Applying for deferred entry was the single best decision I have ever made (and I am really not very good at decisions). In no way was I ready to go from a lifetime of education straight into even bigger school. I was half sick to death of sixth form and all I wanted was some personal freedom.
My gap year (I say gap year, not ‘gap yah’ – daddy didn’t pay for it) was the most enjoyable year of my life so far. As soon as I could afford it I went away to: London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Croatia, Florence, Venice; Vietnam and Thailand, with a cheeky wee festival in between. For the first time ever, I felt like a real human; not yet a proper adult (who wants to be one of those?), but not a child who constantly needs their hand held by the nanny state. By the end, I just wanted more. I came pretty close to sacking off university and having another gap year. And another one. Then probably at least one more after that.
It was quite striking coming to Newcastle and seeing everyone’s different attitudes. Those who came straight from school were almost always more eager to be there than me. University was their freedom, whilst I felt trapped in the system once again.
University was their freedom, whilst I felt trapped in the system once again
All I could think was, ‘Why the hell am I paying thousands of pounds for someone to tell me what to do and give me homework, when all I want to do is see every single thing this wonderful world of ours has to offer?’. At least school didn’t cost anything. The workload never made me want to cry a little bit inside either.
Just think of the holidays you could go on with forty thousand pounds – Forty. Thousand. Pounds. And that’s being optimistic… (yes, I know that not going to university doesn’t make 40 grand magically appear in your bank account, but every penny pinched out of your pay-checks for the next 30 years is a penny that will never make it to the holiday fund). It probably took about half of first year until I finally accepted that this was it, I’m not going to be travelling the world any time soon – but I did get there in the end. I’ll just have to have another year off when it’s all over. Or two.