Whilst tempting as it was to start the article with a provocative and controversial headline such as ‘Studies show devastating effect new iPhone 6 has on Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross’ migration pattern’ to supposedly draw in an influx of readers, I admit I might have struggled on the actual content part of the article. I must further confess that although confidently up-to-date with current affairs, it also remains an area where when pressed in conversation such as my view on the indyref I would retort a feeble ‘Well I’m an eighth Scottish… and as an avid Harry Potter fan I support J.K. Rowling…’ Nevertheless I am entering my second year of higher education at a central London based institution and therefore am currently in possession of that annoying aura of superiority over freshers gained merely by that sole year of experience. Generally, I think the typical list compiled to prepare new students consists of:
- Freedom blah blah blah
- Booze etc. etc. etc.
- Sex so on, so on..
- Debt and all that
- Work…(a more discretionary and elusive addition to the list)
- Pot Noodle
My own contributions to the list would however include:
- The realisation that this freedom must be organised
- Having ‘sooo much time’ that you inevitably end up doing nothing.
- And then before you know it; ‘What – I have exams!? I have no time… WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL YEAR?’
Of course, to quote David Beckham ‘hindsight is a wonderful thing’ and to paraphrase Oedipus, Hamlet, Lear, and all those guys, ‘I wish I had known this some time ago.'(Roger Zelazny)
As opposed to last year where I lived in halls, I am currently living out in the exotic suburbs of London’s zone 3 where the fox community is scandalous and I am informed there are various good primary schools in the vicinity. Although for nearly the same amount of time it takes to get to Paris on the Eurostar I travel daily to my university. Initially I was optimistic and excited to ‘embrace the long-distance challenge’ seeing it as an opportunity to undertake the hobbit-like ‘fellowship of the commuters.’ Partnered with my kindle I would use the time to read more, revise and be productive. Accordingly, it did indeed fit my literary metaphor but unfortunately more in the sense of it feeling like a venture to mount doom as you stand either wedged in sardine style or sat staring gormlessly.
So no, I am confronted all over again with the same battles of organising my time and a new year has just brought different challenges. But I have stopped walking into the registry’s office every time I look for the ladies’ room, I’ve situated the best coffee shop in the area and I feel confident enough to sit alone in the common room with my quinoa salad without feeling self-conscious about being ‘the loner newbie.’
Yes, the cost of living independently can come as a shock but there are so many opportunities to do events, see exhibitions, join societies etc., for free! Above all, the beauty of freshers is you are all in the same boat; a shiny cruise liner or a rickety wooden vessel, swimming across the sea of your life occasionally coming up for air only to submerge again under the deadlines, poverty, heartache etc..
We’ve all used the wiki certified fact (true student style research you may observe) of how within one-tenth of a second of seeing someone we form a judgement. Countless experiments have been done (I like to think of socially awkward scientists in lab coats proclaiming, ‘We WILL find out how to be liked at first glance!’) I distinctly remember thinking initially that my current best friend was an obnoxious Cambridge reject. Turns out that although this was indeed true, she also possesses a wicked sense of humour, an extensive Harry Potter wand collection and a true caring nature displayed the week she loyally dabbed my sweaty brow with a cool flannel as I battled a particularly violent outbreak of freshers’ flu – (IT’S A REAL AILMENT – EAT FRUIT.) As I left school my headmaster said optimistically ‘you will spend the first week of uni making friends and spend the rest of time trying to get rid of them.’
Start mentally preparing yourself now for that inevitable early hungover morning lecture, the challenges and the change. Embrace all that mingling and small talk. You’ll be in fine form for your parents’ Christmas Eve party! Providing, perhaps, that you don’t walk up to the first person you see and comment on the horrific impact the iPhone 6 has had on the migration path of the Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross…