That 9:30 Lecture

The other day I mentioned that my niece – who’s 18 – has started university this week in Belfast. (She’s at Queen’s.) It’s her first extended time away from home without her parents around. I believe her previous “separation” record was when she was 15: she had flown with us – uncle and aunt – for two weeks in New York and in Florida, just us three.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a pencil and back to class text.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a pencil and back to class text.

If you are just starting out, university will seem unfamiliar and maybe at times intimidating. You are thrown back largely on yourself for perhaps the first time. Within days, though, trust me, it will all start to make sense.

As a former lecturer, I remember Septembers. I used to get all nervous myself, too. This time of year I always recall how the first weeks are stressful for them, too:

Excerpt from "Passports." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports.” Click to expand.

If you’re not a “fresher,” but are simply returning for yet another semester, have a good term as well.

One piece of advice I will offer from having sat not only in the student’s chair where you are now, but also from having stood at the front of the room looking at one hundred of you and about to attempt to lecture you in politics or history: Whether you are a “fresher,” or just going back again for yet another semester, try to talk to as many of your new classmates as possible.

Uh, before and after class, that is. Not while the professor is speaking! πŸ˜‰

Excerpt from "Frontiers." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Frontiers.” Click to expand.

It’s too easy to huddle with the same “safe” friends all the time. Try to avoid doing that. You’re not going to make life-long friends with everyone, of course, but you never know who else you’ll encounter and like, and who may like you in return, unless you make the effort.

So have a good Tuesday. Oh, and that 9:30 lecture? Don’t groan. It’s not that early. Come on, you can make it to that. πŸ™‚

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