As a seasoned life do-er and apparently mature aged student, university is a very different experience for me than it is for most of my classmates; a tribe of young and fresh faced humans who have graduated in the last year or so. A majority of them seem to be deep in University culture- studying 3-5 days a week, maybe working one or two, partying together every weekend and subsidising the crazy cost of text books and tequila with the Student Allowance offered up by MyGov- a sum that completely kept me afloat during the first two degrees I attempted, and which is a blessing to all who can receive it.
The main sook-inducing aspect of not fitting into the above group is the good old feeling like an absolute left out (#throwbacktoprimaryschool). It’s not only that, actually- its the choice to not have the time or energy to put into solid friendships and nurturing the 24/7 lifestyle that can come along with study. That’s smart, sure- go to uni, work butt off, leave uni, live actual life, rinse and repeat- but sometimes it can feel a little glum. Here’s how to deal.
Make friendly with a bunch of different people, without the squad thing.
This may seem counter intuitive to everything that I’ve said above, but it’s not about being BFF’s with anyone in particular; it’s about giving everyone the time of day. Have a chat to some of the people doing the same course as you, see how they’re going and what they’re all about and tada, lovely acquaintance who you can sit next to in class without being pressured to make plans with. Go to the same coffee place every day (Urban Paddock Co is my revered local) turns into genuine smiles and a little bit of familiarity, as does talking to the library staff when you want to find a book instead of using the computer. It’s the silly things that count.
Find a silver lining.
Maybe there’s a room above the law library with a killer view, or a burger that the Tav does that you see in your dreams. If you have something to look forward to as you grind through your lecture blocks, life will be blissful and Uni won’t seem like a task.
Reconnect with old mates.
Chances are that if you’re studying near where you went to high school, and you’ve graduated in the last ten years or so, there are bound to be some people on campus that you’ve spent time with in the past. Check on Facebook or just keep your eyes peeled, and embrace the opportunity to get to know people casually now that you’re probably a bit less of a douchebag than you (read: we all) were in highschool!
Do the damn coursework.
Seriously, there is no lamer feeling than “I had a three hour gap between lectures today so I turned on Netflix and watched six episodes of Friends that I’ve seen four times each and whoops my first assessment was due yesterday.” I say this with confidence because I know. Just do it, and feel pretty slick that you’re possibly not going to fail (yay!)
Don’t forget your headphones.
Download Spotify, plug those babies in and walk everywhere quickly like you’re in a hurry to meet all of your friends (when really, you’re rushing to the carpark before your ticket runs out, and driving to your full time job / housework / children / puppy / actual responsibilities / wine.)
Eventually, accept that you’re going to make friends.
They don’t have to be future bridesmaids or godparents, nor someone that you’ll spend Sunday afternoons with; they will, however, be wicked fun when you let yourself get talked into going on a pubcrawl or ten, and will make your life a little bit easier for the next 3-5 years. Until then, refer to the above list- and remember that you’re some hella schmick company.