How to survive college

How to survive college

10 Top Tips on How to Survive Student Life

Ah, stoodents. Pretty young folk physically and mentally sculpted by slick mtv, kebabs and luminous shots. It’s becoming harder and harder to do due diligence to the ‘authentic’ uni experience, especially since the government started charging us tens of thousands of pounds for the pleasure.

So what’s the secret to eeking out the very best from student life?

Behold, Mookychick’s top ten tips:

1) Delete your A-Level results immediately. It can be nigh on impossible when you first meet people in halls not to blurt out: “So, what did you get for your A-Levels?” We’ve all done it, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but the people who don’t talk about that – now they’re cool. After the first week passes, and the dust begins to settle, they’ll be the people you’ll want to rub hoodies with. Why? Well just think what it is you are ACTUALLY saying when you utter those dreadful words: “So, what did you get for your A-Levels?”

– ‘I’m going to form an opinion of you based on your academic prowess’
– ‘I’m really clever; just wait till you hear what I got’
– ‘Gosh, socialising is a bit tricky, please answer this stock question and avert all awkwardness’.

No-one’s really intending to say any of these things, but it’s hard not to perceive it that way. The savvy student can come up with better material. You could for instance pass on any useful knowledge you may have acquired about the local nightlife. Quickly assess their attire and then tell them about any interesting skater/punk/god bothering nights that are happening in town. You could comment on the photographs plastered all over their walls: “I see you like hugging old people/hunting lions” etc. People put photos up because they want to be asked about them. If they were private they’d be hidden under their mattress sandwiched between a diary and a vibrating toothbrush.

2) Try to avoid being ‘that’ weird and wacky chick/bloke. Now uni is a fantastic opportunity to reinvent yourself, but unfortunately many people choose to play the ‘crazy cool’ card. You’ll recognise them; them, they’re the ‘eccentric’ folk who drift from place to place making utterly random comments. They will be loved and revered in the first week, everyone will know their name and they’ll be described by all with words like ‘witty’, ‘enigmatic’ and ‘hyper intelligent’. Sadly, halls/uni is a bit like Big Brother. Groups quickly bond and establish their own normality, and the wacky drifters soon find themselves alienated. It’s much better to remain vaguely true to yourself. Work really hard at bonding with the people you like/can see yourself getting on with; it’ll pay back massive dividends in the long run. If you are crazy cool, fair enough. Just do it. People will hopefully recognise you’re being the real you and treat you accordingly.

3) Don’t work too hard in your first year. This is an utterly inappropriate bit of advice but it’s worth bearing in mind (particularly when your dehydrated brain’s deciding whether to go in for lectures or not). Pass rates for the first year are usually 40% and in most cases none of what you do in your first year will count towards your final degree. 40% is a bit like getting a D in your GSCE’s. Take a couple of weeks out before the exams to revise, but otherwise don’t be too heads down about the whole affair. It’s much better to ‘work’ on your social bonds in your first year. Remember, you’re going to choose who you want you want to live with for the next two years. If you’re not careful you’ll be lumbered with the weird foreign exchange student who smells faintly of wee and wants to do a room share. This leads me to point 4…

4) Treat choosing your second and third year house mates as the most important thing you’ll ever do, besides scamming your parents for money. It’s so easy to forget about the hassle of deciding who to live with; no-one wants to think about responsibility, it’s boring. However, leaving this to the last minute will ensure two things:

– You’ll participate in the ‘last minute lottery’ and at best live with randoms who you ‘don’t mind’.

– You’ll live in a) a dump, or b) hundreds of miles away from campus or c) both. All the attractive, reasonably priced properties get snapped up very quickly, mainly because they’re attractive and reasonably priced. Get in early, sign the forms, hand over the deposit and you won’t have to worry about it ever again.

5) Use the library. Why? Because they’ve got the greatest selection of course materials and workstations? No (well ‘yes’ actually, but you’ll find that the fat bloke in the trench coat will take out anything that could be of use). The library is good for two reasons:

i) It’s the only place you’ll actually learn anything. Libraries are quiet and well equipped havens. No-one asks you to do any washing up, there are lights and desks aplenty and everyone around you is working. All this work misery is made bearable by point two…

ii) Attractive people live in libraries. The thing about libraries is that good looking people tend to flock to them. You can scour the library for pleasant faced guys/gals and plonk yourself near them without having a court injunction taken out against you. You could try asking them innocent questions about the book they’re reading and then boom! Before you know you’ll be telling them what A-Levels you got and buying them jugs of snakebite at the student union.

6) Ignore the weekend. Weekends are for workers, not for students. Bars hike up prices, old people bare flesh and violent townies emerge, tooled up to the eyeballs. Far better to plan nights when there will be student promotions. 10 drinks for the price of 1, pvc toga parties etc… They’re usually more imaginative events, AND you’ll save lots of money.

7) Banks are disgusting, treat them with the contempt they deserve. Shop around before you open your student account. An interest-free overdraft facility is key; anything under £900 (to start with) is an absolute waste of time. Keep hassling them for increases, in most cases they’ll back down. There is no shame involved here; the chances are you’ll be with your bank for a very long time. When you’re rich and famous they’ll enjoy all the lovely cash you give them. Plunder those warty charlatans for everything they’ve got – money improves student hood no end!

8) Only eat pasta. It’s cheap, it tastes good, is an excellent energy source, soaks up alcohol and requires very little washing up. Gourmet meals are for cooking degrees and dirty pan leavers are despised by all.

9) Sort yourself out with a sex toolkit. Shut up mum? Yes, alright, point taken. Going on the pill can be a great option, but obviously you’ll potentially end up riddled with carnally transmitted badnesses if you don’t combine them with the trusty old shrivel wrap. Know where your nearest local morning-after pill supplier is.

10) Write, write, write. Don’t read. Transcribe. Most people have to physically etch something onto paper before it has a chance in hell of featuring in the memory. So…

– Fill your books with highlighter ink, pointy arrows, bubble writing

– Create countless mnemonics. They’re ridiculous and irritating but they really are the electric tin opener of learning. Crass and irrelevant, these babies are so quick and effective; it feels like you’re cheating. Rude ones work the best, particularly if you can throw in people you know into the equation. For example for the planets and their distance from the sun, you could have: “My Vagina Easily Makes Jim Smith Uncomfortable. No Problem.” Ok that’s underwhelming, you can do better, but if you knew Jim Smith, the chances are you would never forgot that mnemonic.

– Most lecturers are boring. Ascertain which ones send you to sleep and come to lectures prepared. Make notes of the topics they plan to cover and then switch off. Thumb through the course book and transcribe your notes rather than try and stay awake while they witter on like a lithium addled sloth bear.

Well I hope that’s whet your appetite for three English or four Scottish years of misdemeanour. The most important thing to remember is… Oh dear I can’t remember… where’s my drink.


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