Hamish Mackenzie & Camilla Nicholson talk about how to deal with your advisors...
If you are not already, you will soon be awash with several rainforests’ worth of leaflets and booklets giving valuable advice on exactly how you can get the most out of the library’s advice sessions and the most effective way of developing your multicultural interdisciplinary environmentally friendly pasta-frying skills. So at LIVIC, we have decided that you will probably need guidance on how best to deal with this paper-based avalanche that is marching inevitably towards you. First of all, its worth saying that some of the encyclopaedia-length leaflets that you will get are actually worth the read. The civil engineering department are extremely keen on casually letting you know that THIS DEGREE REQUIRES WORK, SO MUCH WORK OH MY GOD YOU MUST WORK. And they’re not wrong, I’m afraid. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have time for anything else. The “Learning to Learn” guide has some genuinely valuable advice for managing your courseworks and tutorial sheets whilst maintaining an ‘active social life’ (woo yeah!). We’re not saying read the whole thing cover to cover and treat it like a Bible, condemning people who chuck theirs away and standing on the Queens Tower steps preaching it to a crowd of bemused freshers who aren’t sure if they’re at a bar night or a lunchtime seminar. We’re just saying don’t assume its full of rubbish.
The other thing distributed by civ eng, which is severely underrated, is the Undergraduate Handbook. Maybe it was that it used to be written in COMIC SANS (noooooooo), but so many of us in our first weeks simply chucked this gem on our desks where it swiftly got lost amongst the paperwork from Ethos, the Health Centre forms and the recipes for pasta bakes our parents handed to us with the advice “but maybe leave out the cup of red wine darling because a glass with dinner should really be the limit for your alcohol consumption”. Little did we know we were discarding a Handbook with a capital H; the handbook to rule all handbooks. In the months that followed, the department would say things like “don’t worry, all the details are in the handbook” and “the full marks breakdown is in the handbook”. Especially when we heard that second one, there was a frantic scramble to find those of us who could locate this mysterious handbook and circulate it amongst everyone. It would be easier, you understand, if everyone just kept the copy they were given in freshers week.
Now to give those non-Imperial survival guides a mention. Student beans is a good one. Going out for dinner? STUDENT BEANS. Cinema? STUDENT BEANS. Hilarious/ridiculous news stories to tell in the union to impress the hotties? Oh oh oh oh STUDENT BEANS BABY. Trust us, we’ve been doing this for 3 years, you need to save from the start . The student loan will come in and you will live a life of luxury and constant partying for a few weeks or so until you realise that you’ve left £100 to last you until Christmas… and don’t forget your family are expecting gifts. Good gifts. What are you going to do? What are you going to say? “Hey mum and dad, can I borrow some money to buy you half-arsed Christmas presents with? What’s that? The grand or so I got from the government? Oh that! Haha. Yeah I spent that on beer. No, not just beer!! God, mum. Cider too. And the occasional cocktail. …well, cosmopolitans and the odd appletini. No mum, I’m not gay. Mum, stop crying… Mum!! This is the 21st century! Its ok to be gay! Wait… Would you judge me if I was gay…?” and before you know it, you’re in a full-blown homophobia debate with your own mother. Its easier just to go on student beans and get stuff on the cheap. Everybody wins.