Victoria Park pagoda

It’s all up to you

Summer in East London is pretty chill. Scorching hot days in Victoria Park, long coffees in the sunshine and hiding in your room on a OITNB marathon when it’s raining (without the guilt of the essays you should really be doing). I didn’t spend last summer here, instead I escaped for three months to Berlin to have possibly one of the best summers I’ve ever had; but more on that in another column.

When I put my pen down on the 16th May after my last exam, three and a half months of unknown freedom stretched out before me and good lord was I excited (read: sleep deprived and hallucinating slightly). After celebrating in true QMUL fashion at Monday’s Calling I woke up in my dingy old flat and realised that I had failed to plan something quite as spectacular as last summer. I would have to pay off my lackadaisical unemployed year in hard minimum wage work to afford the rent on my delightful new flat, located within the coveted triangle of campus, Victoria Park and Roman Road.   For some reason this summer is much more real than the last: jobs are hard, money is short and overdrafts must be paid off before we finish next June. Everyone knows that these are ‘the best summers of our lives’, although how can we really know until we’ve lived out the rest, but humour my clichés for sake of eloquent writing.

Like many soon-to-be-graduates before me, I am in perpetual denial about whether I am in fact old enough to be allowed to take on a ‘real’ life in London. Edging on 21 I have no illusions that I will be able to hide behind the skirts of my mother anymore, not that I have for a few years (insert arm-flexing emoji here). But in any case it’s terrifying when you feel that leash that you’ve been tugging on for so long finally loosen. I had a long chat with mum at the weekend about my life options: MA or no MA, internships, moving abroad, employability… Unlike the similar chat we had before my gap year there was no QMUL waiting for me on the other side, just the entire rest of my life.

So a word of advice (lol am I really giving out advice like I make good choices): make these days the best of your life; who knows what will happen after graduation. But how good the best days of your life are is completely up to you.

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