When I’m drowning in the depths of revision, ploughing through the endless reams of seminar reading, or just sitting like some academically-inclined zombie – staring into space and pointedly pretending that dissertations are something that happens to other people – there is but one thing that can return a smile to my face. Surely, what could be better for my productivity during these weeks of exams, deadlines, and tension? What else could aid my concentration, what could bolster my fraying sanity, better than having a whole bunch of prefresh hovering over my shoulder, like the spectres of questionable UCAS choices past?
Indeed, I cannot think of a better time for the University to hold campus tours. Much like last week’s Guide Dogs visit, the presence of these innocent visitors is sure to have a positive impact on students’ wellbeing. That said, unlike the Guide Dogs these prefresh are not so well-trained – at least, I assume this is why many an offer-holder turns up with their entire extended family in tow. It certainly couldn’t be because their parents don’t trust them to make adequate decisions.
I’ve spent half my morning being stared at critically by a succession of middle-aged people
Surely, at this time when their children are moving towards a period of greater independence in their lives, these parents wouldn’t have come along to try and influence their choices. No, there must be another reason that I’ve spent half my morning being stared at critically by a succession of middle-aged people. If I wanted to be judged by bored family members, I wouldn’t have left the Christmas holidays in such a hurry- suffice to say that having someone else’s mum judging me for procrastinating too is not what I signed up for.
Of course, the sudden feeling that I should be looking like a good example of an ‘Exeter student’ as these tours go by is a welcome distraction from my coursework. What is an Exeter student supposed to look like? Sports stash, blonde hair, armed with several litres of fancy-looking homemade smoothies? One can only hope that these visitors have set their sights on a future involving day-drinking, questionable woolly-jumper choices, and over-caffeination.
I’m led to wonder how many offer-holders have rapidly become offer-decliners after seeing the veritable mess that is my term-time self. Realism, perhaps, is the word of the day, and it goes both ways. Seeing so many hopeful faces reminds me of a time when I too was full of enthusiasm and academic promise. Oh, how times change.