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Confessions of a First Year Student - A Loud and Sloppy Spirit

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My university work load has gotten noticeably heavier this semester. This is a simultaneously great and bad thing.

The great thing is that I am writing every day, which is something I feel I was destined to do ever since I first picked up a muddy stick at the age of three and 'wrote' all over my grandmother's freshly painted garage before blaming it on a crow.

The bad thing is that one of my other favourite things to do is to sit in Lauren's flat, drinking Echo Falls wine and raiding her cupboards for all the food her parents brought up (food she has labelled for "middle class consumption", namely, Green & Blacks chocolate, fresh Fairtrade coffee and black olive tapenade, which is so middle class, a red wobbly line has just appeared under it) but with all the writing I'm doing, I finding it a struggle to do this as often as I'd like.

Saturday night, and Lauren and I are sat in Maria's room (Maria is Lauren's flatmate and my future housemate) reading all the inspirational quotes and pictures blu-tacked to her walls. They say things like, "The lesson I've learnt the most often in life is that you're always going to know more in the future than you know now" and the words "Stop waiting for things to happen. Go out and make them happen" next to a picture of a ecstatic man standing on top of a mountain. It's like sitting in a 3D version of StumbleUpon.

"That one is my favourite," said Maria, pointing to a handwritten piece of paper. Lauren who was face down on the bed in a state of crippling tiredness said in a muffled voice, "What does it say?"

I read; 'Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. -1 Peter 3:3-4'

"I like it," I said.

"Hmm," said Lauren. "I don't know about this 'gentle and quiet spirit' nonsense. I'm pretty sure mine is more 'loud and sloppy'."

This phrase seemed to pretty succinctly sum up my current state at University, not so much from excessive alcohol consumption, but from severe tiredness as I try to cover all aspects of uni life at once, mainly; writing articles, reviews, interviewing, attending lectures and seminars, degree assessments, shorthand AND trying to have the best social life possible. Funnily enough, the balance isn't quite there yet.

It was during last week that we visited one of the most hated and loved club nights at Corp. The fact the name was just one syllable away from 'corpse' was a happy coincidence

Students love Wednesday nights at Corp partly because if you turn up in a shirt and tie, it's free entry. They fundamentally love it is because they sell 'Quad vods', which are so lethal, the bar staff have to make two doubles and then pour it into a pint glass with every order just to get around the health and safety restrictions.

Rumour has it they clean the floors with straight vodka as well because the spirit they buy in is cheaper than bleach. You get the general feel for the place.

One of the reasons why Lauren (and the rest of us) were so tired was because during the night, a series of standard (for us) events played out. Mainly, everyone getting very drunk, stealing inflatable hammers, and at the end of the night, Lorenzo picking up Lauren and then being pushed over so she fell and bruised her leg so badly she had to be carried home.

What with that and the fact that part of our journalism course requires us to sit in a small, if nicely furnished room, for two and a half hours listening to a scrutiny meeting and trying really, really hard to read back our shorthand, it isn't really a surprise why we are finding it hard to stay awake, let alone keep up with all the articles we have rather naively offered to write in a couple of hours notice.

If I'm honest, I'm really pleased I have so much practical stuff to do for my degree. It makes me feel as though I'm actually working towards something real rather than sitting in my bedroom staring blankly at a text-book.

This attitude can't be said of everyone at university.

This morning on the way to a lecture, I got caught behind three first year lads who spent the entire twenty minute walk discussing the pros of eating Golden Nuggets in comparison to Cheerios. It took all my will power not to force-feed them my bank statement with the £9000 emblazoned on the side whilst screaming empty Nick Clegg promises at them.

I decided this week would be better. I'd not take on so many articles, get my shorthand practise going again and only go out a couple of times a week.

But so far, I have managed to get myself three write ups for newspapers, an album review, shorthand exam practise and am planning to go to Corp at least twice this week. And it's only Tuesday. Bertie says this makes me a 'bad ass'. I can only hope this is a compliment.

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