The Patch

February 19, 2007

Monday 19th February: Welcome To Student Land

Filed under: Miscellany — Ames @ 1:02 am

This time of year is an important one for those in their final stages of sixth form. Universities start sending letters promising all sorts of magical things should you choose their institution, with glossy coloured photographs glorifying ideas of student life. For those slightly lower down the school, this is also a time when teachers start pressuring you into thinking about what you want to do when you have to leave the comforts of secondary education for something more. So for those of you who are planning on going away in September, for the people who aren’t quite sure what they want to do when they finish school, or for those of you who just want a look into the mind of a student, our guest writer, Michael Roberts, gives us an inside view into his experience of life as a Fresher:

It’s 2:22 AM. In the distance I can hear the thumping of a baseline soundtracking the squeals of numerous drunken harpies. I look to the floor where there is a pile of unsorted notes almost as tall as the bottle of White Lightning that stands next to them. Most of all I am concerned about whether the odd smell in my room is coming from either the bin or the laundry basket, not to mention that other odd yet distinct smell lingering the corridor. Yes ladies and gentlemen, welcome to student land.

No matter what anyone has told you before about university, no one can ever prepare you for the day you finally go. The awkward first meeting with your new flatmates, the inevitable lump in your throat when you finally wave goodbye to your parents. By the time you finally lay your head down on your ridiculously uncomfortable bed, you will have formed the conclusion that you are infact in a materialisation of hell. This is of course providing you haven’t passed out somewhere beforehand from insane amounts of low quality alcohol. It’s not all that bad however. Infact, it’s by far the most fun and exciting experience I’ve ever had. So here I will be giving my lowdown of what it’s REALLY like. Trust me; whoever disagrees with me is simply lying.

University is very much a two part education, academically and socially, both of which must mastered in order to make the most of your time here. The difficulty of this task varies hugely depending of which course you were fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to let yourself in for. Planning your work is important. Avoid leaving that essay till the last week before the deadline because sods law states that “Thou will always be set 2 further essays for the week the first essay is set”.

Of course everyone manages to different extents, depending on what type of person you are. Its exciting meeting so many new fresh faces, not to mention very scary and intimidating. Watch out for the dickhead who asks how you did in your A levels; I have actually had someone ask me “How close did you get to 600/600?” Wow. But whilst the majority of public school attendants blend in naturally, some cannot help but stick out like a sore thumb. Watch out for the give away bright coloured track suit bottoms and the confirming scarf worn indoors. I have to say, I’ve heard some classic comments, the highlight being “You know what’s the worst thing about having a chauffeur? He always tells daddy where I’m going!” Mint comedy gold. However, fear not! The majority are very nice indeed, you wouldn’t even notice. Making friends comes surprisingly naturally and even the antisocialite will have trouble avoiding meeting people. The conversation normally goes something like:

“Heya, what’s your name?”
“What block are you in?”
“What course are you studying?”
“Are you going to join any clubs?”
“… What’s your name again?”

With such riveting small talk it’s no surprise that you end up losing most of these ‘friends’. But don’t fear, the ones you have left should be pretty awesome. You truly do meet some great people which I’m sure you will have for life. Because no one has any clique to hide within, you will end up making friends with people you might have normally even been seen sat next to, you shallow selfish person you. Thus your interests will expand. You’ll be joining the ‘Jungle music’ society before you know it.

A lot of people say societies are great ways to meet new friends, but seriously, what a load of arse hat. Most societies are things people sign up to, then never go. My ‘Samarai Ju Jitsu’? That lasted about a month. Avoid signing up to too many unless you already have a previous interest, such as a sport. Be warned, some of the initiations are lethal, so don’t sign up to football unless you fancy those baked beans at the bottom of the pint you will have to down. I believe six people were hospitalised from the rugby initiation, in which you had to be sick to be allowed to join. Yum.

Drinking, as people will have told you, is a huge part of student life. Let’s face it, its fun and very cheap! And by cheap I mean verging on insanity. Double vodka mixer for a pound? Pint of Carling for 40p? I’m there. However, it is very easy to overdo it physically and ‘bank account’aly, so know your limit. A great night out is easily ruined by getting drunk far too quickly, even worse if you end up waking lying next to the fat beast who lives at the end of the corridor. Eww. If you are going to a big city like Birmingham or Bristol, the nightlife will make a night out in your small hometown look like a evening in with you Grandad trying to guess how much the vase will value on ‘Antiques Road show’. My local club will never be the same (however, it’ll always have a special place in my heart).

With such fun on offer, money goes FAST. Too fast, and it’ll hurt hard if you don’t plan. A good tip is to take money out before you leave your room and leave your cards at home. General living costs will cost you around £60 a week (Not including accommodation or tuition fees), more if you’re self catered, I kid you not, which is around £600 a term. And that’s not counting fulfilling that Primark obsession; shopping is always the most attractive when your bank balance is nearing the red. In short, you had better start saving.

Well, there you go; my two cents. Although intimidating at first, University will shortly become a second home to you, with just as many good friends to spend time with and potentially better things to do. Just don’t be alarmed if you wake up with a traffic cone in your arms.


1 Comment »

  1. i cant wait!

    Comment by Amie — February 19, 2007 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

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