Some things about university life you just can't know until you've got there.
Or can you? We asked some of our speakers and writers to tell us what they wish they'd known before stomping the ground to graduation.
Here's the third WIWIK (or 'what I wish I'd known'... slick, right?).
The 'rah' contingent by Alicia Roberts (English Literature @ Bristol)
Before I started university I’d never before encountered the phenomenon known as ‘rahs’.
I wasn’t naïve, but had mistakenly prepared myself for meeting hordes of charming young publicly-educated aristocratic types, when in fact the true face of the British public school was a lot closer to the common or garden chav than I had banked on.
My first few weeks at university passed, and I had met none of the foppish, affected, charming-yet-socially awkward males and their pashmina-donning female counterparts that I had expected to encounter.
I began to think that my University’s reputation as somewhat of a Mecca for the alumni of major public schools was a myth, perhaps put about by students seeking to excuse the fact that Bristol had rejected them by putting it down to their alleged public school bias.
Unbeknown to me, the public school contingent were there all right, but had a natural herding instinct that kept them below my radar for at least my first few months at university.
True, I had noticed the odd plummy accent popping up in classes and tutorials, but assumed that these kids only sounded posh in comparison to my (painfully) regional accent.
It took me about six months at university to discover this strange new species of student.
Membership of this gang wasn’t about common interests, it was all down to which school you’d attended.
I came to realise this after being asked this question for the umpteenth time. How can it possibly matter, I thought as I tried in vain to describe my tiny Welsh comprehensive school to handsome Ermanno, recent alumnus of the notorious St Paul’s Boys.
There was a strange costume worn by this particular tribe.
The girls were blonde, tanned to the extreme and worshipped at the altar of the Ugg boot. But no mere footballer’s wives wannabes these: they accessorised the look with what can only be described as pyjama bottoms, padded gilets (the like of which I had last seen on middle-aged farmers) and hair so artfully backcombed that it would put Amy Winehouse to shame.
The boys had a similar uniform: gravity defying tresses teamed with the ubiquitous Jack Wills pyjama bottoms and hoodies proudly advertising the fact that they’d graduated from X or Y jaw-droppingly expensive public school the year before.
Actually make that two years previously, to account for the years soul-searching they spent in Goa, Mexico or South America courtesy of the bank of Mummy and Daddy.
So why do I wish I’d know about the rah before I’d come to university?
Because it would have saved me a good two years or so of social anxiety and vain, misguided attempts at emulation.
After much meditation I found that the old adage is true; a bit of nepotism in the ruthless hunt for work experience aside (think ‘Daddy owns The Times, they’ll have to give me the job’) university is the great equaliser and, as a savvy friend once suggested to me, rahs are a bit like small but slightly vicious looking animals: they’re just as scared of you as you are of them.
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We're always interested to hear from talented young writers, so if you'd like to feature as a guest author then hit us up for more details.