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University is like a Fairground Ride

Highs & lows…

It’s true! University is like a fairground ride; daunting, captivating and exhilarating. In fact, as any student will substantiate, university is closely akin to Blackpool’s infamous ‘Big Dipper’. It’s a fast-paced ride full of highs and lows.

Depending on your disposition, it’s normally those long hours of toil, tears and turmoil preceding an essay submission deadline that make up the vast majority of the lows. However, such a state of delirium is usually induced by a combination of self-imposed sleep deprivation, excessive consumption of caffeine-based liquids and the realisation that having “a few quiet drinks” a few days before the deadline, in hindsight, was perhaps not the best idea.

Any self-respecting student experiences this scenario at least once during their university career. However, you can always take heart from the thought that, somewhere, there is some poor soul in a much worse position. As a good friend of mine once put it, “when you have seen the sun rise and set for three consecutive days, begin worrying.”

Of course, university isn’t all about lectures, libraries and late night study sessions. In truth, it can be rather hard to find the time to indulge in a few hours of solitary confinement in the library. Mainly, this is because the word ‘library’ should be replaced with the term ‘social club’.

Library gossip…

Whilst the average student spends many daylight hours ‘working’ in the library, very few of these are actually productive. Library sessions usually entail catching up on the latest scandalous gossip, perfecting the intricate art of designing a paper aeroplane and baiting the librarian to the point of no return; whereupon one is not so politely asked to remove their person from the vicinity (or words to that effect!).

Although such activities are thoroughly reprehensible, they also become highly entertaining when you’re faced with a stack of books, a pad of paper and an impending deadline.

All of the above supposes that you’re actually sober enough to make it out of bed, put on some clothes and trudge several hundred metres down the road to university.

Sitting in an airless and crowded lecture theatre, following an evening of merriment fuelled by cheap and cheerful alcohol, is certainly not the most pleasant of experiences. A word of warning: always remember never to mix the grape with the grain! The ensuing nauseous feeling is similar to riding a merry-go-round that is stuck on full throttle!

Milk, milkround, lemonade, round the corner careers are made…

However, building up your tolerance to alcohol early in the year becomes a vital tool during the ‘milkround’ season, when the top graduate employers will visit universities across the country on their annual recruitment drive. For any student hoping to land a place on a ‘graduate scheme’, attendance at these events is basically obligatory.

Often, there will be free alcohol at these events. Therefore, the real skill lies in being able to keep a clear mind at such evenings, thus minimising the chances of embarrassment, whilst also engaging in a few social drinks. For once, it becomes sensible to take heed of the ‘Drinkaware’ campaign. 

For all the peaks and troughs of student life, there is one constant: not a day passes by that isn’t enjoyable or memorable (albeit sometimes for the wrong reasons!) So, as you embark upon your university career, be sure to keep your arms and legs inside the carriage at all times, or you just might lose a limb!

Written by Chris Snell
Former Law Society President @ Birmingham University

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