Listen up loners: Here are 13 things you’ll only relate to if you’re an only child at uni
Imaginary friends > siblings
Going to uni and living with others is both a daunting and testing experience for everyone. First off, you’re shoved into a flat with a bunch of strangers and then are made to share a TV, fridge space, and are just expected to get along fine and play house. Then comes the trauma of second and third year housing – a learning curve for anyone.
But as an only child, it’s a whole other ball game. It’s probably the first time you’ve had to share your living space with people who aren’t your parents and it takes some serious adjustment. Navigating uni as an only child undoubtedly has its perks, but also it’s painfully relatable downfalls. Your whole upbringing has been different to those with siblings and that really comes to light at uni. So, what better way to bond over our trauma than to unite over a list of only child uni moments we’ve all collectively experienced?
Here are 13 only child uni moments you’ll relate to if you don’t have siblings:
1. Being uncomfortable sharing
I’m not calling you selfish, but the uncomfortable feeling surrounding item sharing is deeply rooted in only child culture. It doesn’t matter if your blanket lives on the living room sofa, no one else may use it. Your flatmate’s tea towel is wet? That’s a shame, the dry one’s mine. And god forbid anyone uses your stolen pint glass during pres. It happens once and then the glass is hidden away at the back of the cupboard or better yet, in your room for the rest of the academic year. I don’t care if you say you’ll wash it after.
2. You’re the one who remembers who didn’t chip in
Growing up as an only child meant that you never really had to split things evenly, so when it comes to chipping for booze, takeaways or cleaning supplies, you can bet your bottom dollar that the only child of the flat will remember who owes what and whose turn it is to buy toilet rolls next. You’ll be the one to organise the cleaning rota and will chase everyone up for that £2 they still owe for the new kitchen bin. But at least someone’s organised.
3. You always have to deal with the landlord, TV licence guy and the neighbour who hates you
Ok, the downside of having confidence and adept social skills are the jobs you get assigned. You’ve grown up speaking to adults your whole life and no one else is brave enough to tell the landlord he’s taking the piss, or the guy trying to take you to court that no one watches the telly, or even the downstairs neighbour that 7pm is not too late to listen to DnB on a Saturday. It’s a hassle, but you’re highly regarded as the one who gets shit done, which comes with its own air of respect.
4. You’re a pro at making friends
The main benefit of growing up without siblings is the independence it gives you in adulthood. All of those years spent attaching yourself to random kids while on holiday with your parents, and then entertaining yourself when they went home and your parents had had enough of you can finally be put to good use. Freshers’ Week is a doddle and house parties are your time to shine. Mingling is a sport and you always win first place.
5. But you still need to escape everyone
Despite all that, you still crave your alone time. The saying that only children grow up lonely is only half true – what people love to forget is all the peace we got growing up, something that just does not exist in halls as a fresher, or at uni in general. While everyone’s thriving off the chaotic energy of uni life, you literally cannot function without being able to retreat back to your room and just chill on your own for a bit.
6. You have to endure only child stigma
“That sounds so lonely”, “I couldn’t live without my siblings”, “God, weren’t you always bored?”. Nothing is worse than mentioning that your parents decided not to further reproduce after you to then hear “Ah, that explains a lot about you”. Sorry, what does that mean? Whether you’re proud or ashamed of it, you wear this label everywhere you go. You get called bossy, selfish or spoiled more times than you care to count by people who are jealous you got a double bed as a teen. Not my problem your parents couldn’t keep it in their pants.
7. Your parents do so much for you, obviously
Ok, possibly the most beneficial part of being an only child at uni is the time and attention your parents can afford to give you. You get picked up, moved in, moved out – forgot to buy a chopping board? Here, take the spare. Your 18 years of insufferable mollycoddling finally seems worth it when you get driven up to uni, bags overflowing with crockery and cushions for your new gaff, all without stepping a foot in Wilko (RIP).
8. You’re constantly asked when you’re coming home
Look, it’s not easy being the favourite in the family. Having no one your own age to chat with growing up, you’re close to a lot of family members and so they notice your absence at the pub, and your empty chair every Sunday at dinner stings a little more. You have to remind your fans that you’ve started a new chapter of your life now, you haven’t forgotten about them and that you’ll be home soon.
9. Standards are high
Although having no siblings to be compared to is truly a blessing, you actually end up with higher standards from your parents. Be that due to their unknowingness of how bloody hard uni actually is, or just because they want their offspring to break the mould and do better than they did and you’re their only shot – it’s rough.
10. You have a close relationship with your lecturers
Again, this just screams emotional maturity to me. You’ve spent so long sitting at the grown ups table that you matured at 13 and you’re basically a genius now – and don’t your lecturers know it. Maybe this has something to do with your eager to please personality or the fact that most close people in your life are older. Either way, you’re basically besties and you love feeling superior to all the other silly little freshers in the room.
11. You’re the best chef in the house
Being one of a three person household, a lot of the responsibilities soon were expected of you. When one parent didn’t finish work until six and the other decided they fancied a pint on a weekday, it quickly becomes fight or flight. Your culinary skills soon blossomed from beans on toast to an array of pasta dishes with different sauces. You’re the only one who knows what a roux is. Everyone wants you to cook Christmas dinner.
12. Everyone comes to you for advice
You really should start charging by the hour. Perhaps it’s the confidence, or it could be the knowledge you soaked up listening to your parents on business calls while silently colouring in. But you know your stuff, so that’s why everyone and their dog comes to you for your opinion in times of trouble. But it keeps you humble and improves your already thriving people skills some more. You’re well on your way to being the campus agony aunt.
13. You have absolutely zero patience
Perhaps one of the most relatable only child uni moments we all repeatedly endure. Whether that’s someone making your group late for the bus, the bartender pulling you an upsetting pint, or your flatmate’s bed banging against your wall, you just haven’t been brought up to endure such inconveniences. And it’s not your fault, everyone should be more considerate for us only children. We spent our childhoods playing in our own rooms in our big beds, and being loved too much to ever have to put up with the nonsense we’re exposed to at uni. But at least we have each other and can find friendship over our only child uni moments together.
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