There are some things you just should not say to a student. Not now during Fresher’s week and certainly not during the height of exam season.
Whichever state you find a student in do not, in any circumstances, say any of the following.
‘Life of a student, eh, all play and no work huh?.’
Just because we are a student don’t assume we are work-shy alcoholics. Yeah we like a drink and yes we appear to have a lot of free time. But those stereotypical binger students don’t tend to be students for long.
‘Those three years will fly by.’
Speaking as a final year student I can tell you that the outcome will be one of two things. Firstly if they are first years, they probably won’t believe you and tell you it is way off. If it’s a second or third year however, you are likely to be met with floods of tears. Especially if you follow that remark with…
‘So what are your plans after Uni?’
I’ll let you into a little secret, we don’t know. Even those who say they have a goal in mind are terrified of leaving education. We are ever aware that the slightest rock or bump can set us ricocheting off course to realms unknown. Some nights I wake up in a sweat at the thought of entering the job market, worse even than spiders.
‘When do your exams start/Bet you’re revising hard.’
We know exams are coming believe me. They are the ever present shadow following us around. Yes we are revising too, I should hope. Also exams aren’t even the only evaluations you know. There are also the dreaded essays; these beasts come with referencing the final task that always brings the cold sweats.
‘Getting that student loan must be really exciting. How much do you get again?’
Not a lot believe me, especially after you slice off rent payment and buying the reading lists. What little we do have left drags itself to possibly covering our food and drink. This should also cover why I appear to have lost weight and why my clothes seem to be mostly holes.
If you do end up saying any of these there is one thing you could say that may save you…
‘Bet you’re having fun though.’
This could go one of two ways. The worst way that you have hit the nerve and the specimen in front of you, at best, implodes leaving a pile of ash. But most likely our faces will light up and we will obstruct your ear canals with vibrant tales of adventure.
Just don’t expect much talk of lectures…