Sunday, November 6, 2011

Things No One Tells You About University (part 1)

   As any one who has read my blog before knows, I began my first year of university this fall. This was after 3 long years out of school, busting my ass in dead end jobs, and in a constant flux of employment/ unemployment due to a terrible job market.

   There's a lot to be said about the differences between the real world and the world of academia. Everyone, of course will have differing experiences, but I've attempted to compile what I feel are fairly universal truths about post-secondary education. Based on my experiences so far, and the experiences of others around me.

   I've written a few points below, more will follow in the coming days.

If You Were A Nerd In High School, This Is Your Time To Shine:

   Now, I know what you're thinking. "Everyone knows this! This is what we nerds have been told all through our sexless high school years!" First, shut up, nerd! Second, it doesn't work quite the way Hollywood and your former teachers and guidance counsellors would have you believe.

   If you're the kind of nerd who is opinionated, open about your intelligence, and has at least the very basics of social skills down, you will thrive. The difference between High School and Post Secondary is that almost everyone is there by choice. As opposed to High School, where the kids who picked on those who were smarter than them, were usually only there because they had to be. They had to maintain a minimum grade level to stay on the football team, or they had to stay in school or their parents would cut them off financially.

   That's not to say that these assholes don't occasionally turn up in University. But they adapt to the social pressures of the 95% of students who realize they are paying good money to be there, and they learn in a hurry to respect the academic environment.

   All of a sudden, the kind of dickwads that pestered you all through your High School years are on your turf, and playing by the rules you began to play by years ago. This is a huge leg up in the social aspect of school as well, an area where you likely fell short before. No one who is serious about their education wants to spend their time hanging around the idiot who shows up drunk to every mid term and subsequently bombs it. They would rather be around the kid who has thoughtful input during class discussions, and who seems to be one step ahead of the rest of the class.

   Yes, feeble nerd, come the halfway point in the first semester, when all the people who aren't serious about their education have given up, you will begin to thrive. Girls will approach you in the hallways and ask you about the upcoming test. If you're outgoing enough you're likely to even get invited out to a few parties by people who want to hang around a positive academic influence.

   All that being said, if you lack social skills, never speak up in class, and don't bathe regularly, you don't stand a chance. So re-invent yourself, odds are, very few people know you, so you don't have to worry about them having preconceptions of who you are. It's time to rise up and take your place atop the hill, because if you can build your social skills through your time in post secondary, you'll do that much better out in the real world.

You Social Circles Will Be MUCH Different:

  It seems almost stupid to make such a broad, and somewhat obvious point. But hear me out on this one. Your social circles, once you are settled in to university and start making friends in your classes will no longer be defined based on silly cliques insisting on upholding some 90s teen movie archetypes.

   No, your social circles will evolve based on your area of study, and within that area of study, how seriously you take your school work. As an example, the dickwads mentioned above? The ones who will day drink when they have a mid term that's worth a considerable portion of their semester grade? (In most of my classes, about 15%) They won't find other people to hang out with outside of the group of idiots who don't take their studies seriously.

   At the opposite end of the spectrum, those of us who take our studies seriously enough to contribute in a meaningful way? You'll find yourself gravitating to those like-minded individuals, whether for social activity, or for group study sessions. It won't matter that the girl sitting in front of you is an absolutely stunning physical specimen, so far out of your league that you won't even masturbate to her. If she fits into the same level of "give-a-shit" as you do, you're likely going to become friends over the semester.

   I've already had this happen in a few of my classes. People with whom I would probably never have associated outside of class (due to differing interests, disproportionate levels of attractiveness etc.) have become the people with whom I socialize the most. This is because, despite the complete orgy that is college life, the only common factor you need with someone to want to spend time with them, is a similar number of fucks given about your school work.

   So rather than being lumped into a social circle based on lack of upper body strength and physical attractiveness, you'll meet people in the same area of study, and regardless of their social standing in high school, you'll eventually befriend some of them.

My Words of Advice So Far:

Get involved in school stuff: there's no better way to meet people at school than to take a couple of shifts volunteering for a school event.

Put yourself out there: when on a campus with thousands, or even tens of thousands of other people, the odds of people approaching you to say hello are pretty low, unless you are a beautiful girl. Say hi to people you sit near in the cafeteria, go to school organized events and meet people, whatever it takes.

Join a club of some sort: if your school has a student club or society related to your area of study, this is a great way to meet people in your area of study with whom you may not have classes.

That's all for now, I'll try to post more stuff soon!

-Onward and Upward!

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