How to respond to your parents annoying questions when you’re back from uni

You tell me ‘what’s next’, Sharon


Most people see summer as a time for students to relax after their summer exams and deadlines, to minimise their overdraft minus balance, or to bank their place on the career ladder with a summer internship.

Sometimes you just want to chill, but parents and family friends always seem to hound you with nagging questions. Here’s how to answer them without actually having to do anything.

“What do you study again?”

 Actually, as I told you last time, and every previous time prior to that, I study utapinitishiou, which if you weren’t sure is the study of people’s social ignorance and gullibleness in social interaction.

You will find that at least one family friend, relative or some old guy who turns up to every social gathering but no one really knows, will ask you what you’re studying, and no one really wants to turn around and say their full degree title and come across as a pompous twat – it’s much more fun to make it up and watch them gawp and tilt their heads slightly to the left as they listen intently to your made up degree.

“Why haven’t you got a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?”

Well why would I rush into anything so time-consuming when I pay £9,000 for a degree, not a relationship. Clearly, I am just too devoted to my all-important degree you see so the only kind of relationships I’ll be needing are those with my lecturers and supervisor. Anyway Tony, why haven’t you got a stable wife yet? What was that – divorce number three?

This may be one of the worst questions you will get put up against because what do they expect you to answer: I’m actually sleeping with six different guys right now and I’m just testing the waters, or that your embarrassing night out antics would actually repulse anyone because you dgaf about pulling, it’s all about a good time. Let’s face it, you don’t remember university for leaving early to go home and spoon with your significant other – you remember creating a synchronised dance with your pals or attempting a stage dive at the front of the club.

“Is it still worth the £9,000 a year?”

Let’s not beat around the bush here Sharon, it was never worth £9,000 and we all knew it but I’d made my choice after watching Fresh Meat that this was the path for me so let’s just live with it shall we.

This question should be posed at the politicians who made this scruffy bed, not us having to sleep through our 9ams in it.

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“What do you want to do after university?”

I mean I have huge ambitions for the future which consist primarily of wallowing in self-pity at the end of my education, and then I will become really good friends with the debt collectors who I will have to see so very often when they check to see how much of my tuition I have actually paid off  – but we can just have a good round of “go fish” with that.

In all honesty, who really knows what exactly they want to do after university? I bet most of us wouldn’t have expected to be where we are currently when we were thinking about our lives ahead when sitting our A Levels, so why does wrongly predicting our futures from here on make us any better off? Life is a path we have to create, not follow.

“You look a lot fuller and more rounded now, don’t you?”

I do believe you’re talking about the infamous “uni bod” which is a result of the diet consisting of crappy library coffee, pasta, Smirnoff, the odd spinach leaf, pro-plus and a daily dose of stress mixed with a pinch of anxiety.

Apparently making not-so-subtle negative comments about your body is common practice once you have begun your university education. The only thing to do in response to this is to embrace it. You can only go through university once and you don’t have any other opportunities to go out mid-week for no reason whatsoever, and to eat rubbish at 2am because you’ve finally planned out your dissertation. So if that means you have a couple of extra pounds now then I’m pretty sure it’s worth it if it means you get to live the best years of your life.

“So are you still at school now?”

Why yes, yes I am; I actually attend the school of wit and sarcasm – it’s a highly sought after school don’t you  know.

If you have the pleasure of encountering your parents’ old colleagues or school friends whom you haven’t seen for over a decade, they will presume that you are still at school because your pimple-stained face and your choice of kids’ cereal gives off that impression. You can alter this response to suit your situation of course – maybe the “school of beauty and intelligence” or the “Beyonce school of sass and ass.”

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“Have you decided where you want to live after uni?”

How are you supposed to know exactly where you will move to in the future? Any number of factors play an important role in this: where your job is situated, house prices and whether Theresa May tears our government to shreds. Lest we forget that a lot of the time, the distance we move away is in direct correlation with how much our family try to irritate us – is that why Australia has so many British workers?

“So what are you going to do with your days?”

Well Tina, I will probably roll out of bed before 10am for a good early start you know how it is, and then catch the headlines by going on Facebook for at least 40 minutes, then I mean I have to spend a good half an hour flicking through everyone’s Snapchat stories of the night before, then I guess I’ll shower and it may take me some time to decide which clothes are scruffy enough to wear in the house all day but not too scruffy that I look like an extra from Shrek. I may go for a run but I can see a small cloud just over yonder so I guess that’s just a danger risk really.

It often feels like parents see the return of the student as adopting a sloth which just lays about the house all day and hasn’t budged an inch since they left for work. If this is not the time to not get dressed for days on end and to lie in bed all day as you begin to wonder whether Netflix has a usage limit, then when can we do it? Going back to university means staring at the same non-sensical sentence on a laptop screen for five hours and only realising the time when you send a Snapchat with the time filter to all of your contacts to prove how long you’ve spent in the library. University is all or nothing: for three terms you are constantly on your toes and regretting your choice of degree, but then over the summer you spend 10 weeks doing absolutely nothing until the next year begins. As annoying as your family might find it, they don’t see the effort you have to put in when it matters, and so they see your summer lifestyle as your entire degree lifestyle.

“Can’t you start preparing for next year then?”

Why would I start preparing now when I can go through the same cycle of stress, self-loathing and tears when I fall behind in week two? It’s a system I have going now so I don’t want to ruin the tradition. The only form of preparation I can and will do is to get fit and lose a few pounds/ounces/grams (what’s the difference really?), in order to make room for the return of freshers’ week when I shall spend all of my termly drinking allowance in the space of one week.

Truthfully, we can never really be prepared for what lies ahead since the lecturers don’t even know what they will be teaching us yet. So in that case, let me get back to my other form of preparation: watching Sex and The City as a warm up for beginning Gossip Girl – busy busy day ahead.

“So are you back for good now?”

That depends on how many more questions you intend on asking me actually – the next train is in an hour so I can make that in no time if you continue to question all of my life choices, in which case I won’t be back for good.

When people ask this it makes it sound like they’re going to keep us stranded here for an eternity and never let us go back to the Hogwarts sacred land. The student lifestyle has no longevity as you are constantly back and forth between ‘university home’ and ‘home home’ – so ‘back for good’ actually just refers to a few weeks but it feels like you’re back for good with no light at the end of the tunnel, trust me.

“Do you miss university?”

Do I miss uni? You’re asking if I miss being able to cook for myself, living with truly amazing friends, and being taught by some of the greatest researchers in their respective field? Why not at all – it’s overrated really.

Yet another thoughtless question; if I didn’t enjoy university enough to miss it when not there for long periods of time then surely I wouldn’t be paying £3,000 per term just for the tuition… Do you miss your younger years of still having your life ahead of you, when your biggest responsibility was to get yourself out of bed in the morning, and still having the naive ambition of being able to do anything? I thought as much.

One last consolation is that you’re about halfway through your summer stint at home and you will be returning to your drinking buddies, people who understand your course and the ones who you will happily stay up watching crappy late night tv with just for the pleasure of their company. Home may be where the heart is, but uni is where the alcohol is – #KeepGoing #RoadToUni