Embrace the ‘uncool’
Going to university is such a fantastic opportunity to turn over a fresh new leaf in our lives, regardless of whether we move across the country (or even the world) to study, or stay where we are as I did. As with any empty page, there are so many possibilities of what you could do; you can style, decorate and shape it however you want. For many of us perhaps it’s the first time we can do this completely by ourselves without any input from anyone; parents and whoever else. We’ve all lived at least eighteen years before we enter the brave new world of university, and perhaps there are some things in our lives that have become stale or could do with a healthy kick up the backside. Some of these things are old habits all our own; others are down to what our peers constantly tell us that we are.
In our high school years, I’m sure many of us blindly accepted our peers’ opinions about what we were like, or, more to the point, what we should be like, in our desperate, hormone-fed and angsty attempts to be popular. Even if we didn’t accept their pushy views, I wouldn’t be surprised if we became paranoid about it underneath regardless! Teenagers are always so hypersensitive about, and convinced that they know, what is “cool” and what isn’t, and no doubt many won’t hesitate in telling you if they don’t think you fit in! I’m pretty sure every school had the divide between the “cool kids” and the “nerd herd” (the latter of which I was a proud member!); if your school was normal then I’m sure the “cool kids” made their opinions pretty clear on a regular basis!
Let me assure you, fellow “nerd herd” dwellers, if you’re worried or fed up as you contemplate your next steps, that these irritating days will soon disappear once you go to uni. Everyone starts from zero. If you’re lucky enough during your time at uni, the people you meet will have grown up and you’ll never see this battle between ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’, and that’s what makes university such a fabulous experience. It’s highly unlikely that, or at least quite difficult for, anyone you meet to be able to tell which side of the old high school divide that you sat on, and even if they did, it wouldn’t stop them from getting to know you. The unlikeliest of friendships can happen. If you do happen to come across people who are still prone to mocking ‘difference’ in their late teens and early twenties then my advice would be to steer well clear of them! How out of place is the proverbial loudmouth ‘cool kid’ in a place full of people of all races, religions and backgrounds? Most of us only have three years at uni, and trust me, you don’t want to be wasting a single day with the wrong people! Anyone else with any sense will do the same, and they are the people you should stick with.
The general attitude at university is so directly opposite to our teenage school years – the loudmouthed, bolshy and judgemental suddenly become the target of disapproving eyes… they become the ‘losers’; the frowned upon. No matter what those people would try and have you believe, there is no ‘cool’, and more importantly, no ‘uncool’. Individuality and freedom of expression is valued more strongly than anything else; it’s everyone’s chance to become someone, and everyone’s who worth speaking to respects everyone’s opportunity. Everyone’s aware of everyone’s rights. You get trousered in the student bar every Friday? Fair enough; not my cup of tea personally, but each to their own. You’d rather stay in with pizza and Crash Bandicoot marathons on a Friday? Hell, that’s awesome, when can I get in on that?
At uni, be you; not what people think you should be! I cannot stress this enough! Your confidence will go through the roof when you realise that you feel you have nobody to answer to for what you do, particularly the things you think aren’t that cool, and you’ll only feel better for it. So, stick new batteries in your game of Operation and dust off your old Pokémon cards; you never know, you mind find that “cool kid” you would have despised in your school days is looking for someone to share in doing the same thing.