You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So, stay out late. Go out on a Tuesday with your friends when you have a paper due Wednesday. Spend money you don’t have. Drink ’til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does
– Tom Petty
It’s been said a thousand times but I’m repeating it here: university is the best time of your life. I like to think that things will only get better, but as it is, uni life is pretty sweet.
Being at university here in Lausanne just seems to add that extra touch of unpredictability to my days. I wake up every morning not knowing what to expect. Take yesterday, for example. I had just planned on going to my morning classes, having lunch with a friend as per our usual Monday routine, then going home and studying. However, a study break in the library turned into a rather disastrous attempt at riding two to a bike (I don’t even know how to ride a bike alone) after running into another friend on campus. We enjoyed a pretty backdrop of autumn leaves at least, and had passed from the staring, crowded canteen area to a more secluded spot before we fell to a heap on the floor. In the evening, on the way back from dumping my laundry into a dryer, I got caught up in an impromptu trip for late-night ice-cream with a group of guys from my residence, who are pretty well-versed in the hot spots in town and friendly with the locals, not to mention genuinely cool and chilled-out.
It’s the spontaneous decisions to go out on the town when you’re already halfway into your pyjamas, the unplanned outings, the chance encounters, the split-second invitations and decisions to go and do something crazy that make university life such an adventure.
University is intense, there’s no denying it. A mix of hard partying and hard studying. Everything is accelerated, magnified and more vivid than in normal life. Brand new romances blossom suddenly, age-old ones crumble by Christmas. Anyone who has started a relationship at uni, especially if you’re living in halls, especially if you’re both in the same halls, will know. It is INTENSE. Things move at the speed of light, and predictability is the last word on anyone’s lips.
You’re constantly broke, yet dispensing of your money on non-essential little luxuries. You stay up too late, spend too much time on facebook, daydream about that cute European boy you met when you should be studying, spend an entire Sunday just on laundry and dinner. On exchange, you’re living just for you, your friends, and fun times. Everyone knows everyone, or will do soon enough, and there is always something going on. Oh, and there’s your course as well.
The real learning doesn’t always happen in the lecture theatre or the seminar room, though. Trying to avoid coining the term “university of life” here, but an exchange year is frankly wasted if you spend your whole time studying and none of it exploring, getting to know people from all over the world, and pushing yourself waaay out of your comfort zone.
This post reflects not just mine, but all my friends’ uni experiences. If you’re reading and nodding along in agreement, then you truly have lived the student life. Enjoy it while you can, kiddos. To re-iterate Mr Petty: the work never ends, but college does.