These four words rang out during a dance version of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at Time Tunnel. Unnofficially my last night as a student, I felt I had to go out on a high. Suprisingly, I didn’t drink for all of Saturday (though when the night ended – I used the loophole that it was technically Sunday, so therefore I could drink), but I felt I’d better not, as there was a funfair as a special going away present.
I was right, as one of the rides almost made me hurl.
After getting our money’s worth on the funfair, we decided to head indoors. It was a usual Double Vision/Time Tunnel fare, with the rather random Mariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas Is You” as the final song.
All in all, a rather unspectacular end to 3 spectacular years.
I’m asked quite a lot what university is like. Usually by the staff at work. What you do all day; is it really the sex, drugs, rock and roll lifestyle promoted; is it a hard slog like it says in the brochures; how to prepare; what to do. Maybe I’m not the best to comment about this, as I’ve never engaged fully in the student lifestyle (largely due to the area we live in, most students live the other side of Liverpool). Nevertheless, this is what I found in my 3 years. In song form nonethless. Albeit, the song is Baz Lurhmann’s “Everyone’s free to wear sunscreen”
Ladies and gentlemen, from a graduate of 2005:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own university experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the freedom and ignorance of your first year. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the freedom and ignorance of your first year until it’s over. But trust me, in 2 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how little work you had and to do and how you really did rule the world. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about exams. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in university are things that affect you socially and phyisically. If they occur, fuck off the class test on 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Sing. In kareoke. Trust me. University is the place to do those things that you want to do. Should anybody laugh at you, fuck them off.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. These people will be gone in 3 years.
Floss. Nobody likes to kiss a burger.
Waste your time on anything. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with your mate on Gran Turismo 4.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you are successful in any way, mock the insulters.
Keep every piece of paper you get. You never know when you need it.
Don’t wretch. Vomit will leave your body without forcing it out.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Most of the people I know don’t know what they want to do withselves. You won’t be alone in this thought. I still don’t too.
Get plenty of vitamin C. It helps hangovers.
Be kind to your freshers gift bag. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.
Maybe you’ll have a girlfriend, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll be drunk, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll go through university as a virgin, maybe you’ll have sex every night. Whatever you do, don’t worry. University is your experience, not what anybody else’s.
Enjoy your overdraft. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or what your parents will think of it. It’s the greatest source of income.
Dance, as you will be doing a lot of it at university.
Read lecture notes, even if you don’t follow them.
Do not go to phychology lectures. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know people with similar tastes. These will be your friends. Very rarely is your first year next door neighbour your “best friend”. You may get lucky, but probably wont.
Be nice to floor mates. Go out with them at least once, but should they be arseholes, ask to move.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because university you do make friends for life. MSN helps bridging these gaps. Live in halls once, as it makes mealtimes easy. But leave before it makes you ill.
Travel. Being stuck in one city for all of university can drive you insane. Universities organise trips, go on a few of these. Should you be in a sports club (and I highly reccommend it), you will travel the country, experiencing nights out.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Beer prices will rise. Lecturers will bore you. You, too, will graduate. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were a student, prices were reasonable, lecturers were interesting, and students were not layabouts.
You don’t have to respect your lecturers. Often they have little experience of real life, they will piss you off. However, you have to pass their exams, not the other way around.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Your loan only goes so far.
As will your overdraft. But you never know when either one might run out. I’m not saying don’t have fun, as you should, and you can get away with living cheaply. But don’t be stupid
Mess with your hair. University is the only time you can get away with it.
Be careful which degree you go for, but be patient with it. Degrees are by and large the same, with little change in speciality (except things like Law and Medicine). Whicever degree you go for, the life experience you get and the degree are worth every penny.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
- “Sunscreen”: Baz Luhrmann ft. Rhys Wynne, 2005
Ahem, that took far too long, and I understand you if you don’t want to read it. However, that’s my advice for university. The only other thing to say is do as much as possible. Volunteering, work experience, projects, whatever. If nothing else they bolster your CV.
And besides, you sit on your arse far too much anyway.