A Few Things About Uni for the Class of 2013

As many of my friends share with me postings about their last high school classes and last days of school, I feel the need to dedicate this blog to them. I know you’re all ready to absolutely sprint out the front gates and never look back, but consider that maybe high school was actually pretty awesome and you may miss it more than you think. Though we’re only a year apart, there are many things that I have learnt over the past year that I wish someone had told me. So I’m going to share this advice with you in the hopes that you like first-year university and have fun. Because most of the time, it’s pretty cool out here in the real world

1. At uni, no one cares about who you were in high school. Seriously…put your badges away, no one cares

This can be a good thing, for sure. No one cares about what stupid/embarrassing/potentially deviant thing you did in high school and therefore will not judge you. People just want to make friends, get through their degree and make good memories. On that same note, no one cares if you were a prefect, school captain, president of whatever…there are university politics and clubs and societies so if you want to be someone again you have to earn it. Earn respect, not popularity. And the no judging thing? That doesn’t apply if you still walk around like you own the place because you owned (or think you owned) high school. So don’t be that person…just be you, people are much nicer than they were in high school.

2. There’s a new kind of hierarchy, but it’s not about popularity…it’s about your degree

For those who just couldn’t leave that high school crap behind, they take pleasure in creating this elitist little hierarchy that not many people actually subscribe to/care about. So these people are the ones that think medical students and engineering students are better than everyone, and that almost everyone and everything is better than an Arts degree. Don’t listen. As someone studying arts in addition to science I can tell you that my arts courses are just as challenging and time consuming as science, just in a different way. Psychology, criminology, English literature, economics, mathematics…all arts majors; all want you to stop whining and put in the work. Just like science. Beware these people trying to claim that unless you’re a law student, you’re not allowed in the law library….not true, they’re just asses. So choose to be one of those people who thinks that any kind of learning is valuable, and that what YOU want matters, not what other people think of you

3. So…you think high school exams sucked? How to put this gently…

Uni exams are worse. Usually because to pass the entire course you have to pass the exam. It doesn’t sound hard or unreasonable, until you actually get there. My advice is: do not underestimate them. If you did biology in high school and found the exams easy, do not in any way assume this will be the same. Study. Don’t cram…I mean actually study. Like you mean it. It will be 100x easier for you if you do. Same goes for most other exams. And look at the sample exams (if you got to UQ these are provided, I assume other uni’s do too); academics are busy, sometimes lazy, people. If they can “borrow” a few questions from old exams they will. Frequently.

4. No matter how tempting it seems…don’t go to lecture tipsy or drunk

There’s always someone. Someone who’s hit the Red Room (UQ) or the Guild Bar (QUT) and turns up to class slightly or completely inebriated. It happened in my psychology class. How could I tell? Because suddenly one guy thought (after 10 weeks of the joke wearing off) that the lecturer’s name, Bill Von Hippel, was suddenly the funniest thing since Jerry Seinfeld…huh? You don’t know who that is? Look it up…you won’t be sorry. Furthermore, not knowing that alcohol x 10 = hangover the night before an exam is probably an indicator that you don’t know that calculus formula/date/opinion on democracy you were supposed to know for the exam. Drink after…much more satisfying

5. There’s always something good happening, have fun 

You would not believe the number of onesie-themed parties going on at the UQ St Lucia campus. Other uni’s have the same thing going on. There’s always a party, an event with free food, pizza gathering or trivia night happening somewhere that you can get in on. For example, pretend you like psychology honours for half an hour and get ludicrous amounts of free pizza (the gourmet stuff from the pizza cafe). Uni is fun too guys…don’t study too hard.

6. Before you leave high school…

Take a good look at your teachers. The ones who mark your drafts, tell bad jokes in class that no other class gets, and try to help you when you have a problem. You’ll miss them. LIke crazy. When you sit in a chemistry lecture and you’re one of 200 students, you’ll miss your insane, tight-knit class. When your biology tutor makes a joke and no one laughs, you’ll remember those impressions of animals your teacher used to do. And you’ll miss it. So make sure you thank them before you leave. Tell them what their teaching meant to you. Hug them like you’ll miss them, because you will

All the best to the Class of 2013. I can’t wait until you join the rest of us out in the real world. It will be cool, I promise.

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