This thing is so boring we force people into relationships to keep us entertained! (A collection of reflections I’ve made as I dissociate from the school system and adopt to the university system).
“Go to university, it’ll be the most fun, crazy and unforgettable years of your life” That’s what they say huh? Well, having done that for a whole year let me enlighten you, a bigger lie has not been told.
(Little disclaimer prior to progressing with the article, I do enjoy hyperbolic exaggeration and this article might contain lots of that!)
So, coming out of the stone-age school system of Sri Lanka, university is perceived as this ‘anarchic’ place where what you wear, the color of your nail polish, who you sit with, what you say and most importantly whether or not you have Tipex in your bag aren’t taken as seriously as back in school and penalized as if you’re a criminal. To a large extent I would agree! The professors themselves insist you stay seated when they walk into the class! How convenient? BUT some may disagree with me here, and rightfully so, I do feel like that very freedom and autonomy eat at you gradually. Add to that, you having to do these things that are collectively encompassed as “adulting”. While your younger self would have been dying to do most of the things coming in the “adulting package” such as buying your own groceries, going out with no mom waiting for you to come back by 6, and deciding which lecture you’re bunking, it gets draining! Eventually, the excitement dies out and you’re bored out of your mind not knowing what to do.
Now you may counter argue the boredom with the point of the gigantic workload, and to that I will say, that IS the problem! When the excitement dies off and washing clothes becomes the routine, researching why Shakespeare resorted to bits of low-comedy in Twelfth Night is the last thing you want to be doing. Remember how you now have less restrictions on curfews and people you can hang out with? well what’s the point when everyone is busy doing a billion different things? In short, what I’m trying to get at is the sad reality of an overload of work and minimum social life! Oh, not to forget, my favorite part – washing my clothes!
Another aspect of uni life that I thoroughly enjoy is, without a doubt, group work! I love how it’s not immaterial as it was in school and on the contrary, plays a very vital part by determining the potential trajectory of my life. Sometimes the lecturers are so kind, they divide the groups for you themselves: now the motive in doing this is to encourage interaction between the students and really make them suffer twice as much trying to get to know people, WHILE finishing the given work in the shortest possible duration. This encouragement in turn builds character by exploring the scope of one’s social anxiety, ability to tolerate a wide variety of personality traits, and the ability to work under maximum stress (courtesy of ungodly deadlines) among many others. That being said, I would admit that I met some of the nicest people through these ‘joyful’ assignments!
I know I seem rather pessimistic of the uni experience as a whole, but I do want to appreciate one critical feature of uni that has serious potential to cancel out the negatives. That is, how the student to a great extent is allowed to hold their own opinions, as long as they could substantiate it with supporting evidence or arguments.
The ability to counter argue with your professors, explore opinions that are contrary to what’s said, I think is my favorite part of this experience as a whole. Given that we came out of an education system that encourages parroting the syllabus while heavily denouncing (and penalizing) any and every thought outside the box.
In my concluding notes, I would contradict my own statement and say, no, university really is a great experience, albeit not always. I really did meet a bunch of amazing, like-minded people, who take away the dreadfulness of the workload and once even managed to make ‘psychoanalysis’ a rather fun and enthusiastic concept to learn!
Moral of the story: vent and be overdramatic about the most minor inconveniences coming your way at university, to ensure the upkeeping of above average mental wellbeing! BUT don’t let the aforementioned inconveniences take away from you, the one-of a kind experience that is university as it really is a time of fun and enjoyment (amidst chaos)!
Rtr. Sajani Jayasinghe
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