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What You Really Risk by Skipping the First Week of Uni

Wednesday, 4 March, 2015

The first week of semester, one of the more hungover periods on the university calendar and a time when having a pen and a scrap piece of paper places you amongst the most prepared in a lecture, is also one of the most important times to get right. Skipping first week can have a wide range of consequences, least of all academic, so here are a few things you should keep in mind when deciding to add another week to your holidays.

Tute seating arrangement:

This is likely the first challenge you’ll face coming back from an extended holiday. Having had an extra week to work on a tan or binge watch Arrested Development, you may realise, much like Will Arnett’s character from the aforementioned show, that you too have made a huge mistake. Everyone has already secured their place, and even after one short week, it’s plain to see that this arrangement is pretty much set. You’re now in an awkward position. Do you march in to boldly claim a seat and in doing so run the risk of usurping your classmate’s spot, separating a budding group of bffs with your ill-considered choice? Or, do you hang back at the start of the tute, deferring to the natural arrangement of first week but hazarding being left with that awkward non-spot between two tables for the duration of semester? It’s a tough choice with no clear answer. Good luck to you.

Forfeit holiday and subject based mingling:

No one really cares about what you did over the break, and honestly you don’t care what anyone else did either. The same goes for small talk about the subject, the text book, set readings or the lecturer. The only reason any of these topics will come up is because there’s really nothing else to talk about in first week. However, these mutually boring conversations offer a great way to get talking to those around you, and more importantly, an invaluable icebreaker to start chatting up the person next to you. Starting a week later means you’ve relinquished this opportunity, effectively consigning yourself to social isolation. You’re now doomed to watch that special guy or girl in your class complain about the readings or diss the lecturer with someone else for the rest of semester.

Miss out on the readings honeymoon period:

Readings for the first week of classes are a recommendation more than anything. A recommendation that is often quite easily ignored. For those who choose this option, there tends to be an unspoken amnesty from tutors, willing to overlook the fact you didn’t touch those journal articles as you were still far too deep in the holiday mindset for anything close to academic pursuit. Beware though, for this grace period is short-lived. Come second week, the relaxed vibe and uncomfortable yet harmless ice breaker activities of week one will be gone, replaced with the annoying expectation that you’ve actually done some work and can formulate complete sentences and academic arguments. This could be a rude awakening for those returning from extended overseas sojourns, who will not only have to quickly readjust to academic life, but may also draw the ire of their tutors for their inability to contribute to class discussions. Of course, if you’re the kind of person who’s into completing readings over the break, this can all be avoided, and you have nothing to worry about here.