Student life. Lengthy lectures, endless library sessions, drunken nights out. Oh, and did I mention the debt? Being a student in this modern age provides us with an unimaginable number of opportunities, from making friends for life to learning about our passions and interests. Student life equips us with the necessary skills to begin to stand out on our own, become more independent from our parents and have a sense of freedom. However, there are many lessons to be learned in student life which aren’t a part of a degree.
My perfect day in the life as a student begins with my alarm going off at 8am, followed by me hopping out of bed, get my gym gear on and heading out into the fresh morning air for an energising run. Okay, who are we kidding, that alarm totally got put on snooze for a further 45 minutes. It’s basically 9am, I’m thankful that my lecture doesn’t start until 1, so I make some breakfast and chat with my housemates while we sit and drink cups of coffee to fuel us for the day ahead. Being a student means that my calendar is consistently filled with commitments and my phone is permanently pinging from the excessive number of group chats people create for pointless purposes. I scroll through socials, reply to emails that I’ve officially put off for too long and have one or two sneaky swipes on Tinder. Social media has a massive influence on the way that students live nowadays. Student life is waking up with regret and immediately deleting the sixteen Snapchat stories they uploaded of themselves while drunk in the club. It’s having the ability to come home at 4am and still be at the 9am lecture the following morning, whether that is from a night out or
a night in cramming at the library.
Now, this is the part where my vision and reality diverge. My perfect day in the life of a student consists of me cycling to campus and getting to my lecture five mins early, second coffee of the day in hand and engaging consistently throughout the session. Following this I meet my friend on the sports campus and we play tennis as arranged. I’ve got my uni work and exercise under my belt for the day and head home and make a healthy meal. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Too bad that life doesn’t always pan out as we envision, especially when you’re a student.
So here’s the reality: My bike rolls over the remains of a smashed beer bottle (a likely result of a drunk student on their way to BOP last night) which punctures my tyre rather badly. I’m looking at my phone and realising I had factored in enough time to get to class on time via bike, but not by foot. I feel my chest begin to tighten. My bike is totally fucked, it has suddenly started pissing it down and I have no coat because British weather is as unpredictable as the buses in Winchester. The options were clear to me at this point, as I stand frozen both mentally and physically, I knew I
needed to make a decision, fast. Turn up to my lecture late or go home and miss it completely.
If you’re a student who has ever suffered with anxiety, you will know the stress that comes with turning up late. There’s all the questions and eyes on you, you’ve missed the opening discussion and you have no clue what the hell is going on. Finding a seat next to someone you don’t find annoying which also has plug access can be a struggle. And lets not think about that moment when you open up your laptop to realise it powered off last night while you fell asleep binge watching The Office. The theme tune blares from your device, and you want the world to swallow you up. It’s not just being late that is stressful. Its every further inconvenience that happens as a result. Sometimes I am late for things and when it is 100% my fault I will take ownership for that, the punishment is deserved. But times like today, where the universe throws you a curveball and you find yourself with no choice but to pick from a bad bunch, what do you do? I know the easy and much more attractive option is to just go home. But then you get the guilt. Throw away a three-hour lecture just because you couldn’t get there on time? It feels defeatist. Plus, for every lecture you don’t attend, that is catchup that will just never get done.
I decided on a third option in the end – walked home, dumped the bike and grabbed a coat and made it to class only 15 minutes late, although thoroughly out of breath. The awkwardness wasn’t as bad in reality as I had made it out to be in my head. I was a bit overwhelmed for the rest of that afternoon, so I was grateful to have my Jamworks app on my phone recording what I needed to go back on later. Being present in the lecture, even if my head wasn’t in it 100% gave me the upper hand as I could make some clips of info with Jamworks to go back to later on when I felt more in the zone. As the lecture came to an end, I checked my phone to see a message from my friend. “Sorry not gonna make it to tennis today the rain is too bad. Next time for sure tho!!” I was equally disappointed and relieved. It was another plan that hadn’t gone as I had hoped, however it actually meant I could go home and just breathe. I spent my evening eating leftover curry and playing video games and for a moment my world felt calm. As I climbed into bed at an hour earlier than I ever had before, I saw a notification pop up on my phone. “You coming to VODKA tonight?”
Student life is crazy. We constantly push our limits, make mistakes and forget what our parents warned us about. But it’s also the best way to discover yourself, learn how to be an adult and realise that life is tough, but so are we.