Patrick Leigh-Pemberton: Let’s Make Use of Our Time
Recently, while returning to this hallowed turf of learning, golf and sea, I made the decision to get off the motorway and drive along a singularly stunning piece of road […]
Recently, while returning to this hallowed turf of learning, golf and sea, I made the decision to get off the motorway and drive along a singularly stunning piece of road (The A68, between Newcastle and Edinburgh, you may know it, and if you don’t, I seriously urge you to make its acquaintance).
The benefits of this choice were immediately apparent, as there is absolutely no contest between the dull monotony of concrete bridges and service stations and the beauty of well-managed moorland and small village pubs. However, I unfortunately added a massive thirty minutes to my journey time, seriously inconveniencing my passenger and me. One of these last sentiments is a lie. I was not inconvenienced, and although I didn’t ask her at the time, I do not think that my passenger minded anything other than my constant exclamations of “this is beautiful” and alarming arm gestures momentarily stopped guiding our heroic little car on this epic journey.
Those of you who read these columns regularly may already have established that I am maybe not the busiest of people or that even when I have something to do, I have a tendency to ignore it. Generally, when people think of students, there is a common conception that we are overloaded with free time. To those of you throwing up their arms in protest, screaming that you actually spend 12 hours a day in the library, I beg you to accept the idea that we actually do have a lot of free time.
Rather than rabbiting away about word counts, independently structured learning, and ‘all nighters,’ let’s make use of the free time that we have. We may never have all of this time to play with again. This of course does not apply to science students, who have never had any time to play and will get jobs immediately, so will still not have time to play. For us artsy folk, however, we can make so much more use of our free time.
I am not talking about increasing our academic productivity, but rather suggesting that we could use all of our dead time to pursue idiosyncratic and useless projects. Nothing worthy. Something fun. Long walks on a beach are a fantastic place to start. Rather than stand outside the library telling people about your oppressive deadline calendar, why not start experimenting with Slam poetry? Instead of bumming around all afternoon and then going to Tesco’s at 7 in the evening for a meal you will eat at 8, why not spend all afternoon making an incredibly intricate meal, involving at least five unpronounceable herbs and seven different saucepans? It will probably be disgusting, but at least you will have tried. Instead of heading to the central at 2, why not get on a bus and go to Anstruther for a pint?
As you can see, there are thousands of different ways we could use this time, and I think it would be better if we were all to at least try. Especially if you would all invite me to supper when you have spent all day cooking, because I will have been terribly busy writing an essay.