What I Wish I’d Known Before Uni: Guardian contribution

Using the powers of social media, Twitter in particular, I managed to blag a contribution into a Guardian article today.  After seeing the journalist tweet that they needed to speak to current students about what they wish they’d known before coming to University, I tweeted back and emailed a small, lighthearted snippet that evening.  It arrived in print in the Education Supplement and online this morning and can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/may/17/university-guide-student-advice?INTCMP=SRCH

What arrives in print and online has, of course, been edited down, so I thought I’d post my original response on my blog.  I’ve received a few comments today from disgruntled Shackelton boys who I lived with in Halls.  I do apologise chaps, in true journalistic style, a few points made may have been slightly exxagerated for effect…

Hindsight, as I tell myself when I’m approaching an essay deadline, is a wonderful thing. If only I’d thought to start this earlier, if only I’d known this before Uni.

But as well as wishing I’d foreseen my 3am coffee and chocolate digestive addiction before coming to University, I also wish I’d known the following:

  • Societies Fairs are there to steal the beginnings of your student loan.  The bombardment of sweets, pens and stickers are just a ploy on behalf of hungry society committees to get you to pay annual membership fees.  To say that joining all of the drama societies in first year – and parting with lots of pennies – is a regret, would be an understatement; if only I had known that only the ‘Drama Kids’ actually got into the plays.
  • I also wish I’d known what a class shock University would be, perhaps just so that I could have prepared more.  Living in the most expensive halls merely for an en-suite bathroom meant that losing my South London (ish) accent would have to happen very quickly.  And as the only one in my flat of eight without a ‘Gap Yah’ behind me and a Private School on my personal statement, perhaps I would have fitted in better in the cheaper halls – the boys were better looking in those anyway…
  • I suppose the biggest advice I wish I’d had before coming to University would be that everything would be alright in the end, and that if it wasn’t alright, then it wasn’t the end.  And I wish that someone had told me it would all go so fast.  And that spending hours making vodka jelly never, ever works.


Filed under Birmingham, Life, Media, University

5 responses to “What I Wish I’d Known Before Uni: Guardian contribution

  1. James Bunting

    Exaggerated for effect? Or just plain quoted? Honestly, talk about salt in the wound, Shires!

    Aside from that, you make some acutely insightful points.

  2. Interesting article Victoria, I too had an article published in The Daily Telegraph on a similar topic not so long ago…

    I too was shocked at the class situation upon my arrival at University. Having chosen to attend a reputable Redbrick institution, I was appalled to find myself in residence with (in)comprehensibly schooled scoundrels. I was under the impression that choosing the most expensive halls meant spending time with ‘rich’ characters. Alas, this was not to be.

    Having done my bit to solve world poverty in Uganda during my year out, I was hoping this was not going to be the end of my cultural enlightenment. However I found many fellow scholars to have barely traveled beyond their state school ‘catchment area’ – one’s housemaster failed to mention this.

    Furthermore, the frigid and uptight nature of said peers would have perhaps been better suited to a more distant homeless shelter, where they could no doubt put into use their pre-existing bus pass in order to travel to campus.

    Always insightful to hear other people’s views.

  3. Hi Iain, always glad to see comments so thank you for taking the time to read my post.

    Sorry to hear of your shock at living with ‘(in)comprehensibly schooled scoundrels’, your experience certainly doesn’t seem as light-hearted as mine. Mine wasn’t necessarily a bad experience, my comment merely suggests that I noticed some class differences when I came to University that I had never come across before; perhaps as a result of me attending the same school for over ten years, or perhaps as a result of the good old state school stereotype that of course limits me from travelling beyond my catchment area, as you suggest.

    I struggled to recognise whether this was a genuine post as I couldn’t find your article on The Daily Telegraph, or your name on Surrey Golf or etoncollege.com. I should perhaps direct you to my ‘How To Make Yourself Googleable’ post if you are likely to continue your interest in commenting and blogging, it may be a great help in establishing your name in the social media world.

  4. I wish there was a ‘like’ button for Vicky’s response. Haha!

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