Features | The lowdown on student life
Want to stay cliché savvy during your student life? It’s never too late to learn the paradoxical perils of being university goer.
So that’s it for this year. Sorry folks, but whether it was your first foray into the uni experience or you’re a seasoned re- fresher, you’ve had your lot until next year’s week of alcohol infused hedonism, free pizza and roller discos. Now it’s a case of crawling out from under your duvet hungry, hungover and inevitably stricken with Freshers’ Flu to immerse yourself in the student lifestyle. On the face of it, being a student seems fairly easy; you’ve now got people to socialise with and your room is almost habitable. Aside from not attending lectures or writing lab reports, (although that might be quite useful for your degree), here at LSi we think the most important thing for you to know this year is what it really means to be a student away from all the books and exams.
The first thing to understand is that you will spend the next three or four years of your life living in that perfect balance between being a teenager and a grown up. In many ways uni is the ultimate paradox; your course is set on teaching you how to think for yourself and improve your skills for the big wide world yet, simultaneously, you live in an environment that perpetuates childish ideals. Suddenly things that seemed immature or uncool when you were a teenager are now celebrated as integral parts of student life. Fancy dress is a prime example. It doesn’t matter if the last time you wore fairy wings was at your sixth birthday or if you only used face paints when you went to a sporting event; come this year, there will be a never ending list of reasons why fancy dress is your first port of call for a night out. Otley Runs, society socials, birthday parties, Halloween, Christmas, even Fruity – a true student will embrace the blue body paint, fake moustaches and party on regardless of what they look like.
Unacceptably childish behaviour endorsed by the student community includes the concept of wearing sleepwear as day wear. It is a truth universally acknowledged by all students that staying in your pyjamas all day is perfectly acceptable if you’re not required to or can’t be bothered to leave the house. Whether you’re harking back to the Saturday mornings of your childhood when Ant and Dec dominated weekend kids’ TV, or simply because you can’t face the world with a raging hangover, spending the day in the clothes you slept in the night before is the mark of a true student.
Don’t assume alcohol is your best friend; unfortunately it comes with side effects. Be prepared to constantly splutter the words “ugh I’m so hungover” during your morning lectures. There will be the smugly energetic course mates who take down notes with such speed and detail that your non-committal scribbles look dire in comparison but at least you can pass off your rolled out of bed look as being an edgy hipster.
Even those who are new to studentdom will be expecting to live off beans on toast but there is some wisdom to eating cheap and cheerful grub at uni. Communal meals are always a good way of showing off your culinary skills to your flatmates while also saving a few pennies. Why not try out your own Come Dine With Me (minus the bitching and prize)? Takeaways are another inevitable part of student life; what better way to soak up the vodka than with carbs? Either way, become accustomed to being part of the drunken masses that appear in McDonalds after 4am.
Napping is a way of life. If you’re doing an Arts degree, frequent naps are more than acceptable. With only a seven hour week, how else will you fill your precious time? After doing an hour or so of seminar prep in bed, you can convince yourself that you deserve a rest. You really do know you’re a student when you think a midday start is early; heavens forbid a nine o’clock start. ‘How will I ever enter the world of work?’, you cry. Just keep reassuring yourself that when you are paid to get up, the early morning grumpiness is totally necessary and worth it.
Times are hard. Be prepared to incessantly complain about how skint you are. You promise yourself you’ll get a weekend job but you just don’t have the time, what with all the societies you’ve joined. In the first week, you’ve signed up to about 20, telling yourself that you’re going to become an expert at yoga and learn Italian. However, being a Union busy body is great for your CV, gets your face known and makes you feel productive and part of something. You don’t want to finish your three years and know that the only time you stepped foot into LUU was to buy the Meal Deal at Essentials…
Steph Muldoon and Kat Garvey