“Leaving? Didn’t know you’d started”

I think I’m leaving the Adam Smith Institute. But nobody leaves. Ever.

But Ananya, what do you mean nobody leaves? Ever? Is this a case of indentured servitude? Well, not quite.

Today is sadly my last day at the ASI. And unlike other people who have left their jobs today (ahem, Theresa May. Ahem, the goddamn First Lord of the Treasury herself) I have had a wonderful time.

What is most striking, yet perhaps also unsurprising, is that what you learn at the ASI, they really don’t teach you these things at school (hint - there isn’t actually a difference between port and policy). The gap year internship scheme run by the ASI is truly invaluable to those who have the opportunity to make the most out of the seemingly infinite cups of tea in the kitchen. Oh and also the radio shows. The newspapers for which you get to write. The MPs you get to wing woman. The news channels on which you get to appear. You get the drift.

Never would I have imagined that the highlights of my formative years would include dancing to Carly Rae Jepson from a rogue Spotify playlist at the ASI Christmas party and learning how to send 500 emails at once using fancy excel spreadsheets.

Some things, of course, will always remain a mystery. Like, why are paragraphs in op-eds always super short? Why does the franking machine have a personality of its own? And of course, why does the dishwasher always have an upset tummy? But this is where critical thinking skills come to play. The brains I got to pick, the minds I got to pirouette around, are one of the most brilliant in the world. Accordingly, I learned things I would have never come across or thought to consider - anyone lucky enough to have the same opportunity will undoubtedly experience the same.

The come down from the city slicking, tweed-clad lifestyle I’m sure will be an interesting one. The thought of sheer bewilderment on people’s faces when I joke about the argumentum ad temperantiam fallacy, or Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments for the 17th time will be undoubtedly be difficult to deal with at first, but I think I’ll just have to get used to it. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt during my gap year is that grit is an invaluable trait and bubbles are bad.

Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute, often says that “the question is not whether our gap year students are ready for the world, rather, whether the world is ready for them”. While I concede that Madsen is usually right about most things, if the world isn’t ready for a bespectacled, socially out of step, Viking enthusiast then the world probably better toughen up.

So toodles! Farewell! Hasta la vista! And I look forward to my retirement.