Camilla Jenkins investigates: The daily grind

A very wise man (the Chief in Grey’s Anatomy – where I get all my top tips) explained to success-thirsty young interns that life was a marathon and, at the end of it, you don’t care if you win or lose, you’ll just be glad you survived. As a third year who’s willing to tell anyone and everyone that, come week 9, we’re officially drinking in the last chance saloon, I’ve often wondered whether this would be the case. It seemed appropriate as well as suitably melodramatic, you see.

Every year, one of the departing NOUSE columnists takes it upon themselves to offer advice to the younger years. I’d like to nonchalantly comment that this year’s responsibility fell to me because Tom was too cool and Jones writes about food but, in truth, I’ve been jumping up and down for the role since the great HJF departed. I too have wisdom, I thought, while stroking my non-existent beard and tapping my imaginary pipe. I will teach these young grasshoppers if only they are willing to learn. Here I am Lord, I have heard them calling in the night. Etc.

And so, these are the words of wisdom, taken from a panel of the sage and shrewd during Naomi’s 21st. The first up, as originally quoted by Hugh Laurie: a party girl is fun until she pukes on your shoes. University, what with staying up all night and the possibility of living of takeaway is intoxicating but notice when it’s time to grow up. If your friends start forgoing nights out to do their seminar reading and randomers mention their essay plans in Revs, its time to shape up or ship out. You’re here to get a 2.1 and a job, at least in the long run. Forget that at your peril. The real-world boat may have left the harbour.

There are no tears in degrees. Maybe in 6th form it was cool to rant and rave about how little work you’ve done and that you’re “sooooo screwed” while secretly beavering away but no more. Behave like that here while ‘luckily’ managing to get firsts and people will talk. And it won’t be pleasant or to your face. Working hard and doing well is cool. Buy a coffee flask; it’s likely to be your only friend pre-9:15 and post Ziggys.

Get to know the bouncers. And by that I mean the bouncers, the cleaners, and the admin staff. Perhaps throw in Doorsafe as well. These are the people with real power. YUSU are not.

Dump your high school boyfriend. Two years on, wisdom is infinitely better and sounder and your choice may not seem quite so rosy. Will you be glad you listened to him lament his disgraceful performance in the college hockey cup if you break up at Big D in Third year? Probably not. Being in a relationship involves sacrifice: societies, friends and degree will suffer. Maybe it’s worth it, maybe it’s not but avoid regret by thinking about it now.

Getting older is inevitable so enjoy your youth while you’ve got it. The mistakes you make today are excellent dinner party stories tomorrow. Playing it safe is dull but stay on the right side of the law. Joining the sacred club by breaking into a certain private gym for a midnight dip is sexy, willful destruction of property is not.

The Courtyard is fun but only occasionally. It’s the social hub; enjoy it, make use of it and accept it. However, in the words of ex-poli ed Kate, order a coffee to go and have somewhere else to be. There’s nothing worse than a socialite, especially when all they add to campus is carbon dioxide and the occasional STD. Have a purpose.

Societies matter, but not that much. James, the BF of my BFF, informed me that I shouldn’t bother writing anything but merely sign-off with ‘CAMILLA couldn’t-let-it-go JENKINS.’ According to him, that explains my attitude in a nutshell. Perhaps. Push yourself, be a part of something that sparks your interest but remember it’s not the be all and end all, despite what YUSU or your black card tells you. Campus has a three year memory span, at best, which is both sad and oddly comforting. People have done better and worse jobs than you will do. And no one remembers either.

One comment

  1. Very true – campus has a three year memory, no longer than that. I left in 2008 – almost exactly three years ago to the day. Everything I ever did at York has now been lost from the collective memory of anyone still there, so don’t waste time regretting anything or worrying too much about what people might think of what you do, just do what you want and try to be happy.