a heavy heart’. However, now I’m an official student, the only heavy shopping bags I get to carry are the ones containing my weeks supply of food all the way from Asda back to my flat. If anything it makes you feel even crapier especially when you get caught in the rain with no coat. Also unpacking endless tins of baked beans doesn’t quite feel the same as laying out your days purchases from Zara.
What makes it worse it that my bank thought it would be a good idea to give me a free overdraft. On the day it went through I remember working out that I had enough money to get myself to London, buy some Christian Laboutins, go to see Legally Blonde the musical and be back before anyone even noticed. It was one of those occasions where I physically had to slap myself round the face to stop myself booking the train tickets. I reminded myself that if I did well at University it would give me the ability to get a job that meant I could afford a whole wardrobe of amazing shoes. However the first thing they said to us in our course welcome talk was; ‘Well, we know you’re all not going into Journalism for the money’. Actually I was, now where’s the door?
So you would think a student shopping night with tons of discounted clothing would of been great. Well it would of been if I hadn’t already agreed to something else. Now, you’re probably thinking what is so important that you couldn’t cancel to go on an amazingly discounted shopping trip. I had to go to a meeting. Why? Well, because in one of my ‘I can do anything moments’ I decided to sign up for the T.A. Thats right... the Territorial Army.
Just as you check whether you have read that correctly I will try to explain. To be honest I am not the bravest or fittest person in the world, but even though those are the two main things you need to be in the army, I have always kind of been drawn to it. I think thats why when anyone asks what kind of Journalism I would like to do, I always say “In the war zones, and places of conflict”. So when I was looking round the Jobs fair at the Student Union, and got asked if I was interested, I jumped at the chance. Albeit after he reassured me that the Army would pay for all my sun protection cream if we were to go anywhere that the temperatures exceeded 16C. (This was after he stopped laughing at me for saying ‘I would love to join the army but I am Ginger’) It gets expensive for Gingers you know!
So off I went in my Taxi that I felt willed to book after the man on the end of the phone said “It’s not that expensive really when you compare it to getting raped”. Maybe they should put that on the advertising boards because it certainly worked on me.
Now, maybe I am wrong in saying that I thought that Taxi drivers had a relatively good idea on general landmarks of the town in which they work. Because apparently they do not. So after being driven way past where I had asked to go (because he obviously knew where I wanted to go better than I did) I stood in the centre of a town I didn’t know, in the pouring rain, on the phone to my very lovely flatmate who sounded really panicky when she told me that none of the street names I read out to her were appearing on Google Maps.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you have just said to yourself ‘I am going to die in this place’? Well this was my moment. My Mum has always done a really good job of preparing me for these situations. For instance she always drilled it into me that I should never ‘look’ lost even if I was, because that makes you a target. I don’t know about you, but I think a girl hysterically crying looking nervously up and down the street is a pretty surefire sign that she is lost.
There I was, having a full on mental breakdown, muttering to myself ‘You can’t do this. Why did you ever think you were strong enough to do this? You’re not cut out for this’. Have you also had one of those realisation moments where you mentally slap yourself round the face? Well I had one of these too. I asked the next boy that passed me (who had a very nice fringe) where the nearest bus station was, and after thanking him profusely, trudged my soggy boots to the shelter. I had given up on trying to find the T.A centre, and I was going back to my comfort of my flat and a 99p bottle of wine.
I was starting to feel a little better then, having been able to pick myself up off the ground and go into practical mode (another thing I have learnt from my Mother). I got myself to the correct Bus Stop and had worked out whereabouts I had ended up. As I was trying to wipe away my runny mascara the Bus turned up, which I am pretty sure had a Halo above it.
Having a Taxi drop me off in what I thought was the middle of nowhere and being charged £5 for the privilege, meant that I was left with only a £20 note. So, as always, I knew the Bus Driver was perhaps going to role her eyes at me and do a friendly ‘TUT’. But no, this driver looked at me like I had pulled up my dress, squatted and done a Poo on the floor. That’s not an exaggeration and because my Mum told me the other day that I apologise to much to people who don’t deserve it, I looked at her in exactly the same way and didn’t even say sorry. Suck on that.
I finally made it back to my flat in relatively one piece despite getting off at the wrong bus stop and shouting ‘OH PISS OFF’ at a Van full of men who honked at me. Wrong time and day to shout lewd comments at me I’m afraid.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who is at University and/or living away from home for the first time who doesn’t say to themselves at least once a day ‘Am I cut out for this?’. But like I realised; you are. The answer you should give yourself is ‘Yes’, every time. I have only been here 3 weeks but I have already learnt a lot. For instance; don’t ever bleach your toilet when you are wearing your favourite t-shirt, always make sure it’s your flat door you are trying to unlock before you call the maintenance guy to tell him your key has broke, and never ever reply to a boy that asks you out with “I don’t like boys with big noses”.
Live. Laugh. Love.