Three Years at Uni: A Reflection in 700 Words

University, eh? Three years of drugs, sex, partying, drugs, alcohol, alcohol, drugs, a little bit of studying, the making of friends who’ll never unsee what they saw, drugs, and not forgetting a couple exams. Oh yeah, and drugs. I’m just about at the end of my scheduled three years now and I wanted to reflect on what’s changed in that time. And what’s not changed.

I did have an advantage coming to uni that most people didn’t have. I wasn’t fresh and baby-faced and right out of sixth form, and leaving my parents’ nest for the first time with a curious eye and a reckless abandon, I was an experienced world traveller. Well, sort of. I had lived in the jungle and backpacked across a foreign land with nothing but the power of cold, hard cash and the polite tones of a Cambridge boy. Yet I still couldn’t fry an egg. So that’s my first thing that hasn’t changed. I still can’t fry an egg. I put eggs in a pan, then something goes wrong, I get frustrated and I fork up the eggs into a pile and call them scrambled.

Second thing that hasn’t changed: I’m still a lightweight. Like most civilised people, I like to take the edge off life with a beer or a glass of wine or a sixth shot of tequila. Offer me a free drink with no strings attached and I’ll most likely accept, but I’m not a big drinker. I know when to stop. I’ve seen myself uncontrollably shit-faced, as have a few people who cannot unsee what they saw, and it’s not pretty, although I’m sure there are people out there who would find it hilaaarious. Because a student saying, “I don’t like getting drunk” is so uncool it’s like learning Samuel L. Jackson plays World of Warcraft, I’m going to hurry on to the next point.

I’m still a bit on the weird side of the social spectrum. Thing about university though, and the thing which I had my doubts about, is that, yes, everyone finds their niche. The thing that’s changed is that I’m an outsider, but I can fit in. It doesn’t matter if you’re the hot girl with the cool clique and the six boyfriends in three months, or the unwashed recluse with webbed feet, or the suicidal kid who still cuts his wrists five years after people stopped caring, at uni there’s always people you’ll fit in with. It’s probably the best thing about being a student. That and the drugs. Talking of which…

Drugs is a thing that’s changed. Maybe just because I didn’t know, well, fucking anyone at sixth form, the whole prevalence of drugs thing is new to me. Perhaps it’s new to most students, I don’t know.  Leaving my personal situation aside because I don’t want to become famous one day and have some dirty rival dig up dirt on me, point to this post and say, “Look, bitch, you admitted to trying China White, Mazzies and Yaba” (not that I, uh, know anything about drug slang), I just want to point out that I’m not sure I’ve met anyone who hasn’t had some experience with drugs at some point. Besides, everyone knows that weed is basically healthy, right? RIGHT?!

Finally, knowledge. I don’t feel smarter. More cynical, more jaded, more knowledgeable even, but I don’t feel smarter. Street-smart sure, but I don’t feel any more intelligent generally. Maybe all this coke is balancing out the lectures I turn up to? But perhaps when I rejoin the real world with this piece of paper that says I deserve more money than those without such a piece of paper I’ll realise that I am smarter and I just hadn’t noticed how fucking dumb the rest of the world is?

Whatever happens from here on out, uni has been worth my time. It’s been equal parts fun and interesting. For any potential students out there deciding whether to apply, go for it. Pick a subject that sounds fun (and easy: media’s a piece of piss!) and enjoy three great years of your life. Too liberated to be pigeon-holed, too young to worry about the future — it’s a beautiful thing.

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