By DEBBIE TAN.
#1. You will vaguely recall that thing called socialising.
Some people talk about a time before university, when some fickle phrase known as ‘hanging out’ was known and used by many. When not found crying over student loans, assignments and grade point averages, university students can be found hunched over computers or notebooks, wishing that exams would be over already.
Such crises are a part of life. High school may have been full of existential crises for you. Yet, at uni, the questions you ask yourself (and the answers you’re meant to have) seem to increase tenfold. You’re expected to know at least the beginning of your senior educational life, and to have so much more of your life sorted out. It’s perfectly fine to lay in bed contemplating the purpose of your degree as if we’re all dust in the end anyway. You’re not alone.
#3. Your reading list is more of a suggestion than a guide. Right?
You ask someone if they’ve done the readings. They laugh. Someone asks you if you’ve done the readings. You laugh. But deep down, you are crying, because you bothered to read it all, but can’t quite remember the last time you slept.
Even middle-class mongers like me feel the ever-crushing weight of student loans pressing on the wallet. I mean, talk about daylight robbery. Who knows how those in financial need feel? But then, you’ll learn to save money and find the best deals. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all, and invent we shall.
#5. People will tell you that winging it doesn’t cut it here, but you’ll wing it anyway.
Procrastination is wrong, but why does it feel so right? Surely you can balance the stein; a birthday party, three assignments, a test, two meetings and gym time.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the early birds get the worm. Alas, I am but a late bird, who understands that such mornings simply destroy any semblance of reality they have left.
#7. There will be a race for the computer labs when it’s 2.57pm and you’re trying to print out an assignment that’s due at 3pm.
This also applies to study areas, around mid-semester test time, or exam time.
You’re working day and night but it’s just so hard sometimes.
Not Hermione Granger, child prodigy. But that child. The child who stole the chocolate from the teachers’ desk. That’s right, Jeremy. Shame on you. There will be people who will view you as a sort of collective Jeremy-like entity, that sneaky little millennial, who is here only to text on your cellular phones and take cell fees.
Being at university, in itself, is such a privilege – so love it, bask in it, and see that for for every challenge, cheesy as it sounds, there is a lesson. If anything about my uni experience, and of those around me, has taught me anything, it is that you will learn (sometimes even without meaning to learn).
You will think more deeply about your life, you will learn to cope with a strenuous academic life, you will learn to value money more, you will learn the study style that works for you, figure out what you really want to do. and learn to be more resilient. I mean, apparently.
We’re meant to learn life lessons here and be profound in some way, right? Otherwise we’d just be here in some degree-churning factory, with little regard for the practical application of education in students’ lives beyond university.
I hope you’ve learned some home truths about university. It’s a challenge, but it is wild and beautiful like the sea. University truly is a place of education, both inside and outside the classroom, for students everywhere. There are many things I’d love to change about university, but here we are. The upper echelons of education.
But I can’t help you with regards to that student loan. Looks like we’re stuck with that for life. Welcome to university, where the upper echelons of education beckon. See you on the other side.
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