University isn’t that bad. I’m meant to say it sucks and that finding a park is impossible and that you can barely understand that one lecturer who pisses you right the fuck off. But the reality is, working nine to five, or even freelancing (which, brace yourself, is actually MORE taxing and involves more hours of your time) is far worse than going and sitting in some lecture hall listening to a fossil talk about social media’s impact on journalism. But I feel you – you’re still in the thick of it, and those exams are coming up really, really fast.
Never fear, dear friend. I had woeful attendance, zero motivation, hated what I was studying and was going through a whole heap of personal shit during my time at uni, but I made it through. That means, unless you’re a total moron, you’re probably going to get by in a similar fashion. Having said that, a few pointers can’t hurt. Here’s what helped me.
Have ‘uni friends’.
Given the fact you’re reading this, I’m going to judge you and say you’re not exactly an upstanding citizen. You’re reading this at the Goddamn uni bar, aren’t you? Anyway, whatever. It’s great that you’ve got a wolf pack of soldiers who obliterate themselves with you every chance you get, but as Donald Trump or someone once said, variety is the spice of life. So make some ‘uni friends’. These friends are different to your normal friends. They’re way more conservative (interpret that however you wish), you won’t ever party with them, and they will always be like “lol can’t believe u didn’t come to todays tute”. But they’ll also be great when you need a hand, and you’re going to need a hand. I know it sounds like you’re using them, but if you’re worried about the moral purity of this guide, stop reading right now.
Do the ‘post-tute’ chat.
Whenever you get a new tutor, grab them at the end of one of your tutorials (preferably the first or second) and ask a well thought out question, interlaced with a compliment on their teaching style or the subject itself or whatever the hell you want. Don’t make the compliment too obvious, and don’t make the question too involved (tutors are busy people who need to go and teach other idiots what they just taught you). Doing this builds some rapport, and if (when) you require a little leniency down the track, that little extra effort might come in handy. Might is the key word in that sentence.
Sink a few cold ones at the uni bar.
This seems counter-intuitive, but being social at university is important. There’s plenty of reasons why, but just like almost everything in life, networking sits somewhere right in the very core. And in Australia, there’s no better way to socialise with a group of people than to get blind drunk and try and come onto a girl whose boyfriend is standing ten feet away. Actually, forget that last part. It was my first year and I’d been going through a lot.
Realise some things just won’t change.
University, much like primary and high school, is a cycle. You will go through stages, and these stages are very defined. Become familiar with them here.
Work out how to cram.
Everyone will have to do some ‘cramming’ – the process of rushing through weeks (or months) worth of study in a matter of days – at some point during their university life. But not everyone has their cramming on lock. It’s a process that you should treat with respect, like pacing yourself when day drinking. For me, cramming become somewhat of an art form, so much so that I could have written this entire article on my process alone. But all I’ll say is, find out what works best for you. If you need to jack off six times in the morning then sit facing a blank wall, go for it. Also, download SelfControl if you’re a total piece of shit. It’ll stop you using all the fun things on your computer.
Pick group work partners wisely.
There are a thousand different views on this particular topic, though one thing remains certain: group work fucking sucks. My personal opinion is that you should never be at the upper or lower echelon of the group. If you’re the smartest, you’ll be dragged down. If you’re the dumbest, you MIGHT be dragged up, but there will probably be some sort of fallout, tense library meetings and you’ll wind up with more mundane tasks piled upon you as your fellow students realise you suck. So, find a sweet spot in the middle, contribute, be happy, win.
Don’t play the University Drinking Game.
I really don’t need to explain this one, but if you’re doing this, then you’re a total mess and I can’t believe you even bothered to read all this fucking text. I’m not even mad. In fact, I’m impressed.
Now, go forth and conquor (read: barely scrape by).
Photo by Axel. FYI: we’re not saying dude in photo is lazy.