I’m a student.
Automatically when I announce that little fact about myself, I’ve seen a flurry of presumptions, assumptions and stereotypes cross the mind of the person I’ve shared that with.
I’m in full-time education therefore, I’m limited in my understanding of the ‘real world’.
I can’t stand early mornings and am generally lazy.
I haven’t had to make any serious life decisions yet.
All my decisions simply involve what’s best and preferable to me.
I’m care free and irresponsible, with nothing grounding me.
I want to dive into the world of work and totally think I deserve a £30,000 pay cheque from the off set.
Or, even – I still have my parents do my washing for me.
I think, few other groups of people are so generally, uniformly labelled.
To be a student means nothing else for my identity or character, other than the fact that it means I am immersed in an environment of such diversity. An environment of mature students, of students who still seem as though they should be in year 11. Of married students, and of those who’ve never had a long-term relationship. Of dedicated students, on a set career path, and of people who will humbly graduate and then begin the exploration of what it is they’re passionate about. Of students who still struggle to cook for themselves and of those who take on the role of ‘House Parent’ and automatically look after all those around them, including themselves. Of people who avoid responsibility like the plague, and of those who carefully weigh up their decision with deep consideration for others. Of those who get lost in the chaos and those whose steadfast character and integrity are frankly inspiring. It’s a beautiful variety and an inspiring, chaotic, continual collision path with lives and stories that teach me so much.
It is a privilege to be a student.
I will never again live with all four of the beautiful women I get to currently call my brilliant housemates. I will probably never again know so many people in one city. I will probably struggle to have such diversity in my social circles. And I will definitely miss mid-week, 4 hour, coffee shop meet ups with dear friends whose stories, hearts and minds constantly fascinate me. I will miss nights out where it feels like you know 50% of the people in a packed out club, and the 2am conversations with people who are so open, questioning and honest about their life, faith, fears and dreams.
To be a student is to have the world at your fingertips for 3 short years, in the aim that the tantalising menu on offer to you in that period sparks a hunger for life beyond graduation. A hunger for finding a passion and pursuing it, a hunger for community and sincere friendships, a hunger for activism and engaging in the issues around us, and a hunger to learn – every day after our degree is done and dusted.
So, whether you are a student (caught up in the confusing life stage you find yourself in, and wondering what is going on around you) or whether you find yourself talking to a student or two in the coming months (maybe as they return home for Christmas) remember to appreciate the diverse world they are immersed in and the unique character they are forming in that catalyst of vibrance, education and independence. Push assumptions aside, let them amuse you, inspire you and surprise you. Like any walk of life, appreciate no two stories are the same.