Are You Ready For Kids?

It may be too late for you, but you can save your grandchildren: SOPHIA VAHDATI shows us the pitfalls of raising college kids.

Bop children college marriage college parents father jack and jill kids Larkin mother oedipus Sophia Vahdati t.s. eliot

I met my great-grandmothers the other day, at a bop. They were pulling some pretty decent shapes for ladies whose children’s children have children. . .

The college family thing is quite odd. Other universities have shadow systems, but we have proposals, marriages and extended families, some of which are dysfunctional enough to merit an appearance on Jeremy Kyle. I’ve witnessed some amazing proposals, and my hen night was amongst the most entertaining drunken blurs of my time at Cambridge, but what is the purpose behind marriage? What is the main reason for involving ourselves in this sacred tradition? Why, the answer is simple: procreation.

A common cause of college marriage combustion

Of course, the aim of college marriage isn’t to pair us up early on and make us breed to create perfect future Cambridge students. No, the college version of parenting, thankfully, is more like a system of adoptive parents. In the ‘real world’, adoptive parents have to undergo stringent checks and fulfill a strict set of criteria. We, on the other hand, don’t. Any old (or young) student can sign up to be a college parent; do all of them really think they can handle the responsibility that comes with having kids? Are they really ready to advise and impart wisdom on to the next generation?

Personally, I am not so sure that I’m ready for it. I still leave everything to the last minute; I still cry at negative feedback; the same three plates that are left unwashed for days on end in the kitchen, every week, haunt my dreams; I still struggle to balance work with extra-curricular activities, and my main extra-curricular activity is drinking. I should not be allowed to set an example for and/ or pretend to help a first year. If anything, I’ll ruin them – RUIN THEM – like cheery Mr Larkin said:

They fuck you up your college mum and dad,

They may not mean to but they do,

They fill you with the faults they had,

And add some extra just for you.

Are you ready for this kind of pressure? Will you be able to stick by your college partner through sickness and through health, till graduation do you part? To warn future generations, I’ve put together a small dossier of (*to be read in American shock-doc voice-over style*) ‘When College Marriages Go Wrong’. To protect the identities of all involved, the names of students have been changed:

Case 1: Oedipus Revisited

Sonny develops unhealthily close relationship with Mother Mary – she entrances him with her dazzling smile and bright eyes. Mary appreciates the youthful beauty of her son; he is full of freshness, untainted by the stale air of the Bubble – he is going places. Father Fred is displeased and, feeling his self-esteem plummeting, he lashes out. Dueling ensues.  The family is never the same again as critical boundaries have been crossed. Fred no longer speaks to Mary; he sees their marriage as a brief part of his life that was ill thought out. Sonny will never forget the harsh words of Fred, and still lusts after Mary who, on occasion, indulges his fantasies. Family Failed.

Grantchester: where dreams are shattered

Case 2: The Runaway Children and their Single Mum

Two kindred spirits, Harriet and Elliot, were adventurers with a lust for life. They had dreams of taking their children to Grantchester and teaching them about T.S Eliot and Algebraic K Theory. Alas, it was not to be. Not only did Elliot abandon poor Harriet before the arrival of their kids, but the kids themselves also struggled to cope with the harsh realities of Cambridge and the lack of a stable family life. Harriet found single motherhood difficult; she took her eye off the ball for one second and bam: two out of three children had followed in the footsteps of their father. They had abandoned their poor mother and gone to pursue other careers (rumours that little Jason flew the nest to pursue his singing career in South Korea have recently been confirmed). Family Failed.

Jack and Jill’s relationship tears the marriage apart

Case 3: Three’s a Crowd

In a display of its liberal and modern attitude, colleges have allowed three-way marriages. This would be a great step forward were it not for the horror story of Jill, Jack and Larry. When Jill and Jack realised their love was verging on being worthy of ‘real world’ marriage, the magic number three became less enriching, and more crowded.  Naturally, this left Larry at a bit of a loose end – especially when the children arrived. In come one child of Jill’s subject, one child of Jack’s subject, and one child of… No wait, that’s it. Larry left on his ownsome lonesome. Family Failed.

It may already be too late for you, dear reader. It may also be too late for your children. But your grandchildren, and their children after them? You can still save them. Share this article. Save a marriage.