Patrick George: “Freshers…piss off”

You probably shouldn’t be here.

I mean it. You shouldn’t. This isn’t some sort of snobby elitist crap about “oh, exams are getting easier and you’re thick”. That would be too easy. Because exams are getting easier and you’re thick. No, you shouldn’t be here for your own good.

Let’s be honest for a second. You’re 18, full of life, love and joy. You’re away from your boring ‘rents for the first time ever and you can’t wait to be an adult. It doesn’t matter that you have no clue why you’re doing what you’re doing; you’ll “figure that out”.

But when?

First year? Between drunken Jäger marathons?

Second year? When you discover hangovers?

Third year? When…well…shit…you have to work!

“University is wasted on the young” is not actually a quote, but it looks snazzier in quote marks. It’s true though. You don’t know why you picked Psychology, you just think it would be great to understand people’s minds. You’ve heard Physics has good grad jobs. Maybe Econ because you like suits and money?

You aren’t really sure though. You’ve only ever studied any of them for a couple of hours a week. You’ve never immersed yourself in that world full time.

It’s not entirely your fault admittedly, the negative “gaap yaaah” stereotype runs strong through this country. If you take one then you’re a rich wastrel, funded by doting parents with no real clue about the real world. You are someone to be scorned, cast away, disregarded alongside the grammar school snobs and the private school twits.

“Get experience of the real world”

But you should totally do it.

You’re not old enough at 18 to grasp the enormity of the choice you’ve made. Faced with all the world’s options you filled out a UCAS form because it was what your school expected. You may want to go to Uni someday but are you honestly telling me that you didn’t pick your degree based on your highest grade?

This isn’t to say go to Thailand and find yourself. If you find yourself there then you may find that well, you’re in Thailand. No, no, no! Go! Work, volunteer, do an internship. Get experience of the real world.

After a year if you still want to do that degree in media studies then do it. But, if you don’t…you didn’t waste 9 grand on a year of a degree you don’t want to do, for a future you don’t want.

I didn’t do a gap year. I flunked out of my second. In that flunking out I found what I actually wanted to do.

So, good luck. But also…

Piss off.

Patrick George

Image: CharNewcombe via Flickr

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2 Comments on this post.
  • Grad
    26 September 2016 at 20:55
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    Freshers should listen to this article. I had a great time at Notts. I bagged a First, I was active in student politics and I frequented Ocean most Friday nights. Then it all comes to an end and you are left trying to get the respect of employers armed with a Politics degree.

    If I could have my time again I’d have got a job straight out of school. Sure my degree was academically challenging and also pretty academically rigorous but employers simply don’t respect it. I didn’t have enough life experience aged 18 to make better decisions.

  • A satisfied customer
    27 September 2016 at 11:53
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    Surely it is too late for ‘Freshers’ given that by their very nature they must have started their degree, and thus already “wasted 9 grand”. This seems like a wasteful excuse to moan about your regrets…

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