One of the advantages of York starting ridiculously late is that we have a good, long time to get used to that back-to-school feeling. I have always adored the first day of the autumn term. It feels like a fresh start. Old mistakes have been forgotten (although I doubt my tutor would agree) and you have a chance to do things right. This time.
On the journey up the M1, I found myself making a series of solemn vows; this term I would attend all lectures, prepare for every seminar and go to the gym at least five times a week.
As third year looms closer and closer, we are forced to take stock of our time at university. To facilitate this process, I shall lead you, dear reader, through a little thought experiment. I am one third philosopher, after all.
What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself? Think about it. Intelligent probably featured somewhere in that list, perhaps along with interesting and entertaining? Maybe even ambitious or accomplished? Write it down, if you’re that way inclined.
Now, think about what three adjectives others would use to describe you, based purely on your actions at university. No longer quite such a flattering exercise, is it?
I was once told that the key to success was to imagine the person you want to be and then act like them. What do you want to achieve with your time here? What impression do you want to leave behind?
At university, it’s often easy to lose track of the bigger picture and become someone who merely reacts to situations rather than controls them. Maybe it’s time for this to change?
There’s a reason those involved in Nouse bang on about societies: they matter. If you want to be thought of as driven, then join campus media or York Entrepreneurs. If you’d like to be cultured, then audition for Drama Barn or join one of the arts societies. These don’t have to be lofty goals but you need to really want to achieve them. Otherwise, they’ll never happen.
Perhaps you want to be that slightly posh rugby boy who sleeps with lots of girls. In the words of our Sports Editors: go for it, my son.
(As I am currently being held accountable by YUSU for any encouragement, subliminal or otherwise, for you to participate in activities that might be damaging … use a condom.)
Despite the Hes East expansion, our campus is still small. It’s easy and often viewed as acceptable to get lost in the daily interactions that seem oh-so-important. While it’s very exciting that the cute boy across the room asked you for coffee, you don’t need to spend all evening analysing it. We’re young, but we don’t have that much time left here. And is ‘that girl’ really the person you want to be?
You may not know. I’m certainly not sure. I do know that I want to be known as honest and kind and incredibly efficient. Although life taught me somewhat of a cruel (and unending) lesson last year about over-committing myself, I don’t want to waste my time and intend to embrace all the opportunities this year offers with both hands. If nothing else, job applications are just around the corner.
I hold Socrates personally responsible for any bad behaviour last year. His quote: “enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think” certainly sounds like a blessing when drunk.
Being on the sofa with a bowl of Cheerios is fun – for an hour. Scoring the winning goal or being elected to a position or helping someone through Nightline is so much more rewarding. As is having a really crazy night in Leeds that ends up in Edinburgh.
Leave university the person you want to be. Or at least leave university having done something. It’ll be worth it, I promise.