Reading week has finally afforded me the time to reflect upon Uni thus far, both socially and academically. It has also put an end to my procrastinated blog update; repeatedly pushed aside to make room for much topical reading, essay planning, and revision for my first class test.
So, we are all halfway towards the end of semester one, with Halloween looming and Christmas just around the corner (already? Yes, I actually saw Xmas decorations in a Manchester Tesco at the beginning of September!).
Six weeks in, we have either:
- Fully embraced academia and become the unshaven, seldom seen friend or flatmate who is reading to such a great extent that even our dreams are spent in a library, buried in a book. Worried more about failure than missing a party or a long lie-in, we are currently on first name terms with the library staff and our tutors are the only added contacts to our mail account.
- Become wholeheartedly immersed in the student social life and have quickly embraced the last minute rush when it comes to study and assignments.We sleep through lectures, never missing a party or a cheap meal, or the opportunity to charm as many fellow students as possible in order to help us forget that prior to Uni, we didn’t have a clue about dating.
- Luckily been able to find a balance between study and socialising, knowing when it’s important to get the head down, and when it is an acceptable time to cut loose and avail of the many non-academic opportunities that university offers.
Personally, I’m still leaning more towards the first option. This is more from personal choice and levels of comfort, plus the added knowledge that I would never be able to keep up on a pub crawl (unless it was in a pub in Ireland, drinking single malt whisky). Even though I have never been a part of student social life in the past, I have certainly, once upon a time, embraced the parties, balls, experimentation and pub crawls that coincide with the freedom of being a young adult. These days, I convince myself that I am too old for such things. Nobody wants to bring their Dad to a party!
But that does not mean I am correct in my thinking.
It is difficult to get to know people that seem so much younger, and find similar likings that differ from the subjects we study. We base our presumptions and perceptions on our experiences. At my age, I must surely be married with children and am probably a lecturer. Possibly, I lost my job in the recession and am on a new career plan. What do I know about being young? If I offer a friendly smile to a girl half my age…well, you get the picture.
But despite these difficulties, I am trying to adapt.
Though my initial reservations were otherwise, I did put my name down to join the History Society. I figured that a shared interest might go a long ways to making new friends, despite the fact that for years I subscribed to the Groucho Marx view of “never joining a club that would have me as a member”. We’ll see what happens.
Academically, I do feel that I am managing to keep my head well above water. An actual, real, difference with being a mature student is the fact that the bridge between leaving high school and starting Uni is that much greater. More time has passed. Experiences in the ‘real world’ may have taught you to adapt in order to survive, but I have noticed that I had better adapt as quickly as possible, due to the fast pace of it all.
History still continues to be my most enjoyable class. The lectures are great and can often be quite dynamic. I haven’t missed a single one.
Geography would be a distant second. It’s growing on me. I have missed a couple of lectures, but this is due more to the fact that I have to force myself to be interested early on a Monday morning. (See? I’m not that different)
But I am yet to gain enthusiasm for Politics. This is probably due to the fact that I never paid it much attention, other than annual budget reports and how different laws regarding work were applicable in various travelled-to countries. However, the more that I am beginning to grasp the subject, the more I can see how it relates to other two.
Overall, I’m still enjoying it immensely. It can be hard work, but it is hard work with a purpose and future.
I have managed to plan my days and weeks around subject and study, got used to the library and JSTOR, and found my own, workable routine.
I just need to meet some new people.