In February of 2020, as several students do, I had a minor existential crisis about being in my fourth year of university. At the time, I was living in a house with four other girls, two of whom are among my closest friends, and all of us on the cusp of entering the adult world – however anyone who got a peek into our home never would have known. From an outside glance, we were all flourishing in our student lives.
In our living room, our TV stand was primarily used as a makeshift bar cart. Pictures of our loved ones could be seen haphazardly taped up on the walls, a row of tricolour streamers were taped in a corner of our living room, and black and orange streamers hung from our ceiling; both remnants from past celebrations. On Fridays, you could often find us huddled around our short coffee table covered in homemade pizzas and tallboys of beers and ciders. By the end of the night, the table was bound to be littered with wine bottles and empty beer cans, as well as games, costumes, or clothes from previous nights out.
Our routines also fit the bill of your average, chaotic student lifestyle. While you could always count on seeing us in our classes, we’d often roll out of bed at the last possible second before hastily running to get coffee before arriving in our seminars. We’d be creative in finding the most unconventional ways to waste time. One Thursday afternoon while procrastinating getting ready to go to a prof’s office hours, I had my housemates help me put a temporary tattoo on my ass and waited for an hour with them in the kitchen for the tattoo to set. On most days, music could be heard streaming out of anyone’s rooms, and 10PM dinners where we ate McDonald’s on someone’s bedroom floor were not uncommon.
I’ve reflected a lot on my living situation, both in admiration that it’s ever been acceptable for me to live in such a state of free chaos, and in complete awe that I’ve had the opportunity to do so. Growing up, I remember having to go to the kitchen table to eat dinner with my parents; I was never allowed to eat in my room and eating fast food on my bedroom floor would never be allowed. I was expected to pick up my belongings right as I left the room, and keep my headphones in when I was listening to music. The TV stand was for the TV only, and having a full display for alcohol seemed to be a waste of space. Every room in the house had to be kept clean; there was no way in hell that I could coat any walls with several 4×6 photos and all books and clothes had to be taken away with me when I left the room. I couldn’t possibly imagine having friends that would encourage the idea of temporarily tattooing my backside as a fun way to put off getting ready to go chat with a prof. Whereas my parents maintained peace and quiet in all living spaces and I was consistently met with expectations to conform to their own routines, having the chance to live this freely in Kingston is a dream my adolescent self never thought would come true.
Currently, as I am emerging into the latter half of my penultimate semester of undergrad, I am suddenly faced with the reality that in a few short months I will be emerging into the adult world. As I pour over my grad school applications and scour the internet for what could be my first ever Big Girl job, I’m suddenly met with the pressure to abandon the comforts of my university life and transition into being a fully fledged adult. Instead of having the opportunity to gently phase out the degeneracy I’ve become so accustomed to, I’m finding myself preparing to make an unrealistic immediate switch into being a fully fledged adult who is prepared to work a white collar job. Though excited for the transition into living a more adult lifestyle, I find myself looking back on the comforts of my and feeling reluctant to let them go.
Though my twenties will be full of experiences where I work to refine my life as I continue to learn and grow, I’m confident that I will still be able to slip in some chaotic moments behind closed doors. While the days of creative procrastination, regular pizza nights and living with my closest friends at my fingertips may be soon behind me, I know I can still count on moments of quiet chaos in my future.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: Sadie Levine