The First Year Experience: What Have I Learned?

 
 

Nearly halfway through term, Lucy Montague-Moffat is learning how to cope with curry leaks, torrential rain, and annoying questions

The question I have been asked numerous times in the past few weeks is: “How are you getting on in college?” It’s one of those unanswerable questions that proper adults always ask at annoying times. Christmas is usually the worst for them, with aunts, uncles and weirdly old cousins constantly enquiring, “How is everything going for you?”

What sort of answer are they looking for? “Well I’ve been trying to stop sleeping around so much but it’s hard when the boy is offering a free taxi home. Hopefully I can get out of the habit in the new year.” The thing is that they actually don’t care about your life, all they want is a shrug and a quick “Fine, thanks.”

So when people have been asking me about my first few weeks in college I have been trying to avoid launching into a dramatic monologue about all the adventures and ‘mad times’ that have happened so far. Like the other day, I contemplated buying a mini bottle of wine from the campus restaurant and then decided not to. Mad.

I have been keeping my answer short and to the point. For example, if someone in work asks me how it’s going, I reply with “It’s better than being here!” usually far too loudly and accidentally within earshot of a manager. Or if it is a parent inquiring I try to sound like I am working really hard at my studies: “It’s going well but I’m just so tired, I was in the library for like two hours today.”

However, the last few days I have been thinking back over the past few weeks and wondering how I am genuinely getting on. I am a little bit worried about the whole thing because when I think about it, like really think hard, I can’t pin point one new piece of information that I have learnt yet. This can’t be a good thing. I have been doing everything right though. I have attended my lectures and have listened a large amount of the time.

I was distracted the other day in a lecture when I was sure I could see someone in the corner of my eye staring at me. I didn’t look back at them straight away but sat there wondering why I was of such interest to this person. Was I looking particularly attractive this morning? I was sweating profusely from my rushed cycle into college and I hadn’t time to put any makeup on due to duvet difficulties. Sometimes I literally get trapped in it, it’s not my fault! But maybe I was rocking that fresh-faced, shiny look and with this newfound confidence I looked around to see who my not so secret admirer was. It turned out to be someone fast asleep who happened to be turned in my direction so the lecturer couldn’t tell they were having a nap. I leant a lot in that lecture, but nothing about the actual module.

I have been learning a lot of life lessons actually. For instance, I now know that I need to do liquid tests on lunch boxes before I fill them with vegetable Korma and throw them into my bag. After a vigorous cycle (that’s my general style of cycling, vigorous. This directly relates to my general cycling facial expression: severe squinting) I opened my bag to find a curry bomb had exploded everywhere, most upsettingly all over my €70 textbook. Amazon won’t be happy about that when I try to sell it next year. I sat on the floor in front of my locker trying to mop up the mess with a piece of paper as students around me clearly enjoyed the 9am blast of Korma aroma wafting around the hall. Yum.

On the subject of spillages, I have learned the hard way not to trust the plastic takeaway coffee lids. I was sitting at the lake alone having a lovely time with my coffee and yet-to-be-soiled €70 book completely unaware that every time I took a sip a huge amount of it was leaking on to my lap. I had to walk around for the rest of the day looking as though I had incontinence issues, which as you can imagine, is great when constantly meeting new people.

I have also decided to start carrying around my helmet for the first lecture of the day so people understand why I am either panting, sweating or completely soaked, and more than likely all three. I was caught in the rain so badly a few mornings ago that I literally left a puddle behind me after every lecture, and it wasn’t because of my rumoured incontinence issues.

I may not be learning anything about my subjects but I do seem to be learning valuable life lessons, which I feel are much more important. And if worse comes to worse and my brain decides to completely reject education, well at least I know I could be a Chinese takeaway delivery girl because, if I have learned anything the past few weeks, it is how to efficiently transport a curry.

Read: Lucy Montague Moffat’s second ‘First Year Experience’ entry

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