University is a funny thing. And by funny I mean odd.
Student life during first year has its very own time zone, two hours behind GMT, with late nights and lie-ins setting us apart from the general public. I was in catered halls which served breakfast and dinner but few of my housemates would make it to the breakfast that finished at half 9. Unless, God forbid, they should have a dreaded 9am lecture. Instead they would laze in bed, sleeping off their hangovers, intent on gaining a full 8 hours (at least) of slumber. Though there were some dedicated breakfast goers. A small cohort of us would congregate each morning, sometimes pyjama clad and bed-headed, to embark on the trek to the food hall, our roaring tummies and the knowledge we had paid in advance for our meals compelling us to rise from warm beds.
University is the time for late nights. For all-nighters, when essay deadlines creep up unexpectedly and the blank computer screen fails to produce 2500 words of its own accord. A housemate has previously uploaded an assignment with a 10am deadline at 9:58, having spent the whole night writing away like a mad woman.
And if nights aren’t spent working they are spent partying. Pre drinks in Exeter begin early. Around half 8 students will start the music and begin drinking games, with supermarket own-brand vodka and lambrini on the drinks menu. In packs we make our way into town to hit the clubs. And after more drinks and dancing another late night is to be had. Tiredness dominates, sleep is a stranger.
In second year the workload increases dramatically and marks actually count! This is a year of contrasts. Deadlines all seem to fall at once, drowning you, suffocating you and making you cry to your mum over Skype (yes, I did do that). Days at the library begin at 9 and finish at 7, when your brain is mush and the characters on the computer screen begin to blur and taunt. You head home to make a quick dinner before working a couple more hours and then collapsing into bed; only to rise early again the next day. It’s a cycle of stress, sleep-deprivation and boredom.
Then deadlines pass, exams finish, and you are free! This is me now, hence why I can spare time to write. And suddenly you don’t know what to do with yourself. It takes a couple of days for your body to fully relax, to shrug off the feeling of urgency, that you should be working, doing something, being productive. But now for fun! Ahead of me is a three-month summer, which I’m going to fill with exciting things I can’t do during term time.