Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Life Cycle of a University Student

Hello readers! I know it has been a while since I've posted anything for that matter but This time, I come prepared. I hope you noticed the photo above because it's a reflection of what I will be writing today. This photo is courtesy of a university webpage which I will not mention and it stars a stereotypical representation of some ethnic groups in order to make university seem like a cultural experience whereby everywhere you go, you will see a lot of students of different ethnicity traipsing around making light conversation. Today's post is pretty much related to my life and is an illustration of the 4 years that I have endured (and suffered) in university. Now, just because this was written by me doesn't mean that it will necessarily reflect what you all have or will be going through  in college/university. It's just a basic post to share what I felt and to see whether you all relate to this story at all. Unlike all those other blogs or advice columns sugarcoating the real college experience, I intend to tell it as it is with limited sugarcoating and glittering generalities. Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that my university has three academic years and that each academic year won't be broken down into several excruciating detail- instead I will talk about it in general to spare you the useless details.Now, there are four stages, each for the 4 years and those are (in this order); Anticipation, Excitement, Fatigue/Post Anticipation and Surrender/Loss of Interest.

** Note: Also as i write this post, i am visibly gloating at all the first year students simply because I am a cruel and vindictive wench and mostly because I've graduated and they still have a long way to go.

1. Anticipation Stage

This is the preliminary stage in anybody's university experience.This is the very first time you feel extremely excited to start a new chapter in your life. All those years of watching 90210, Saved by the Bell ,21 Jumpstreet and any stereotypically misleading TV series/movies have finally paid off and have prepared you to face the magical world of University (or college as it is commonly referred to in the USA). Some people even consort to making personal vows to be a much cooler/better person in university than they were in high school. It is at this stage that you outline your university goals and aspirations and also whereby you create a very unrealistic set of criteria that people would have to meet in order to qualify to be your friend. This was exactly how I pictured university, a place where dreams can come true and where true love can finally be found. Thanks a lot Hallmark! You totally helped me realize my hopes and dreams and college aspirations as well. Stupid. So then your first month basically involves cruising here and there trying to take everything in and indulging in this wonderland full of people who don't even have time to chill with you and don't seem interested in being friends with you. For that whole month, you end up hanging out with a girl you either met during orientation week or is a classmate of yours. Oh, and remember that list of criteria you made at the beginning? You kinda f***ed that off. The main reason why this stage is known as anticipation stage is because a lot of people are actually anticipating the college/university life. Hey, remember all that binge drinking and house parties advertised on TV as included in the whole university package? Well that's another lie because the only pong you'll be playing is "book pong". Also a certan culture shock will happen here (but this depends on where you actually went to college and whether it was really that different from your place of origin). This stage usually lasts 6 months to a year (2 semesters) until it finally wears off and gives way to the second stage which is...

2. Excitement Stage aka Pre-Bragging stage

During this stage, you would've already surpassed the foundation stage (this usually occurs during your first year of University). The reason why this is the excitement stage is because newer and hotter students start to pile in and your extremely small circle of friends start to expand and ultimately you have so many friends that you even forget their names. This is the stage whereby you've ditched all those boring and compulsory foundation courses and opted for courses which you can choose... all on your own... without the university being responsible for it.

Also here is where you usually decide what you would like to major in and which boy/girl would be the victim of your stalking from now until you graduate. This person of interest is usually someone you either ignored during the first stage or found cute and then after seeing them a lot, disregarded that. Feelings that you will experience during this stage are what's left of the preliminary anticipation, excitement, love-drunkenness** and periodical happiness. Another name for this stage would be the Pre- Bragging stage and this is because this is the stage where you start bragging to those below you (that would be the juniors) about how you've made it so far and how your GPA is rising higher than Mount Everest or sinking lower than the Dead Sea. In actual fact, most students (usually weak minded juniors) end up withdrawing from their respective universities  and carting themselves off to a more prestigious university whereby their oil rig owning father's status has some influence on their university social status. GENIUS! Peer pressure is another common thing faced here as you would begin to realize that everyone belongs to a clique (to find out which cliques you belong to, >>>CLICK HERE<<<) and that you need to get into a clique or risk ending up a loner! In this stage, you don't just stick to one clique but end up trying to decide which ones really suit your image.After brainwashing you with all that, let's move on to stage 3,

3. Fatigue/Post Anticipation 

Remember what I said about the whole GPA rising thing in the second stage? Well in this stage you can strike that out because your GPA starts dropping lower than Beyonce on a strip pole. Which won't be so surprising considering you would've decided to join into some Student Council or Debate club or anything equally boring. If so, why would you join them? Because this is the stage when you realize the value of extracurricular activities, Star Points and certificates. Basically all the aforementioned help increase your chances of getting great jobs/internships or escaping while you still can from the institution.Then there's still the issue of getting a real life, good 'ol college boyfriend/girlfriend, YEE HAW! Which is also very hard (that's what she said!) considering the new intakes are much younger than you and dating one of them would probably categorize you in the potential cougar category. The most important thing that could ever happen in this stage is that you start being really serious and motivated about your studies in an attempt to raise your GPA higher than Wiz Khalifa. Dating has been shunned and socializing has been kept to a minimum. The primary feelings that you will experience in this stage is post anticipation and fatigue. Without sounding like a remake of  your friendly neighborhood doctor, post anticipation is caused by high levels of residual anticipatory behavior that had been abandoned by the second stage. Meanwhile, fatigue is caused by the amount of work that you would have to undergo plus the effort that you would have to go through to increase your GPA. Now that I have clouded your mind with useless jargon, glittering vocabulary and polished shenanigans, we shall move on to the final stage in a university/college student's life which is...

4. Surrender/Loss of Interest

Yeap, exactly like the ending to X-Men: The Last Stand. The most important thing about this stage is that it is the final stage before feeling the blast of freedom beyond the crippling and prison-like demeanor of university/college. This stage usually happens during the final year of a typical undergraduate's 4 year university tenure. There are a number of  reasons why you have feelings of surrendering and the main ones are:-
  • You are fed up of seeing the same classmates again
  • Tired of having the same teachers teach you different subjects (including the ones you hated during your first three years and gave them a terrible evaluation and thus awkwardly have to see them again), 
  • You are constantly being reminded that you are a single old fart who will graduate without a boyfriend/girlfriend and is most likely going to die alone, 
  • You hate the food (the food starts to taste like sandpaper and you spend your days contributing to your body fat by ingesting McDonalds and Pizza and any fast food)
  • You're tired of the repetitive assignments (and due to this you start to recycle other assignments from other classes with a few alterations here and there)
  • You're this close to flinging your fancy schmancy smartphone at the wall if it ever wakes you up at 7am.
Quite frankly,  that's a longer list than I expected to write but I'll let you find out the rest for yourself. Feelings of losing interest usually accompany each and every one of the aforementioned. Nothing is more interesting to you than finishing everything and getting the hell out of university already. Trust me, after a while, you will sit down and contemplate on everything you miss about the place (even the half assed, Meanie McMean head of Department you despise + that uptight midget Statistics lecturer who hates you for no reason).

Girls and Guys, this post is only a mini rendition of what I went though during my 4 years of and hopefully some of you can relate to that (Don't judge me Ok!) and I wish you all the best if you are still in university (ha di ha ha) or planning to start university (ha di ha ha twice) or have graduated (hot damn! Welcome to the club, foo!). From your friendly neighborhood Sass Mistress, xoxo.

Before I actually leave, I would like to give you a pictorial idea of how you would end up looking like before and after 4 years of college/university.

Trust me: The Owl Knows Best.