Eight lessons I have learned outside the lecture theatre

Eight lessons I have learned outside the lecture theatre

Courtney Butcher, a third year marketing and psychology student, shares eight lessons she has learned outside of the lecture theatre during her time at Victoria University of Wellington.

1. Say yes. To watching Game of Thrones at 11 o’clock at night. To going on a tramp the weekend before a Monday morning exam. To going for a walk to the bottle store. Say yes to the things that will make you feel connected to the people you love. But, remember to say no when you need to.

2. There is always a moment. A moment where you realise who your true friends are and when you realise the person you want to be. My moment was when a group of girls asked me to go to a party on another floor in the hall but didn’t invite my other friends. I was in a standstill where I could choose to: 1) go with them, or 2) to stay with the people who had been there for me when I felt all alone. I began walking with those girls, paused, and turned around. In that moment I chose true friendship and I chose to be true to myself. Recognise your moment and make the right choice for you.

3. Get a job. Or volunteer… Just. Do. Something. I have learned more about my field of study from working in that industry than I have from studying it. That is not to say that doing well in your classes isn’t important. In fact, one of my job opportunities came from doing well in my 200-level papers. So study hard. But do something else, too. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that too many people come out of university with just a degree. Get something on your CV. Get passionate about something. There is so much to get out of uni and so many people to learn from.

4. In saying that, don’t over commit yourself (and make use of some sort of calendar). Because there is nothing worse than working multiple jobs and having three of them on the same day, as well as brunch with a family friend, and then accidentally double booking yourself after sleeping in because you are just too damn tired. Just save yourself the trouble and use a calendar. I used the VUWSA diary for my first two years at uni (please bring them back @VUWSA), but I also recommend the iPhone Calendar app. Figure out what is on the border of ‘just right’ and ‘too much’. I find that the perfect combination is a mix of challenging and comfortable. 

5. Talk to your lecturers. They are actually really cool people. Keep your eye out for the one who makes you laugh or the one who makes you not want to keep checking your phone all the time. Identify them and make it your mission to have a conversation with them. Not only will it allow you to ask questions about your course, but it might even spark a passion in the subject in a way you never thought possible. There are few better things than having conversations with passionate and experienced people.

6. Buses can never be trusted. Always give yourself an extra 15 minutes to get anywhere. I’ve had buses never show up. I’ve had buses be ten minutes late. I’ve had buses drive straight pass me because they’re too full. Never. Trust. Buses. And make sure you get a snapper card so you can get the student discount.

7. Finding a good flat is difficult. And I don’t just mean that finding somewhere to live in a city where there is a housing crisis is difficult. I mean finding good flatmates and a good vibe is difficult. I’ve had a flatmate who was racist and rude and made me not want to go home in the evenings. I’ve had a flatmate who at the end of a tenancy left a fridge full of rotting food which I had to clean out by myself. So when you have flatmates who make you ugly laugh, and want to hear about your day, and make you breakfast in the morning because they know you won’t eat otherwise… appreciate them like nothing else. Finding a good flat is difficult but not impossible. Just be sure to make careful decisions, and try to avoid going into a flat just for convenience.

8. You grow the most when you put yourself out of your comfort zone. It sounds very cliché, I know. But the moments where I feel I have grown the most are those in which my heart was beating so fast out of my chest and I felt my knees trembling. All it takes is for you to just push through that feeling. Ten seconds later you’re fine, but you’ve done it. You’re capable of more than you think you are.

Courtney Butcher is a third year marketing and psychology student, is involved in the Victoria Plus Programme, tutors for the School of Marketing and International Business, and is currently interning at Whittaker’s Chocolate NZ.

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