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Guidance for the Naïve Undergraduate - Part One: Becoming A Student - Society's Perception.

03/04/2014 14:24 BST | Updated 31/05/2014 10:59 BST

There are many stereotypes of a student. The belief that we are not as poor as we portray ourselves to be, that our accommodation is a five star luxury paradise, that we consume alcohol and sleep all day, barely bathe, live on takeaways and lead a life of unequalled laziness. When really only a small proportion of that is true, I daren't point out what proportion.They should all be true really because in my humble opinion, stereotyping of students exists for a reason, usually due to them being fiercely accurate. For example, everyone has this idea that scouser's talk like a stubborn bottle of Paracetamol that just won't open and that my friend is because they do.

So is society's perception of a student true?

You could say an element of it is and as a prospective student you are likely to and will be challenged and occasionally attacked on it. For example, I can recall one such episode where I was essentially bullied out of a laundrette because I was a student. It was a Tuesday evening and where I was living at the time there was no tumble dryer facility. Oh and there were three washing machines between three hundred people. So as you can imagine a laundrette quickly became the place to be.

I was in a laundrette that went by the name of 'Posh Wash', which if anything should have warned me that I was not welcome there. As although I was partial to the odd wash, I was not posh. I was in the aforementioned laundrette and having just washed my smalls I was now tumble drying them, as you do. A lady was in there, probably in her late thirties, she was immaculately dressed but with her slippers on and was making conversation about being unsure as to whether she should be washing her 'sexy lingerie' in a public laundrette while her small children look on. After checking how my items were progressing in the drying process, I took a seat on the bench by the window. The lady looked at me and enquired with a sense of intrigue, yet disdain "well, what's your story?" I proudly replied "I am a student".

She looked at me as though I had just allowed a pug to choke on a wine gum in front of her without even attempting to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre. "Oh, one of them eh" she said, "one of what" I naively inquired and at that point she flipped. In a nutshell she went absolutely bananas. "You're a leech" she shouted, the other lady who was waiting for her washing to finish, her jaw formed a small puddle on the shop floor. "You're a bloody leech, a student, don't make me laugh, you're a leech, on me, on everyone I know, on all of us" she became more and more irate, "sponging off me and my tax". At this point the penny had dropped, this was the notorious tax related issue and she clearly had contempt for me and my fellow species.

She then began to slam the machine doors, chucking her basket and her washing everywhere and continuing to mumble to herself , all the while I could not muster to say anything else but "oh I am sorry" before apologising again a moment later with "erm, I don't mean to sponge". If anything, I think she had made a conscious decision to refuse my apologies. She then went quiet. I sat there drowning in the tension before the machine I occupied bleeped, I quickly scooped my garments into my suitcase and declared "goodbye, sorry once again" and promptly left with diluted self-esteem, shock and hopefully all of my underpants.

In the rush, I hadn't had time to spin the drum to double check for stray trunks.

So yes the point of this is that by being a student, people are liable to hate you and verbally abuse you. I cannot guarantee that this will happen whilst you are washing your smalls, but if it does I can only advise you to perpetually apologise until your wash and dry is finished, then leave and go home for a little cry. However, I do have one piece of advice that could maybe suffice in such a scenario as the one just covered. In fact, I shall spoil you with two potential options.

You could...

A) Ignore, remain mute and begin to demonstrate what could be considered sign language

B) Tell them that you are studying medicine and if they were to have a heart attack right now due to all their built-up inner rage, they would be glad of your presence and thus assistance

Or you could as a bonus advice offering ...

C) Simply do nothing, profusely apologise and continue to wash your pants. Like me.

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