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Coming of Age with One Direction

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Edited by: Radhika Gupta


I surreptitiously open the garden gate.

“Rucha!” My mom shouts from inside. “You know you’re not supposed to go out alone after dark!”

“Just for a few minutes, Mom!” I say and bolt outside before she can reply.

The cool night air is filled with the faint spicy scent of night-blooming flowers. The wind strikes up a soft tune. I take out my elder sister’s old iPods and play music by One Direction.

Midnight memories


Baby, you and me

Stumblin’ in the street

Singin’, singin’, singin’, singin’

(Midnight Memories by One Direction)

Hold on to the feeling

And don’t let it go

‘Cause we got the floor now

Get out of control

I wanna stay up all night

And do it all with you

(Up All Night by One Direction)

The lyrics swirl in my mind even after the song is over. How I long to go out into the world, to make unforgettable memories with my friends, to wander in empty streets at midnight, and stay up all night, singing, tasting the sweet, unparalleled taste of youth! Right now, all I had was my small world of school, routine classes, and homework. In the cocoon of my small universe, affection flourished. Yet, a relentless reverie cast shadows. Unquenchable longing painted dreams beyond, teasing the edges of my contentment. Love cradled, but curiosity beckoned. In the delicate balance, my heart, torn between solace and yearning, whispered of uncharted realms beyond my grasp: the roller-coaster ride of the teenage years, of rollicking with friends on the golden-pressed sandy beach, of wild dance parties and camping trips, of falling in love and spontaneously telling someone that they’re the one.

I pause the music and close my eyes, letting the echoes of the music fill up the hollowness in my heart, feeling the cool night wind pushing me, gently, softly, towards a fresh chapter, a new life, a different world. 


It is 3am in the morning, and I am outside in the mess lawns, earphones in my ears.

Right now

I wish you were here with me 

‘Cause right now

Everything is new to me 

You know I can’t fight the feeling

And every night I feel it

Right now

I wish you were here with me 

(Right Now by One Direction)

Right now, this very moment, as a first-year uni student, I am living the life that I had dreamt of all that time ago. I am independent, the world is at my fingertips, I have amazing friends, but I am slowly beginning to realize that being a young adult is not just about having fun at late-night parties. There is a darker, deeper side to coming of age, a side that comes with heartbreak, rejection, pain, and insecurities. The canvas of growth is painted not only in hues of light but also in the shadows of aching metamorphosis. You finally muster up the courage to ask someone out, but they say no. You try to hang out with new people, but find yourself constantly questioning whether you fit in with them, whether they like you, whether they find you ‘cool’. You watch yourself emerging from your chrysalis, becoming a new person every day, and find it hard to come to terms with the new aspects of your personality. And sometimes, you just want to go back to your past life, to simpler times, when the course of your life was already charted for you.

But I know that I won’t be on my own, yeah

I love this feeling and

(Right Now by One Direction)

But maybe coming of age is about realizing that the beauty of being alive lies in the interaction between the highs and the lows, the moments of unparalleled joy and exhilaration and the experiences of loss and pain. Maybe all that matters is that I am here, right now, in this place, with these people, in this moment in time, listening to this music, with my heart open to all the diverse experiences and emotions that growing up has to offer.

We’re only gettin’ older, baby

And I’ve been thinkin’ about it lately

Does it ever drive you crazy

Just how fast the night changes?

Everything that you’ve ever dreamed of

Disappearing when you wake up

(Night Changes by One Direction)

Staying up all night, making midnight memories and coming of age is magical, but what makes it even more magical is the fact that the night itself is changing, that you yourself are changing, that the people around you are changing, and in this process of change, you are creating beautiful, unforgettable memories and developing deeper bonds with the people around you.


I gently flip through the photographs, my hands trembling slightly. My friends clustered around me as I cut my eighteenth birthday cake. Selfies of us all dressed up for Diwali. Photos from our graduation ceremony. Sweet waves of nostalgia gush onto the shore of my mind. Oh, how I long to go back to those golden times, those beautiful, carefree moments that have now faded away into the distant past!

My phone rings, cutting through my reflections. I glance at the lit screen, and my face brightens. One of my friends from college had called! I immediately pick up the call and we start chatting excitedly. Before I know it, an hour has passed. We say bye to each other, make plans to meet each other and our other friends soon, and hang up. I smile and play History by One Direction.

You and me got a whole lot of history (oh)

We could be the greatest team that the world has ever seen

You and me got a whole lot of history (oh)

So don’t let it go, we can make some more

We can live forever

(History by One Direction)

As I listen to the music, it occurs to me that my history isn’t in the past: it is still present, alive in the memories that I treasure in my mind, in the late-night conversations I still have with my friends. The relationships you develop and the experiences you have leave an indelible mark on your life that not even time can erase.

This is not the end, this is not the end

We can make it, you know it, you know

(History by One Direction)

We never stop growing – even now, as I am learning, exploring, going through my thirties, I am expanding my horizons, making mistakes, and discovering more about my identity and the world around me. In other words, I am still making history. I am still coming of age.

Spotify playlist to vibe to while reading this article: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1o3PM2oTk9xirSiuvk1Oei?si=81ac85ea94814216

Rucha is a first-year student at Ashoka University. She loves writing poetry and is passionate about climate activism. In her free time, she enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, overanalysing movies, reading, writing notes to friends, and doing the dishes (yes, seriously).