The writing of this sentence began at 22:33PM. It was completed three hours later after I’d convinced myself that I couldn’t possibly write another word before I took out the bins, rearranged my wardrobe and stood in the shower for the amount of time it takes for my skin to resemble that of 105 year old Rose in Titanic. It was only when I was mid reading the helpline on the back of some mayonnaise that I felt I should sit down and continue writing. Like a bad part of your Freshers Welcome Pack, procrastination is burned into our system the moment of enrollment at university, along with a rubbish flavoured Pot Noodle and Chlamydia. To procrastinate from doing uni work I decided to write an article on the similarities between my university experience as an under-grad and post-grad student instead. The first similarity being, you guessed it, chlamydia. Kidding; procrastination.
We’ve all been there; first lecture. You’re given your assessment date, it’s three months away. ‘Plenty of time’ you tell yourself as you embark on a Netflix binge that lasts two months, three weeks and four days. Leaving you in a blind panic the night before the due date, slugging back a heart attacks worth of Monster – Red Bull cocktail and asking Google if you can get 40% on a paper by submitting only the date and your name (spelled correctly). For some reason, unknown to me, instead of using my time productively to complete work at a calm and stress free rate, I find myself avoiding it at all costs by doing such things as welcoming Jehovah’s witnesses into my home and insisting, with an enthusiasm verging on aggression, that they have another Digestive biscuit and go through the bible just one more time. “Sorry, you lost me a bit during the New Testament, would you mind just starting again from the very beginning please. And do the voices this time. I think it will help.” But let us procrastinate from procrastination onto some other similarities between my undergrad and post-grad student-hood.
Naps are a necessity to getting through the day. That one hour lecture really takes it out of you.
My standard bedtime becomes 2AM. As an undergrad you’re awake, throwing up your JagerBombs and stomach lining. As a post-grad you’re kept awake by the undergrads throwing up their JaberBombs and stomach lining.
I’m still poor. This will stop me from buying washing up liquid for the kitchen but won’t stop me from treating myself to a large, deluxe hot chocolate from Costa for simply typing out the title of my assessment.
I still have to call my parents to ask what I can and cannot put in the dryer. During my undergrad years there were numerous items of clothing coming out of the dryer smaller than when they went in. In reality I was just gaining weight at an exceptional speed from Blue WKD and all you can eat Chinese buffets. Regardless, I am now 29, two stone lighter and still have weekly conversations with my Mother who tells me; ‘No Rhian, you cannot put your umbrella in the dryer without it getting ruined.’
I never iron. As an undergrad the one and only time I touched an ironing board was to us it as a makeshift bat for indoor baseball. The day before coming to university to begin my Masters, Dad asked if I would like him to iron some of my clothes. I told him ‘Dad, if people don’t want to be my friend because my clothes are creased then they don’t deserve my company.’ ‘Quite right darling’ he agreed. Five minutes later I caught him behind the utility room door, ironing my stuff with the quiet urgency of one hiding an ‘I heart Anne Frank’ t-shirt during a Nazi raid. It made no difference to my ability to make friends. I have none.
For many who have matured gracefully into cooking, their meals become the smells that form a seductively beckoning finger and make under grads float on the air like cartoon characters to a pie on a windowsill. I, myself, take pride in my maturing from Cornflakes to Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, however the remainder of my diet remains unchanged from my undergrad years; Just Eat takeaways, dry cereal out of the box (by the fistful), pasta – always misjudged to the point of making so much you could stuff a mattress with it – and, when all else fails, a block of cheese on a fork.
Flatmates. In both my experiences of university my flatmates seem to have fallen under one of these five categories:
⦁ The Stoner – They emerge from their room in a way that wouldn’t look out of place on ‘Stars in Their Eyes’. Clouds of smoke billow around their head and they gleefully exclaim with watery, red eyes that ‘Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…. ordering Dominios.’
⦁ The Food Stealer – You spend all day in lectures, mastering the art of looking focused but actually daydreaming about the tub of ice cream you have in the freezer waiting for you when you get home. Alas, upon arrival, the tub is gone and in its stead is fucking Steve supporting an ice cream stained spoon and a smug grin. You immediately wonder how long it would take to beat someone to death with a cardboard Ben and Jerries tub. In this case, all too quickly.
⦁ The Passive Aggressive Note Writer – They’ll leave a gentle hint for you to clean up after yourself in the kitchen; ‘Sorry about putting your guinea-pig in the blender but don’t worry, I’ve cleaned up the mess so other people can use it 🙂 ‘
⦁ The Mystery – The one who never appears from their room. In a year of living together you will be more likely to bump into Amelia Earhart in the kitchen than you will them. Only the slight shuffles from behind their door indicate that they aren’t a corpse.
⦁ The Mess-iah (thank you) – They will leave their half eaten mac and cheese festering on a plate for two weeks until it resembles something coughed up by a terminally ill cat and smells like death. But, to be fair, the odour could actually be coming from the decomposing body of the Mystery roommate.
Of course there are many other similarities to speak of and a whole deal more differences, a topic that I couldn’t possibly elaborate upon now; Jehovah’s Witness’s are walking past the house and I need to go flag them down.