Saturday, 24 September 2016

How To Do Uni

Hello Saturday! Hello middle-of -the-day bath and dressing gown times! Not simultaneous, 'course.  Dressing gown would get soggy.  I know I should be feeling sorry for myself after I made the decision today to forgo another Cardiff Half Marathon since my last week's Swansea Bay 10k reminded my right foot how angry running can make it, but in all honesty, I'm not too arsed.  I'm fully aware that I did this to myself. Zero proper running training, followed by one manic month into which I decided to squeeze in ALL OF THE MILES EVER!! What else was going to happen, really?  Silly sod.

It is precicely because I have such clearly excellent logic skills that I'm going to share some nuggets of knowledge this week, primarily aimed at my baby sister, who used to look like this:

Butter wouldn't melt

and now looks like this:

Butter still wouldn't melt.  Also get that butter away from me, it'll ruin my lipstick for my Instagram post. #selfie #Nomakeup #etc #etc #harambe?

In my mind, she is still 9 years old, and will remain to be so, even when we both reach an age where sitting down is the best and most time consuming part of our days (soo...28, then?) and we are so wrinkly that we look like we've been left in a bath for way too long. So, it comes as a bit of a shock to me that Forever 9 is pissing off to uni tomorrow.  
Because everything is about me, me, me (obviously), I have processed my "What the fuck?  Nooo, time is going too fast and I have no control over it and my life is ultimately meaningless and what is life about anyway and is it time to eat yet and help me, I'm so oooold!!" feelings by ruminating about my own experiences of studentom.  

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.  And even if my own vision isn't perfect now, it's a damn sight clearer than it was back in 2006-2009 when I was off my tits on 2-4-1 VK Blues 5 out of 7 nights a week.  I didn't have a big sister to kit me out with important hints and tips when I was a fresh faced (spotty) youth embarking upon the adventure of a lifetime (the opportunity to take wild advantage of a body that could drink heavily and not suffer for a whole week afterwards).  So, Shaunna....This is my gift to you.  And no, you can't return it for a H&M voucher:

1.  Say no to as few things as possible
I probably took this bit of advice a bit too far. And obviously, if it feels too dangerous/uncomfortable, definitely say no.  I'm not telling you to say yes if a stranger asks you if you want to see some puppies in the back of his van.
In Swansea Uni, I worked a part time job, "studied" (read mostly good books that I would have enjoyed in my spare time anyway for a degree - sussed the system there, didn't I? Heh) and said "yes" to every single night out/group meetup/opportunity to hang around in town in a small gang going "ha, look at me, I can buy Haribo for breakfast and no one will tell me off!".  It might have resulted in a few mornings working at Debenhams cafe, hiding in the big freezer and praying for death because "everything hurts", but it was worth it.  
3 years fly by about as quickly as 3 weeks in Uni and suddenly it's all over.  Think of it as a mini practice at life as a whole.  You want to look back at it and hate your adult life in comparison because uni was so magical and dramatic and silly and fun because you took advantage of every opportunity you had. Okay, maybe not, hate your adult life, but...y'know.  Memories and that.  If I hadn't said yes to so many things, I wouldn't have had memories like this beaut:

- Going up onstage at a student pub's karaoke night (my first and last ever attempt at karaoke for reasons about to be made obvious) to belt out Tribute by Tenacious D as part of a group of 3, only to finish and realise that my co performers were mute throughout the whole thing.  Then, sitting back at table to rest of friends telling me in the blunt honesty only real friends can employ  "Beck, you had a microphone.  You didn't need to shout."

2.  Check your garden for rats
Enjoy your first year in halls.  If your experience was anything like mine, the student housing situation will be dire.  My first house share outside of halls introduced me to the delights of:
 - Having a gaping hole in the kitchen floor, covered only by thin plastic flooring, making each trip to the fridge a potential game of Kerplunk where the marbles are students.
- Fuzzy mold and damp in every nook and cranny of the house that gives you eczema for the next decade of your life.
- Scaffolding left up all year round so that strangers can climb up to the top floor windows to cheerily bid your roomate "Hello!" and scare the living shit out of her.
- Having a derelict building adjoining your house, which you and your peers spend more time in than is strictly safe, causing the letting agent to ask with a knowing smirk the following term "so..ahh...Nice circle of chairs you have in there.  Can't imagine what that's for!"
-  A territorial, jack russell sized rat in the back garden that aggressively rushes at the door every time your dare to take the bins out.  

Don't worry.  It's all part of the experience.  Living in a house not fit for human habitation is all par for the course as a student and it gives you some great stories for when you leave.  Sometimes, I do wonder how Kalashnikov the rat is doing these days.  S/he is a monster not of this world and will defnitely outlive us all.

3.  Eat more than 2 colours
Seriously.  Everything I ate was microwaveable, orange, came from a can and was sprinkled liberally with melty cheese.  Sounds delicious, but there's only so much tinned spaghetti and Tesco Value cheddar your body can tolerate before begninning its slide into potential obesity and being struck by oh so "mysterious" colds every other week.
4.  Accept that you will drive your housemates crazy
 You will fall out.  There will be at least one impossibly neat one, an infuriatingly messy one (moi!), one that has the ability to party for more consecutive days than should be humanly possible and one that fucks with/steals other people's food when they're in bed (we never got to the bottom of who the nocturnal "bread scruncher upper" was in my house.  Still a mystery to this day). Your habits will drive the nuts and theirs, you. Everyone is annoying, and living in close proximity with other people, day in and day out will inevitably create the odd drama.  However, if you realise that these dramas are just superficial and keep in touch, you could have friends that you take with you for the rest of your life.  Plus, they'll probably know so many embarrassing stories about you by the end of your time together years that you'll have to keep them sweet to keep them quiet and vice versa. 

5. Know that after 3 years of toil,study and making a tit of yourself at the union on a Wednesday night, it'll all be worth it, because you get to proudly wear a silly flat hat and cape like you're in Hogwarts and post for not-at-all-awkward photos to cherish forever.  Like this:
 "I graduated! Lolz."
Good luck, young one!  And don't let Tequila trick you into thinking it's your freind.

Evidence.  Tequila = bad

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