That’s right. I’m back. It’s been a while, I know. Technology screwed me over for some time, and then the faceless terror of exams came hurtling into my humble life, leaving me with no eyes (they fell out after late night study sessions) and a dowager’s hump (all that craning over, searching for books in Fisher). So, what have I, as a blossoming young first year, learnt from the past semester at university? Too much, that is for sure.
1) The History department are mad as hatters. Geniuses to a man, I can tell you, but certainly crazy. The ancient history staff are lovely and rather more jovial. I owe them a deep debt of gratitude for ending my misguided belief that ancient Rome was the city of orgies.
2) Nowhere is there more bureaucracy on earth than at university. The place is just full of it. That’s what all the buildings are for. They don’t actually teach in them, they just push paper (this may be a gross overstatement and exaggeration of the truth). Therefore, if you need something done for you, or to you, or to someone else (although the university does stop short of gangland murders) get in early. I went to get a disability consideration for my exams at the disability services office (for those of you who are wondering whether I’m wheel-chair bound or the like, I’m not, I just have handwriting that is better understood by speakers of ancient Egyptian than contemporary English), and it turned out that I was in fact, too late to apply. Thankfully, only by a weekend, and they let me in anyway (which was very kind of them). But the warning is here – get things done ASAP, don’t put them off, and this goes for work too, which brings me to my next point...
3) One genuinely cannot expect to set the academic world on fire in your first semester (unless you’re a nerdy mature age student who does nothing but study). I went into uni, my head held high, expecting to wow the academics, only to find that I was truly down with the plebs. Although my marks weren’t bad, they certainly weren’t what I had expected, and I know that everyone tells you that “your marks will drop by about 20%”, but I guarantee you, this is ACTUALLY the case. Uni is tough. You’ve gotta work at it. Do your readings (oh how hypocritical of me) and get the work done well before it’s due.
4) The World Cup is a fantastic way of procrastinating from study. It worked wonders for me. Stay up late, watch a game (pretend your studying for geopolitics by saying things like “Notice how despite the fact that the teams are national groups, the referees and coaches are often international. This reflects the continued conflict between geopolitics and globalisation”), and before you know it, the time has just FLOWN past. On that note, I might add, I was tragically upset by Australia’s untimely demise from the cup. I have given up eating Italian food, buying Italian products, and wearing Italian clothing (yes, my I burnt my Versace suit) until such a time as the next world cup when Australia will resoundingly beat Italy with an eight-nil victory (I assume).
5) Finally, I feel I should say that, despite all the hardships, uni is a great place. I’ve survived my first semester, the rollercoaster has put me down and I’ve landed safely on my feet. It was tough at times. Sure it was. But, particularly by the end, I was having a great time, and I look forward to going back next semester. I’ve already started my reading.