India Doyle: YOYO (You’re Only Young Once)

Wasn’t the break phenomenal? Six whole weeks with nothing to do, bar mind-map how 2013 is going to be my best year yet (sorry Patrick). Well, I say nothing, but […]

Wasn’t the break phenomenal? Six whole weeks with nothing to do, bar mind-map how 2013 is going to be my best year yet (sorry Patrick).

Well, I say nothing, but I actually did rather a lot.

I spent the holiday getting work experience. When I say work experience, I don’t mean internships. I mean the real, spend 10 hours a day scraping cold mashed potato into a bin, snap your head to the snap of a finger, serve from the left and clear from the right, care about the cutlery type of work experience.

I mean waitressing.

Now, waitressing is not something that is new to me. I have endured it for as long as I can remember, and before I am accused of being whiny again, the money is admittedly quite good. Six pounds an hour means that I can afford to spend the rest of my time riding the Northern line between Morden and High Barnet without any concerns whatsoever. When everyone else has gone back to university, or is on holiday, you have to make your own fun. And waitressing is great because it teaches you very important lessons about the world. Most important of all: us students are not worth the scum on anyone’s Louboutin, and the real world is not afraid to let you know it. Whilst in St Andrews people might confirm your status as a human being, in the real world, you are simply a pair of hands, clasped around a shiny silver plate covered in miniature hot dogs. If your sole purpose on earth is to seductively murmur “canapé?” into a customer’s ear, it is absurd to expect any acknowledgement of your humanity.

Waitressing also teaches you the value of money. I realise, money in St Andrews doesn’t burden everyone on a daily basis (don’t mention the champagne incident). However, even if your bank account is emptier than Piers Morgan’s soul, it’s relatively easy to survive in the bubble on a stringent budget. Here, six pounds could buy you something half decent at Tesco (vodka) (lad) and you can wander home, swinging your little bag for about 5 minutes before reaching your door, and stealing your flatmate’s food. In London, six pounds will barely buy you a bus ticket and a packet of WHSmith’s own brand polos.

But why am I boring you, wise reader, who knows all of this? Because with graduation lingering on the horizon, stinking out the rest of the semester like a grandma with bad halitosis, it is important to remember how crap the real world is, so that we can remember how GREAT St Andrews is. Because even if you have a job here, you’re working in the proximity of your friends, it’s easy (or easier) to get around and you remain a fundamental part of a community. London is great for many things – but when you have spent the day being dehumanised, walking out, totally anonymous, into roaring surges of crowds to go and spend the day’s earnings on a drink, you feel lousy. What’s more, this is our unparalleled opportunity to read, to think, to make mistakes, to learn, and just to live in the security of three heavenly streets.

I may never be hired by the catering industry again, but this break made me realise that St Andrews is our own slice of paradise, and we should all YOLO the hell out of it.