The one thing you can expect anytime you try something new is to be surprised with the unexpected. Yes, I know it sounds corny, but hear me out! Looking back at my almost one year of university (how time flies!) I can confirm that it has, in fact, been full of surprises, some quite pleasant and others not so much. Here are six things about university that surprised me, and if you read ahead (don’t worry it’s not boring) maybe you’ll find that you can relate to them as well.
Let’s be honest, one of the biggest reasons people aren’t overly fond of public universities is the ragging. Coming into university many of us were worried about it. I remember walking in with other first years for the placement tests and a senior standing at the side asking us to sign on some big white board. I think everyone’s internal ragging radars went off because nobody stepped up. Poor guy, looking back I think he was just trying to be nice. Now I can’t speak for everyone when I say there’s been no ragging, but I personally never experienced it. Perhaps it’s because UOC isn’t pro-ragging in general or the online shift just changed things up, but I’m certainly not complaining. It was a relief.
You’re probably wondering what this one’s about. With the fear of ragging came this idea that you had to fit in, blend in with the crowd, chameleon-ify yourself (no it’s not a word but you get the gist). One week before the first-semester exams began, I spent a concerning amount of time rummaging through my cupboard looking for, what I believed was, ‘university-esque’ clothing, A.K.A. unflattering T-shirts, baggy jeans, etc. The goal was to look like a sack. If you’ve met me, you know fashion is basically an extension of my personality. Clothes are such a great way to express yourself! (I can talk about this for hours but let’s get back to the point). I really wasn’t looking forward to 3 years of basic outfits. But I’m very happy to tell you I was proved wrong. You can dress how you want because nobody cares (even if it’s not over the top)! It’s nice to see people put effort into their outfits and sport their own unique style.
Yes, a whole section dedicated to the library, but only because it’s one of the best things about uni. I knew there was a library, but I didn’t expect to love it this much! The atmosphere is amazing and it’s very peaceful. I’m writing this article in the library and on my left are rows of bookshelves and on my right is a view of the planetarium and the tree with the pink flowers. It doesn’t get better than that! Despite it being so close to a fairly busy road you feel removed from all the hustle and bustle. If you want to be productive or just love books, the library is the place to be, though it seems criminal to have all these books and know you won’t get through most of them in your time at uni. I spend so much time here I might as well set up camp. The only downside is – no snacks allowed 🙁
Navigating the maze
Obviously not everything has been hunky dory. For someone who learned the name of the lane opposite mine just a few weeks ago, you can imagine how well I get around the university. When I discovered there were stairs numbered all the way to G (maybe more) I gave up on the possibility of ever figuring out what’s where. The plan is to walk around until you get where you need to. Yes, it’s not the most efficient way but you get to your destination…eventually.
I’d like to have a nice long chat with the architect who thought designing the third floor of the Arts Faculty the way they did was a good idea. The number of times I’ve walked in circles for 10 minutes trying to figure out where room 311 is will scare you. I eventually figured out there’s a door that leads you there next to room 310. Discovery of the century! There’s nothing worse when you’re already running late than discovering your class is on the third floor.
Honestly, I never thought about the washrooms till I actually had to use one. It’s been 2 years since I was in school and had to deal with very clean, very nice washrooms (note the sarcasm). Let’s just say the ones in uni aren’t much better. I have discovered though that the higher up you go the cleaner they get! There’s one downstairs that’s apparently better but I tried it once and I guarantee you could smell it all the way in Texas. The library washroom is definitely much better (did I mention the library is awesome?). Even though it’s quite inconvenient I’m determined to only use that one.
People in general
I don’t want to end on a sour note so let’s talk about the people. People in general are just really nice. I’ll catch the eye of someone when I’m walking down the stairs or at the faculty entrance and in most cases, they’re quick to return a smile or just acknowledge you. They can also be quite helpful. I remember one time when I was in the library I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the switches for the fans. One of the other students was kind enough to leave her work and try to work it out with me for a good five minutes. I’ve also noticed how patient and kind people are with differently abled students or even with a friend who isn’t feeling too well. It’s nice to know people care and are other-focused.
In conclusion, experiencing university is really the only way to understand how it works. I’m sure going forward I’ll have a lot more ‘wait…what?’ moments, but that’s all part of the experience. I’m definitely enjoying my time here and hope to make the most of it!
Rtr. Batya Peter
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