I didn’t intend for this blog to be about my university experience, but I find that a lot of mistakes are being made by the people around me, especially girls, and especially where relationships are concerned.
One of those mistakes is feeling like since you’re at the tertiary level now, you can basically drop your guard, your expectations and your standards, to settle for any passing Joe who might compliment your hairdo. Ladies, please, nuh dweet.
Part of the reason why you won’t find the restrictive high school rules at a university is that administrators ultimately believe they are dealing with adults. As you may notice, you’ll actually have ‘adults’ taking notes beside you in class – as in, people who know what it means to have a 9-5, bills to pay, pickney fi feed, etc. In short, responsible people who really don’t have time for the childish flirtations you previously enjoyed at the secondary level. Being an adult at university means you now have this weird enlightening experience of finally understanding what the word ‘priority’ means, and how to apply it in life.
But (for a girl) the one thing that will draw you back from keeping your head on your shoulders and your hair on your head is it being tangled up in a young man’s fist.
In Jamaica, it’s clear that a lot more females attend the University of the West Indies as opposed to the University of Technology and vice versa, so since these schools are literally neighbours, in some cases, girls from UWI may choose to look over the fence for more options. But as a fresh high school graduate, the temptation is even greater when you’re exposed to a daily eye-feasting of well toned muscles, clean cuts, smart outfits and maybe a little bling. If you take the student bus, which is a service shared by students of both universities, it’s even worse. All too quickly you’re a naive high school graduate who hasn’t gotten used to college life yet, but thinks this guy who’s (probably) way ahead of you, is a safe option (because he’s experienced already so him can show yuh how things go). Before you know it, your focus on every lecturer’s face shimmers and transforms into his, di semester done, you’re blank in exams and yuh fail everything. High school habits. Again, nuh dweet.
It will be hard to resist though because you’ll hardly find a lecturer who’ll waste time to tell you to cross your legs and sit up straight. There’s no guidance councillor to advise you against being in a relationship until you know you’re ready (actually there is but with all this newfound freedom, you ain’t gonna have time for no guidance councillor) and basically no one to stop you from fornicating on campus. Part of being considered an adult is being allowed to do as you please because only adults can make their own decisions. Don’t think though, that that automatically means you should finally be the leggo beast your parents worked so hard to keep you from being.
It is still ok to be careful, to focus on work, and nothing is wrong with being single throughout your tertiary life. It’s only mostly 3 years, and those will fly by so quickly, you’ll be shocked outta your mind. You need the time to cope with how different things are before letting down all of your hair.
If, by chance, you’re actually starting university with a significant other, that’s even more tricky. You’ll both be exposed to a new way of life that might have you pulling in opposite directions of the leash. But being responsible at this age also means being able to acknowledge that you didn’t honestly come to university to bicker or get caught up in the hype surrounding your status. It means being able to cut ties (if necessary) and focus on studies.
Funny enough, I have a friend who is older than me but started UWI a year after I did. Though he’s more experienced, I did warn him to avoid a relationship, at least until he’s used to things, because despite knowing what being responsible and knowing what having a 9-5 feels like, one’s frame of mind will alter when in a tertiary school setting. Of course he forgot that advice, ended up in a relationship with someone who was not only fresh outta high school but very caught up in the hype of campus status, and basically didn’t do as well in his studies as we both knew he could have done. That kind of distraction is both unhealthy and costly. If he failed anything because of it, he would have had to pay to do over that course and I’m sure that girlfriend wouldn’t have contributed to the bill.
That said, be very wary of your decisions and please, give yourself time to adjust before jumping headlong into things. All the best.