Harley Gasson: “University: The Time of Our Lives?”

After spending the weekend working my way through what was possibly the worst assignment I’ve ever been given, I thought of all the people who told me four years ago that “University will be the time of your life”. I began to question this momentarily as my Excel spreadsheet threw up more errors than I even thought possible and fun-filled photos were coming up on facebook from my ‘non-uni’ mates antics.

However, after a phonecall to my friend who graduated last year, I came back to the realisation that university life really is amazing. He has a £30K starting salary job at a well-known car company, but his words today were, “urgh I wish I was back at uni!” The things he told me he missed were the mundane to a student, which I guess I just take for granted.

Being a student is inherently linked to having no money. And if there is any way to prove that money isn’t everything, then university is definitely it. We thrive on good deals, cheap drinks and free cheeseburgers at McDonalds. It’s all part of the fun trying to afford little luxuries in life; such as stretching the budget to buy Tesco Finest for just one week. Money just isn’t essential because we are surrounded by some of the best people we have ever met. People from all over the world come to our universities and it’s fantastic to meet people from all walks of life. What’s more, after graduating there is a friend in almost every major city around the UK for you to visit for an alcohol induced re-uni-on.

I feel that moving away from home (typically as far away as possible) is a huge part of university life. Knowing that you can’t just pop home gives you a great sense of independence and also the opportunity to experience a whole new city (or even country!). I moved from Sussex to Swansea, and without going to university here I wouldn’t have a clue about the beautiful Welsh coastline or the constant entertainment provided by the city and its bigger brother, Cardiff. Moving somewhere totally different also gives you the chance to really find yourself, free from judgement. Everybody at university is different. It brings together the most diverse selection of human beings in any one place, and I think that’s something very special.

House parties, foam parties, house trashing, naked antics, house meals, pizza nights, film nights, reunions. I’d like to see you try and do these whilst living at home with your parents. At university it’s quite possible for all of these to occur in the same week.

Yes I basically sleep with my calculator and my bodyclock thinks 4am is a perfectly acceptable time to go to sleep. Yes my overdraft is hovering dangerously on the brink of bankruptcy and yes I may as well be paying my rent to the library. Oh, and I’m almost certain there’s a mouse in my room. But despite all this, I’m really going to miss university life when I leave. I’m going to miss student housing, which quite frankly can be hilarious. I’m going to miss the stress of frantically rushing to get an assignment finished, being able to leave my stuff anywhere in the house and going out on a Wednesday night, spending a tenner and getting very drunk indeed.

So next time you’re stressing to the high heavens about an assignment or trying to stop a leak on the lounge ceiling with a Dominos pizza box, just remember this really is the time of your life. Make the most of it, please. And if you’re reading this and considering going to university, DO IT! It’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do.

Written by the nicest person I’ve ever met, Harley Gasson, a 21 year old Automotive/Motorsport Engineering undergraduate at Swansea Metropolitan University.

Chief Engineer of SMU Motorsport Formula 4 Team.

“Although I wasn’t actually named after the motorbike, my Dad’s name is David. So here I am: Harley, David’s son.”