Everything you learnt at Durham but should’ve already known

School I miss you

Your time at Durham is a time for learning, growing and developing. It’s the time to find YOU, whilst embarking on an enterprise of private study. It’s wonderful when you think about it, the bliss of freedom, the ability to waltz to and from lectures at your own will, living for you and yourself alone.

But you also go on an awkward date with reality and realise you don’t actually know a lot about the world and you don’t really have a lot of common sense. So what has uni taught you? Here’s a list of things you learnt at Durham but should’ve already known.

You aren’t as clever as you thought you were

A – levels? Completed them mate. You seem to enter uni with an elevated sense of intelligence, a sort of feeling of relative brightness, yet three terms at  uni teach you that honestly you know so very little.

I can recall sitting in the common room at my college and discovering- subsequently experiencing an existential crisis- that some stars (a lot of stars) are suns and that the sun is a star. Shocking. This same year I discovered penguins are birds, Essex is a county and the Angel of the North is not the same statue as Christ the Redeemer.

Take my A – levels away from me, I am unworthy.

Handouts are a blessing not a curse

You’d complain wouldn’t you, as soon as you saw your teacher waltz in with a fat pile of handouts containing all the relevant information you need to pass your exam.  There the notes were displayed in an artistic layout, each idea flowing nicely into another so you could grasp the topic with ease.

Like they say, you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Please Lord, all we want is a handout in font Georgia with a specification conveniently attached.

A – levels are not the most difficult thing you will ever do in your life

“A – levels are the hardest thing you’ll do,” they said.  “Uni is easier because you only have one subject, its really focused,” they said.  “Don’t worry it’s easier from here on,” they said.

Yeah, well you realise 12 weeks in whoever said that was speaking out of their arse.

Oh yeah let me read primary ancient texts which are basically written in latin with no online sources possessing the ability to explain what is going on, leading to at a final moment of desperation resorting to the use of your imagination to manifest an idea as to what on earth is going on.

The preciousness of a bath

As the joy that is Sylvia Plath once said: “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them”.

It’s 8pm, you’ve just finished a diabolical essay plan on a Sunday evening and all you want is to hop into the bath, risk taking your phone in with you and bathe in your own body’s dead cells and water. But you can’t do that, you can’t resolve your problems with a quick dip for all you have is a box standard shower. And a shower is like a Chrysler and a bath a Bentley.

You have an inability to say ‘no’

Now, I’m not entirely sure that this is something we only realise we possess at uni or if it’s something we develop at uni.  Either way, you promised yourself after freshers’ week you’d go out once every two weeks and do your work.

“You going out tonight?”

And half and hour later you’re in the shower washing your locks for a night out.  It won’t even be a good night, but you just can’t seem to say no can you.

Everything is different

You’ve managed to lose contact with three of your best friends from school, the once lit group chats are dead and you only get to see the old ‘squad’ once in a blue moon.

You’re a different person now, slightly more mature, slightly more independent, lazy, tired and at times sociable. You truly appreciate those baths and truly crave being spoon fed information from your teacher.

Uni’s for learning and I sure learnt a lot.

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