Sunday, 7 November 2010

Am I a real student?

I was clicking around on Cosmo on Campus ( this afternoon, and while I could relate to a lot of what I read, I realised most of it was in retrospect - I remember living through a lot of what they describe, but my current situation is quite different. This makes me a bit sad (university was an amazing three years of my life (cliche, maybe, but also true)), but out of nostalgia, blogging! Therefore, I bring you the interesting specifics of my current, sort-of-student existence, compared to the hedonistic life I was enjoying up until July (officially, anyway - I still had an excellent summer).

1. Socialising & Friendships.
Probably the most important part of student life, eclipsing even academia (because while you are there to study, the people around you and your relationships with you colour every aspect of your life). At university, I had a large group of friends (mostly people who were in my extremely close-knit society (which had a few drawbacks - especially as it made picking and choosing the people you wanted to spend time with rather more challenging)), none of whom were in lectures with me. There were people I got on with and chatted to in my various seminar groups, but I don't think I ever spent time with them outside of that. At Journalism School, however, everyone spends almost every day together (with the exception of Mind-numbing Mondays, which breed a special kind of camaraderie in the face of adversity) and we are quite frequently divided into groups to work. As a result, I know all the full-timers by name, at least, and I think we all have at least a vague idea of each other's personalities The massive reduction in free time since my university days (I think I feel another bout of nostalgia coming on) means I tend to want to spend my weekends with friends who I can't see in the week, somewhat reducing the possibilities for proper socialising time with course-mates (although there have been more than enough opportunities to head to the pub with them in the evenings for some serious gossiping). It's a different kind of friendship, I suppose. I've never been in any of these people's living rooms, for instance.

2. Campus.
Journalism School is tiny. During a recent conversation with Jumanji, when she told me about two freshers being caught doing something very naughty in a rehearsal room at her university, I realised that there is absolutely nowhere entirely private in the whole of our little corridor. The toilets are not completely soundproof, and wherever you wander, you will pass someone. The best venue for cloak-and-dagger dealings would probably be the Secret Kitchen, but that's locked and right next to the very popular vending machines. The UEA campus (where I spent three glorious years... Ok, I'll stop) had all sorts of secluded nooks and crannies, inside and outside, and that's without taking into account all the flats and residences.
Secrecy aside, it's strange to go from having a huge campus, with restaurants (well, sort of), shops and a giant central square to hanging out in either the common room or the computer lab. Or the doorstep, I suppose, if you smoke.

3. Contact Hours.
6 hours a week to more than 6 hours a day. 'nuff said.

4. Accommodation.
I'm typing this in a giant bedroom, still quite full of an excellent mushroom risotto that I did not make for myself. This is the lap of luxury, by student standards. I'm still not too sure if I like living by myself yet, though - I don't really spend enough time here during the week to work it out.

5. Commuting.
At UEA, I walked to campus, or caught the sometimes reliable bus (in my last two years - in first year I just had to wander out of my residence five minutes before things started). These days I am transformed into one of the zombies of London lore, spending three hours a day in transit. At least I get a brisk walk, I suppose. (Actually, I have a dark secret - I quite enjoy commuting. There are lots of interesting people and I get to run down escalators.)

6. Work.
Got there eventually. The work I do at Journalism School is quite different to what I used to do at university. I actually tend to do it, for one thing. There's quite a fast turnaround - 20 minutes after you're told to write something, you're reading it out to the class. I enjoy this significantly more than essay writing - all that extended effort and manic rush to the deadline was much more stressful. I wouldn't mind more constructive feedback sometimes, though.

7. Money.
Nope, still watching myself like a hawk on this one. London is expensive.

That'll do for now. In other news, I'm very excited about starting my work experience week tomorrow! Hopefully I'll have lots of stories to tell you.

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