Turning 31 at university

I turned 31 last Sunday 27 November and so I thought this would be as good a time as ever to reflect properly on the issues around being older than you perhaps ought to be in uni.

My worst nightmare on moving in day was that someone might assume I was dropping off a son/daughter. I’m not old enough to have a university aged child, but that was my worst-case scenario. I visited a halls of residence last year so I was well aware just how young everyone would seem. The good news is that I don’t walk around receiving incredulous glances, I don’t get challenged on my reason for being there, and when students walk by with their parents I don’t get knowing nods from them.

There are some ways I think my life in the land of eternally slamming doors is different to that of my youthful cohabiters however.

When we go out, I don’t tend to think about taking ID with me. There are some occasions where I need my student card to gain access to student only nights (everyone does but I still feel like I’m being singled out as a probable sex offender!). Some clubs also operate an American-style approach where everyone gets ID’d but there have been occasions that I have been waved through in-spite of this policy. It stings a little to be excluded from a “blanket” policy: “ID everyone, I mean everyone! Doesn’t matter how old they look they still get ID’d… I mean not him obviously.”

I’ve also got used to being older than the band at gigs. When Letlive singer Jason Butler made reference to the fact that he was old I had high hopes, but a quick google revealed that he was a year younger than me. Thanks Jason. When I walked past the terrified-looking group of parents waiting at the back of the show to usher their various progeny home I was reassured. I definitely didn’t feel like I belonged in their disapproving ranks!

There have been times when I have taken refuge in the weary throng of older folks at the back of a show, and actually I think it’s a good thing that I can slip in undetected. Just because I’m not ready to act my age, doesn’t mean I want a converse print on my face when I get home from an overly enthusiastic mosh-pit. If the venue is small enough and the crowd-surfers are going at it, I slip away like a wolf in sheep’s clothing and nod along over a pint of real ale at the back.

The other odd thing I’ve noticed, is that the longer I spend fraternising with people in their early twenties, the older people my own age seem. Although it can be nice to have a conversation about rising house prices, the cost of fuel, or the virtues of online grocery shopping, I feel less and less myself when I do it. I think this might be because I never have that sort of conversation with my existing friends, at least I hope that’s it and I’m not just becoming the worst kind of man-child. I mean I sort of hope that…

Ok I’m not this old yet!!!

Things I learned this week

  • The words peng, dutty, dank, and dench (another post on slang might be in order.
  •  How to cook Okra Mumbai style.



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