This article was originally published in Impact Magazine in June 2011. See it at http://www.impactnottingham.com/2011/06/21-ways-to-retain-your-inner-child/
I turn 21 today, like many have done, and I am confronted with the fact that I will be officially entering adultdom. There is no turning back. I have witnessed the years gradually speeding past me, through the wonder-years of being a teenager and then the twilight years of nineteen and ‘twenteen’. Now, I will have to face up to my responsibilities. However, I do feel that student life presents a sort of limbo between childhood and adulthood, between responsibility and carefree joy, between the real world and the world of blissful abandon. Students and children have a remarkable amount of things in common, and students seem to do well at embracing their borrowed time in childhood. Whatever your age, here are my ways in which students never lose their inner child.
Making a den:
This is the protocol for students living together for the first time. Take some sheets and blankets. Drape them across the chairs and tables; crawl underneath and voilà, you have your den. NB. you must eat/play/sleep in the den for at least a couple of days in order to appreciate its full beauty. An entry password is also recommended.
Having a food fight/ water fight/ snowball fightComplete with team tactics, ‘base-points’, shelters and an HQ.
Eating nothing but sweets and chocolate all day, every day
Just because you can
Getting naked as much as possible
Students tend to achieve this without actually trying to, surprisingly.
Forever enjoying playgrounds, and rushing to be the first one on the slide, roundabout and swings
(even if your feet drag on the floor).
Still enjoying Smilies, fish-fingers and alphabet-spaghetti
(though this may be the extent of some student’s cooking repertoire anyway).
Crying/throwing a tantrum
The reasons for this may have changed from bodily responses such as hunger to drunkenly losing your eyelash-curlers in a club.
Drinking out of a bottle
Not really recommended, although some ‘classy-birds’ out there swapped their milk for Lambrini many moons ago.
Deploying the almighty mattress-slide
The mattress-slide is the paragon of student childishness. Simply take a mattress (or two, depending on how long your staircase is) and place it over the stairs, creating a super-slide. If you want to create a proper assault-course out of your home, tie a rope/dressing-gown cord to the top of the banister and use it to ‘climb’ up and slide down again. May also be used in conjunction with the den. NB. Impact will not accept the responsibility for any part of your house breaking as a result of this activity.
‘Decorating’ your house/flat
Some students are mature and have refined tastes; some have ogres for landlords, and some wreak havoc on their homes, so your mileage on the definition of ‘decorating’ may vary. Choices of ‘decor’ include graffiti and outlandish murals.
Getting excited about the smallest thing
Whether it’s finally learning to tie your own shoelaces or finally managing to take your shoes off after a night out.
Dancing on the sofa and jumping on the bed
(like no one is watching)
Watching Disney videos/ Nickelodeon/CBBC
because your alcohol-saturated brain can’t take anything more mentally strenuous.
Still needing a cuddle, a pat on the head, or being ‘tucked in’ to bed every now and again
It just feels nice…
Dressing up in fancy-dress
Students appear to have superseded children in the fancy-dress stakes, dressing up for any occasion, whether this be a bar-crawl or your mate’s sister’s cousin’s flat-mate’s work do.
Playing endless games of hide and seek, tag and spin-the-bottle
There seems to be no shame in playing these games, and if the hide-and-seek was instigated by your dribblingly drunken friend and the spin-the-bottle then leads to a highly regrettable one-night-stand, well, then so be it.
Happily indulging in parties which feature jelly, balloons and musical bumps
Admittedly, some student’s parties feature vodka jelly, ‘noz’ balloons and the musical ‘bumps’ of people falling over, but other students engage quite happily in the more wholesome variety. So there you go.
Camping in the garden
The novelty never dies. Except when, after a few beers, your super-cool ‘roof sunbathing’ ends in tears.