It seems everybody’s writing about University now. This is for the obvious reason that lots of people have gone, or are going, really, really soon, to the aforementioned havens of learning (and drinking). The University will give you a fresher’s guide, as will your college/halls, as will your sixth-form, as will the Police, as will each member of your family, as will every newspaper you choose to read. Including the Sun, which has a touch of irony about it. Even the very friends which left a week ago act the grand veterans of higher education, and give you advice, that by and large, you neither want nor need (incidentally, a fish bowl does not come with a fish. Remember this when you are looking for a present for your nephew). The advice from the other (possibly more reputable) sources invariably comes down to “washing up rotas, the best thing since toasters?” and “don’t drink too much, you saucy dogs!” Because we are imbeciles, and we’re not used to thinking, as we haven’t really done it in 3 months. Instead we drank (presumably as practice), played video games, moped over the friends and girl/boy/?-friends we’d miss, and took on menial jobs so we could actually afford to eat next year.
It does seem odd to me that the act of willingly ingesting poison to make social events more tolerable (ie. getting pissed) is not only prevalent in a place of learning, but is seen as a secondary feature. It’s probably got something to do with hoards of young people going off to live on their own. If you put a kid on their own in a room full of chocolate they will eat all the chocolate, and I suppose for all the talk of independence and adulthood and having your own potato peeler, we are still kids. I’m going to University at the end of the week, and I am frankly terrified. All this talk of buying kitchen implements and contents insurance makes my blood run cold. Of course I’m excited for it, but by Harry it’s a big step. Just one year ago I had to send an email to let my teacher know that I got poorly, now I’m having to arrange my own vaccinations for possibly life threatening diseases. That’s fucking adulthood. Pretty soon I’ll be drinking Ovaltine in an armchair, complaining that “music isn’t what it used to be”. Oh. Wait.
To be fair, Uni students are pretty protected from the big bad world. There are welfare officers, tutor groups and a general dormy sensibility, that kind of makes it a bit like a big ol’ summer camp specifically for adults who like reading. It’s certainly not preparation for reality. All the financial advice I had as a child told me debt was bad, and I should avoid it when I grow up, whereas everyone in University is thousands of pounds in debt! We don’t actually have a choice!
Nevertheless, it’ll inevitably be worth it. You will spend upwards of 3 years of your life immersed purely in what you are most interested in. You will meet loads of people who are just like you. At the end you can get the job you wanted. Well, possibly. With the current rate of qualification inflation, in 3 years time a 2:1 in Mathematics might be able to get you a job in Burger King if you’re lucky.
Good luck everyone, and if you’re going straight into work, well done for not being a lazy slackarse.