Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Thoughts on being a student

Autumnal tree
Four things I remember most vividly from being a student the first time round, in my late teens and early twenties:
  • Freedom to do what I wanted in my own space for the first time. I could read a book or take a shower at 3 am without any questions asked.
  • A sinking sense of bafflement and perplexity at the subject matter. I really didn't have much of a clue about engineering.
  • Meeting many people who have become long-term friends, who make me laugh and make me think, and who still seem to like me despite everything I've done.
  • The 24-hour nature of the role of student. There are no boundaries to the day, no 9-to-5 routines. No time off. Any time spent having fun was time that I should have spent working, because there was always more to do.
Being a student now is very different in these four respects.
  • Living with Mr A means conforming to conventional behaviour on the whole. This is a shame, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Most of the time.
  • I absolutely love my course, and unlike engineering, I really 'get' the subject. I do extra just because it's interesting.
  • I don't think that I'll be in touch with anyone I've met through university in five years' time, let alone after 25 years. This is undoubtedly my problem, not theirs.
  • I am able to work in the early morning and into the evenings because at my age I'd rather be sitting at my desk than sleeping late or climbing over the college gate at 2 a.m. And there's nothing on TV worth watching.
Apart from my badminton and mealtimes, I've been working 12+ hour days for the last week, and am set to continue until mid-November, apart from a little break for a family gathering this weekend. I've nearly finished two of the three pieces of coursework, but we are set some more very soon. It doesn't need to be handed in for a month, so I'm definitely taking at least one weekend off.


aims said...

I find your school life so fascinating Lola. And so envious.

I've often thought of returning to school but haven't a clue what I would take.

I thought English again - finally getting my degree - but what for? I don't know.

My brother has a honors degree in Physics and he does rafting and pottery. Does that make sense? He does see things differently than anyone I know. However he decided that life wasn't about money but should be about having fun and enjoying what one does. He has learned to live without the money.

Anonymous said...

Interesting views on being a student at different times in your life. It has made me reflect on my recent/current student experience.

I wondered about engineering - if you didn't 'get it' at uni did you carry on in that field?

Lola said...

I definitely believe that we should try to do what suits us - the trouble was that at the age of 18 I didn't know what would suit me. Now I do.

I got my engineering degree, but moved straight into the new world of computers. I wince whenever some misguided person who's seen my CV describes me as an engineer. I've been a lot of things, but never that.