My Dearest Freshmen,
By now you have been treated to a glimpse of what your first few months or first semester of matriculation will be like. The fashion advice, the academic advice, the tissue paper-‘chope’ing techniques at the Deck and what have you. I am here to make your university experience much ‘brighter’. They say the first year is the honeymoon year…Really? Perhaps it is sweet only in its innocence. But tell me what is sweet about not knowing where your lecture or tutorial venue is, not knowing how to use your library card, being traumatized by your senior’s dark perspectives (such as the one I’m writing now) on the university experience?
Then comes your second year. At this time you should already be familiar with academic life. That prepares you for the third year. Some time between the second and third year you’re thinking about going for an overseas internship or an exchange programme. Ah yes…nothing should excite you more than the thought of bragging to the world that you were by yourself in another continent or region for a semester. Been there, done that. A smell of sterility and uniformity greets you once you return to NUS. So does the excitement of seeing digits referring to other students’ grades float in the atmosphere.
I’ve been rambling on in a somewhat light-hearted manner. This is where it gets serious; the dreaded 4th year. Expect to experience a contradiction of feelings. Being anxious about graduation as you have not found a job yet vs feeling soulless having gone through the same university routine for four years, hence wanting to graduate as soon as possible. YES THAT’S RIGHT, THAT JADED FEELING. Life at this stage abounds with assignments and class presentations. A conveyor belt of work rotates before your very eyes. You might even begin to question why you’re in university, or who knows, why do I exist? To write an ‘A’ grade assignment which I know I won’t take to my grave? Surely not. If you’re wondering at this stage whether university prepares you for the real world, I don’t blame you. That’s just a way of dealing with the jadedness.
4th year is still a long way to go for you impressionable freshmen but a little advice from the old guard is warranted. Think of the end in mind. No, not necessarily the fact that you’ll be able to stand in front of the “I WAS HERE” sign at the UCC and throw your graduation hats up in the sky but the fact that you’ll never have to worry about the abominable bell curves, the six to eight mini heart attacks you will suffer from checking your phones at 7 in the morning (assuming you’re in Singapore) for the previous semester’s results. Never again. Encountering the feeling of being jaded may not be a choice. Staying jaded is.