With the academic year drawing to a close, parents up and down the country will be spending some time over the next couple of weekends collecting their ‘darlings’ from university or college.
We’ve been doing this for a number of years now and every time, without fail, I’m surprised by how much ‘stuff’ our daughters have managed to cram into one room.
What’s also amazing is how ‘scummy’ a group of young people can make a place in just a few months.
They leave home for their first year at university fully house-trained – able to keep a bedroom (relatively) tidy, do washing up and put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket. But within a very short period they seem to ‘go native’. Piles of washing up languish in the communal kitchen (along with a worrying collection of empty bottles), clothes ‘stored’ all over the floor and shelves filled with various ephemera that does not seem to have any connection to academia.
And this is in halls of residence, where regular visits from a housekeeper maintain certain standards – student houses are of a different order altogether.
I’m fairly sure that it’s not just our girls who ‘sink’ into these scruffy ways and it’s pretty general – I’ve now visited enough student accommodation to know it’s widespread.
I do sympathise with them a little, especially when it comes to properties rented from private landlords. The quality of decorating and furnishings is not always (for that read hardly ever) of the highest order. But I suppose it’s a vicious circle – if owners have had their fingers burnt, they’re not likely to trust students, but if the place is a tip, young people are less likely to respect it.
With our young people safely back at home for the summer, us poor parents have to make a choice – try to get them to return to the ‘house rules’ or accept that your home will not quite be the same for a few months.
But for me, the worst thing is getting them to adjust to ‘normal’ hours. University (wherever it might be geographically) is obviously in a different time zone which doesn’t correspond with ours – their bedtime almost coincides with my breakfast and as for getting up, who knows? Sometime before I get home from work.