10 Ways to survive being an alternative student
Alternative students may feel stranded and freakish if college feels alien to them. You can flourish in uni while being true to yourself.
When I first entered the foyer of my halls of residence, my first thought was will I make friends? (My second was this place looks like a war bunker). You will probably have no trouble making friends if you’re a typical weed-smoking, jeans-wearing, guitar-playing student (especially at art school) but what do you do if you’d rather wear a corset, and weed gives you a headache?
1. Give it a go.
The R’n’B freshers’ Mixer sounds as unappetizing as eating raw egg, but do try and go. There’s usually someone else who’s been dragged along by their roommates and may have something in common with you.
There will probably be some over-sheltered little rich kid sharing space with you. Be patient with them. No matter how tempting it is to try and freak them out- don’t! Really, don’t. That’s just asking to be known as ‘The Freak’ for the remainder of your uni years. Their eyes will be opened soon enough…
I was being chatted up by a typical rich-kid student- highlighted hair, pink shirt, the works. Surprisingly, we were getting on ok until he asked “So – are you into all the pounding noise type of music?”
“Yep,” I replied as his jaw hit the floor.
“Blimey (pause). Blimey…(long pause). Blimey.”
When encountering idiots, walk away. Just walk away.
4. Faux Alternatives.
Many students who study the arts e.g. art, music, drama etc consider themselves “so alternative, it hurts”. It can be a shock to them when they come across your beautiful tattooed, pierced form. Be gentle. If you’re at art school, you have my sympathies- this is doubly true.
5. The Quest.
You may have been lucky enough to find people who have interests in common already. Some of us have friends practically fall into their path. Others, like me, had to search for them. Go into the town/city and ask in the alternative shops or the market. Google “alternative culture” and the city in which you are studying. You will find tons of information on alternative clubs and events in your area.
So now you’ve found the places to go, drag a friend along. Or if you don’t know anyone well enough, gather your courage and confidence and go. on your own. Yep- I’m afraid so. Hang out at the bar, go and dance- you won’t ever be the only one on your own. Talk to people, ask them about the scene and make sure you say you have just moved to the area. There are nice people who will take you under their wing and introduce you to other nice people.
7. Emergency Services.
How do you know if the guy you are talking to is OK? You don’t. So don’t go home with him. A girl yelling in your ear “Do you want to be rescued??” is a strong hint.
When you have made friends, got acquaintances, a group to hang out with etc, actually GO OUT with them! Don’t pass up invitations unless they’re from the dodgy guy (see above). After all, if you aren’t going to be hanging out with the people in halls, it’s better to be referred to as “the girl who’s always out”, than “the girl who’s always shut in her room”!
9. A Girl’s Other Best Friend.
It’s one in the morning, you’re lying in bed and there’s no sound except the distant music of the guy four floors up and the squeaky tap in the room above you. You close your eyes and as you listen to the squeaky tap squeak faster, accompanied by suspicious noises, the horror dawns that that is NOT in fact a squeaky tap. You leap out of bed at lightning speed, jam your earplugs in, get back in bed and drift off to sleep.
The moral of this story is: earplugs are the second most valuable thing a girl can own. (Apart from her corset).
10. The Philosophical One.
This one has to be said. If you have already tried to fit in with those studenty types, you (like me) probably found that it really… doesn’t… work. So what makes you think it will work with anyone else? A fake is easy to spot, so let your new friends like you for the person you are!
So there you go. Let’s face it, being a student and alternative can be a bit of a chore – but it can be done, and once you meet like-minded people, it can rock!