The prevailing sentiment amongst the teachers in my 6th year was that we were all about to meet our unfortunate ends at the anaemic hands of malnutrition. As if that wasn’t terrible enough, they also spoke in reverential tones of ‘university workloads’. We were doomed, they said, to lives of solitary exhaustion as we studied in the library until the hours of dawn (‘there’ll be no more teacher help!’), all the while drooping ever closer to the floor thanks to the all-our-fault absence of well-cooked vegetables.
There is good news. You’ll be pleased to hear that lecturers and tutors are your friends, and that vegetables are pretty cheap, too. The staff are here to help you, so (Piece of Advice #1) do please ask all the questions you need to, no matter how silly you think they might be (they aren’t), nor how much you think your query will be a nuisance (it won’t). Bad marks, if you meet them, are I suppose your uglier, angrier friends. Once you put them in a drawer, though, and let them settle down for a while, (PoA #2) they’ll be there to tell you exactly what you need to hear when you’re ready to hear it (and after that it is your privilege as a well-adjusted individual to burn/crumple/alienate them).
Nor is solitude mandatory! You now belong to a living breathing community of students, all of whom, with you, share the reciprocal obligation to engage and learn and make worthwhile your time here. You will get as much out of university as you put in, that is to say (PoA #3) you will get as much out of other students as you put into yourself. You owe it to you and to everyone around you to enjoy what you do and to make what you do enjoyable.
And though it’s true that you’ll be required for probably the first time to really take command of your own study, you will, if you put in the effort, get to enjoy all the rewards. So (PoA #4) eat some vegetables, devote yourself to your course, read widely in and beyond your field, be an engaged member of your community, and remember always that (PoA #5) to unironically, unashamedly love what you do every day is totally, enviably awesome.
By Jamie Redgate
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