Confessions of a Third Year

I am a third year university student without the faintest clue how to enrol successfully in Blackboard. Whilst you may believe that simple sentence immediately discounts any possible validity this blog (or future posts) may contain, I maintain that honesty really is the best policy, and I promise there is something you can learn from this!

I can’t sit still long enough to figure out what classes are on which days and which courses I am required to enrol in and which ones have the easiest assessment, or go for the shortest amount of time. I don’t even know where my classes are when I am enrolled. One time, I got lost inside E block for a solid 20 minutes and another time I tried to catch the bus to uni and ended up at the wrong campus. Six hours early for class. With a grazed knee.

I don’t even buy books every semester. Semester 2 last year involved me quite literally borrowing a pen and writing in an old notebook from my first year at uni, on whichever page I happened to open up. I had notes in 2 or 3 old notebooks on random pages with all my subjects mixed up. End of semester results? 7, 7, 7 and 6. Current GPA? 6.46. I am not bragging here, I am simply letting you know that even if Blackboard manifests itself as a labyrinth in your brain, even if you sometimes write lecture notes on your thigh with a borrowed pen, there is a way to solve this problem.

Want to know my secret? I have a Mark. (I won’t even suggest a blog alias or he’d want me to change it to something stupid like Ronaldo Von Julio. Apologies if that is your real name.) I bet you have a Mark too. You’ve just got to find him – he’s the guy with the slides printed off before the lecture. He’s the one that has finished his assignment 3 days before it’s due and still manages to pull a solid 6 (even though he hasn’t referenced enough and will  stubbornly spend an hour rewriting the sentence instead of looking up another article, much to your frustration). He’s the one who shows up to every class on time and can remember if you’re in Week 9 or Week 11. He knows which day of the week it is, and precisely how to locate the lift when you have a class on the 4th floor of B Block. (Does anyone else struggle with that one? If you haven’t been to level 4 of B Block, KG campus I issue you a personal challenge to get there without ending up teetering on one of those little balcony things, looking like a tourist.)

Last semester, my Mark organised my timetable to directly align with his, hand wrote on an A3 piece of paper every piece of assessment I had due (in order) and forced me to study for exams by preparing questions cunningly designed to highlight my non-attendance of history lectures.  Despite my predisposition to evade any semblance of order, Mark’s organisational tactics seem to have filtered through my stone wall. I bought a 4 subject notebook before this semester began and although I did not actually started reading, I bought most of my text books.

When finding your Mark, it’s best you keep an eye out for the signals of organisation. If he is at the same stage of your degree with the same majors, this is especially helpful. If he happens to be a really cool guy (like mine is), go to his house parties and tell him you love him as a friend.

So for 2011, my best advice is to take your Mark, get set and go!

21 responses

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  1. avatar
    Another 3rd Year student

    So you’re saying here in essence, the only way you have got so far in university is not truely by your own initiative but by capitalizing on the hard work and organizational skills of another student. Yeah, great work.

    • avatar
      Yet another third year.


    • avatar

      Eeep. Anonymity FTW hey? No, this blog post was designed as a light-hearted read for those who aren’t great with organisation, and need a little direction. I think a fair few of the blogs that have gone up lately are about having a support network of great friends around you, and the best way I’ve found to get through uni is to surround yourself with friends who can pick you up in areas where you stumble. Mark is an organisational whiz – he helps me with that, and I meticulously proof read all his assignments, and buy him milkshakes on Thursdays. The day ‘organisational skills’ pops up on a criteria list for an assessment piece is the day that I’m in trouble – but I’m improving, and for now, my grades are based on the academic merit of the assessments I submit!

      • avatar

        What does Mark get out of this other than a burden of carrying you? By your own accord, the relationship between you doesn’t work both ways.

        You are very quick to disregard that first person’s comment.
        “..stubbornly spend an hour rewriting the sentence instead of looking up another article, much to your frustration.”
        You clearly admit you read his sources, and you go on to say you can’t do the workload without him? Which is likely against your own academic policy.

        I worry for you, what happens when you finish your degree and get a job. Mark won’t be there to carry you through it?

        I think you should consider removing this blog post because it sets a bad impression to first year students.

        • avatar
          Mark No1

          I need to assure you that the relationship does go both ways. I think this post was little harsh as the blog was written with the aim of being humourous. I would recommend to all first year students to make friends and to assist each other where possible. In fact I would recommend Chrissie to look at everyone’s work because if she did their results would very much improve.

  2. avatar

    If I was your Mark, I would hang you to dry.

  3. avatar

    Wow Chrissie! I think your organising of your organiser is fantastic! Having a Mark must be most helpful, perhaps your critics secretly wish they had one too.

    Clearly some readers don’t have a sense of humour – and isn’t this what this blog post is all about? I would hate to be buried in my books so deeply that I lost all sense of the absurd. Thank goodness for people like Chrissie and Mark who do earn all their grades but are not too proud to share their abilities with their friends, and downplay their own expertise.

    Very funny, and snaps on a well played response to criticism!

    • avatar

      Thanks Julia, I’m glad your sense of the absurd is alive and kicking! I hope to keep you entertained with more posts throughout the year 🙂

  4. avatar

    Your Mark sounds like a great guy! Life is all about creating and sustaining relationships, and an integral part of being Australian is helping each other out where we are lacking. His organisation to your proof reading and food bribery, sounds good to me. And really anonymity on a blog? Come on, if you have an opinion, positive or negative, own up to it, don’t hide behind your computer.

    • avatar

      Awesome comment Mel. I think mateship is really important, especially in the face of adversity. And as we are all aware – uni was never designed to be easy!

  5. avatar

    I really like your blog and have to say it is so true. I am not a very organised person either. I don’t have a Mark but I am grateful for all the helpful people I met in my lectures especially in my first year. Without them I wouldn’t know how to print or recharge my student card and lots of other things.
    Looking forward to read your next blog

    • avatar

      And I am looking forward to reading your first one! Thanks for the comment Silvia, I think it’s definitely important to recognise the people who go out of their way to help others, especially first years as it’s a whole new world!

  6. avatar
    Mark No1

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. It highlights how everybody has strengths and weaknesses in a humourous way. Plus, my name gets mentioned heaps 🙂

    I agree that university can be difficult for a variety of reasons and that one needs friends to enjoy the experience and also to assist in getting the best marks possible. In saying that I don’t think you give yourself enough credit as it was me who did lead us into the wrong class once when I got us lost in B Block.

    One last thing, my shout for the milkshake today?

    • avatar

      Nothing like a milkshake and a contraversy… When we’re lining up at Beadles we’ll just have to dodge the people in the ‘Free Mark’ t-shirts haha!

      • avatar

        That’s controversy Chrissie 🙂

  7. avatar

    Yes we are, and I am so glad you’re on my team!

  8. avatar

    This is so true! I still have a minor breakdown when enrolling for uni, honesty is the best policy… I have shed a tear or two after realising I have stuffed it up for the 6th time and am on hold to helpdesk. Without a good group of friends at uni it can be more daunting than a class in B block. I can’t imagine if I didn’t have someone to send me their assignment just so I can see if I am on the right track, or someone to build me up before a presentation. I would like to say a big thank you to those people who have been there for me over the past three years.

  9. avatar

    I’m someone’s Mark and I absolutely hate it. But it’s very one-sided and completely different to your situation. So I’m glad you and your Mark have found a way to work together. I’ve just decided to stop disadvantaging myself and things are getting better!! Good luck with the blogging. I look forward to reading more.

    • avatar

      Good on you Kristina! It takes a lot of guts to stand up to someone when you feel like you’re being used. I’m glad things are getting better for you.

  10. avatar

    Thanks for the support Krissi! To be honest I am really quite surprised at the way my blog has been received – but I’ve decided to stick to my guns and keep blogging about how I manage to maneuver (just spell checked and I could have sworn that word had an ‘o’ in it… weird.) through uni life. I actually had a bit of a pep talk from Marian today, and she said that great writers are those who inspire strong emotions in their audience. So whether my readers laugh, cry or type angry comments in a fit of blog-induced rage, I’ll continue writing 🙂

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