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The end of term, for many, is a huge relief. However, for many others it is a terrifying reminder that another year has passed, bringing them one year closer to the horrifyingly mysterious life after uni. If, like me, the end of term and the end of your lease means returning to your family home in a village or a small town, then you will know the whole new set of problems that come along with this.
The transition between the independence and freedom of term time life and the restrictions of home life are difficult for everyone. Especially when the answer to every question is, ‘not while you’re living under my roof’. However, for those of us living out in the sticks the transition is much trickier for many reasons.
Firstly, public transport is a work in progress and the struggle is real. Unlike in Lancaster where stagecoach pride themselves on running buses every 15 minutes, you’re lucky if there is a bus every hour and you can be sure that the last service is 6pm.
Say you manage to get the bus into town. A fifteen-mile journey that shouldn’t take more than 25-30 minutes takes almost an hour because it stops at all eight villages along the way. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
If you’ve lived in a village all your life, chances are you went to a village or a small town school, meaning that all your friends are spread out across the catchment area for that school. In order to escape home and experience socialising one has to either drive themselves, shamelessly beg friends who drive – or worse still, barter with chores in exchange for lifts from your parents.
For us village folk, many an hour of the summer will be spent in a car hurtling down back country roads to collect various passengers before hitting the bright lights of town. A prospect that isn’t terribly exciting, but organising a night out further afield is often debated but never quite materialises.
Nights out host a whole set of additional issues. For one there has to be a designated driver because taxis cost a small fortune as there is always someone who lives at least half an hour from town. From personal experience I can tell you, being the designated driver is never fun.
Lurking around every corner are frightful reminders of your pre uni life, whether it’s ex boyfriends/girlfriends or drunken snogs you would much rather leave behind, they usually emerge just as you get drunk enough to embarrass yourself.
After a night of reminiscing, with people you had almost completely forgotten about, comes the most difficult part of a night out at home. Getting in the house. At uni stumbling in drunk at 4am is something your housemates expect and even find amusing, most of the time. However, an art form you had perfected before uni is turned into mission impossible due to lack of practise. As you creep up to bed past the fridge for your drunken snack you feel really proud of yourself for not waking anyone up.
This feeling is dashed when you sit down to breakfast with the family the next day hungover and are meant with glares and tuts as they explain to you that they heard every step and are even less impressed that there is no food left in the fridge. Also unlike with friends, the awkward “I’m disappointed in you” glances last for a few days.
Reverting back to the simple life does have its advantages. For instance there is not a better hangover cure than knowing someone is going to wash the vodka and coke out of your favourite top and cook you a roast dinner. And despite the moaning and groaning there is nothing quite like a drive in the country with your oldest friends. A few home comforts soon outweigh the craving for independence and by the time summer is over you almost don’t want to leave… Almost.