The magic of summer had previously escaped me before this year’s wonderful season of sun, fun and barbecues. I was never a girl who liked to go for a dip at the beach; I don’t really like ice-cream; I apply sun block religiously (which leaves me with a lovely, pasty complexion all year round) and hate the sweltering Maltese heat. My usual plan for summer is to leave the Maltese Islands as soon and as much as possible for cooler, greener pastures. In short, I am generally not the biggest fan of summer.
However, this year, by the end of May, the Law of Obligations had crushed me into a shadow of my former self, and I became a pitiful, whimpering student, yearning for the long stretches of freedom that summer had to offer. On top of that, I was ready to thoroughly squeeze the life out of this year’s summer.
And that is exactly what I did. I made sure that my summer would be chock-full of exciting trips and fulfilling projects. I took part in Evenings on Campus, I had a couple of part-time jobs, I caught up with a bunch of old friends, and visited lots of weird and wonderful countries.
To the surprise of my nearest and dearest, I was also a frequent visitor to the beach, and managed to build up a slight tan – what I like to call ‘golden brown’ (but everyone disagrees with me). I embraced stripy bikinis, salty beach hair and sticky ice-cream. Summer also offered a countless amount of festivals to attend, and I even stayed up extra late to lie on a blanket at Dingli Cliffs to watch a meteor shower.
Now it’s the end of September, and I am exceptionally proud of my success of a summer and raring to start another year at the University of Malta. This article here is what will hopefully be your feel-good page on The Insiter, full of my quirky little ramblings, and a few enlightening tips sprinkled in for good measure.
This month, it’s a new academic year at UoM. Whether you’re a fresher or an already seasoned student, the new year always brings new exciting possibilities and new fears and worries. Freshers might be full of nerves about the vast amount of new people they’re meeting every day, and the strange, new system they need to fit into. Clashing timetables, out-of-print textbooks and seemingly non-existent lecture rooms are all part of a university student’s life. I’m in my fourth year at UoM, and I still look at the venues of my lectures sometimes and think, “Am I even on the right side of Malta?”
Lecturers will almost immediately plunge you into piles of work, but as long as you keep your head above water academically, you will have lots of time to explore the other aspects of campus life.
– First of all: Fresher’s Week. Embrace the fliers and the freebies, don’t be afraid to talk to as many people as possible, and sign up to any organisation that strikes your fancy; you’re sure to find something that interests you enough and to which you will be willing to devote your precious free time.
– The start of a new academic year is a very exciting time for stationery lovers (like yours truly). Keep a notebook with you at all times. It’s great to jot down important dates, scribble a pretty girl’s mobile phone number, or sketch a caricature of that eccentric lecturer.
– Stop saying “if only” and start saying “I will”. Take a Degree Plus unit (there are scores to choose from), change your student lifestyle into a healthier one, and make the lives of those around you brighter and better. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” (Plato)
– Read a novel. Make the most of a sunny day and the green areas at university by settling down on a bench and losing yourself in another world. And you might also want to get into those must-read books that your lecturers are always on about…
(This article originally appeared in the first edition of The Insiter, Vol. 11)