In my last post, I wrote about my new accommodation. As I said, I’ll be living with undergraduates, mainly first years. So they’ll be 17 or 18. And I’ll still be 30.
People shake their heads, and tell me that they’ll be messy. They tell me that they’ll vomit in the kitchen and build displays using beer bottles and traffic cones in the hallway. I’m told that they’ll stay up all night, making noise. And that they won’t know how to cook and they’ll steal my milk.
But none of that bothers me.
What I’m nervous about is that they won’t like me.
I remember the way I thought about “mature” students when I was 18. I remember when I talked to friends about mature students, we said things like “He’s actually alright if you talk to him.” This implies two things. A: It would be valid not talk to him, and B: It would be valid to assume he’s not alright. Is that what they’ll say about me?
What I want to happen is for me to be an uncle-like figure. I’ll be a wise old man, an aged sage, who they’ll come to for advice. They can ask me (given my vast experience and expertise) about their relationship problems. I can counsel them when they think about changing courses. And when one of them tearfully realises that the drugs don’t work, it’ll be me who helps him rebuild his life.
I might teach them how to cook. And introduce them to mid-90s TV dramas like Dawson’s Creek. I’ll tell them tales of a pre-mobile phone, pre-internet world.
I’m bound to have made it onto TV by the end of the year, and when I do, a huge group of teenagers will gather around a communal television set in Halls, bellowing and cheering as I verbally bitch-slap Ryan Tubridy or Vincent Browne around the studio.
Or maybe they won’t. Maybe we’ll spend a year grunting greetings at each other, never learning each other’s names. They’ll tell their girlfriends about this weird old guy who lives on their corridor. And I’ll be the subject of some hideous end-of-year post-exam stunt.
On Friday, when I move, I’ve just got to keep thinking that I’m older and wiser. That I’ve lived outside home before, so I have the advantage over them. By all rights, I should be less nervous than them. Fingers crossed they don’t see that I’m not.