Average Height Of A 13 Year Old Boy In Ft The Meaning Of Life From A Student Point Of View

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The Meaning Of Life From A Student Point Of View

University! Now there is an institution! I have always said that if anyone can shape a society based on university values, they can count on me. This would mean that the vast majority of the population wouldn’t have to work very hard, wouldn’t be paid much, but would be fed regularly and allowed to spend half their time in bars buying as much half-price beer as they could drink in one night. Cannabis and other hallucinatory aids would be legal and freely available as add-ons for those with more creative tendencies, while the idea of ​​any fixed moral standard would be abandoned in favor of “a little of what you love is good for you!” And if something were to happen that would threaten this idyll of perfection, these uni-citizens, guardians of world knowledge, would have every right to raise banners and protest. The national anthem would have to be something by Motorhead.

What am I saying here? I guess I’m for a more romantic view of life, more “raised by love” than “driven-by-greed”. There are serious differences between the two, one fills our hearts with warmth and security, the other is dangerous and all-encompassing, even though no two people can agree which is which. As for me, I couldn’t believe my luck. The first day at Badock Hall was like Nirvana, a spiritual existence of pure ecstasy. Of the approximately four hundred students, more than half were single women. It was the perfect opportunity for some greedy love-making.

I was so happy I couldn’t help but laugh as I unpacked my bags in one of the four hundred one-room units I was assigned overlooking the sloping open green gardens and lush trees. The room was small, just big enough to fit a single bed and a desk, but that was all I needed. I laughed because I got my car. There it was in the parking lot, my slightly dented but proud maroon Marina with a polished vinyl back seat, waiting.

Unlike school, Bristol didn’t feel like you were in the wrong time zone. Everything was actually modern and liberal and fair. We were surprised by the behavior of the lecturers after the great attention we had at school, because they hardly paid any attention to us. They had their say, in lectures and exercises, maybe two or three times a week, and then they left us to it. It was up to us.

The morning after the Fresher’s Party I stayed in bed until twelve, then panicked when I realized I’d missed a lecture. But then I remembered that this was not Trollope’s. Here, nothing happened, no one noticed if you disappeared, so I went back to bed. It was very fair. We were given access to the best education, the best brains, and it was up to us whether we would use it well or not.

Fresher’s Week was an opportunity to meet veteran students and join the various clubs and societies they had dreamed up in their idle moments, a strange assortment of activities and a protracted party that, in my mind, was no match for ten minutes with Rita striptease, and only when it was over could we devoted ourselves to the more serious work of learning. Between lectures and tutorials, which took up a total of about twelve hours a week, the time was all ours, which sounded great, but the importance of self-discipline soon became apparent.

Most times for lunch I was in the huge dining room, where you could get a decent meal for less than a pound. It was next to the Wills Memorial Building, the focal point of the university, a large, neo-Gothic structure at the top of Park Street that looked like a cathedral, built by the wealthy Wills family, tobacco magnates, at the turn of the century. Students would bounce up and down the massive staircase in the lobby all day, going to and from lectures, but despite the crowds, I was often alone on the first few days, as everyone had lectures at different times and in different buildings across the City.

Early on, I bumped into my brother Mario and some of his friends from the Faculty of Law. He was in his third year and about to graduate. It was obvious that for the first time in his life he felt superior to me. Oxford slipped through my fingers and I was a sad newbie at his old university. He was fine with me, skipping the odd comment, but it was clear he had no intention of including me in his circle, which was fine with me. I wanted the freedom to explore and was happy that my older brother and his friends weren’t breathing down my neck.

The car made me popular very quickly. At the end of each day there would be four or five long-haired Badockians casually wandering around the parking lot hoping to find an elevator. I didn’t mind because it was good company. After a while I started charging ten pence one way so my first beer every night was paid for.

The best time to meet was early in the evening at the bar, right after dinner. The Badock Hall bar had a pool table, billiards, darts and an unlimited supply of cheap beer. Most nights we would sit with our feet up on the low round tables waiting for something to happen. There was always music in the background, the Police, or the Pretenders, or Blondie, artists who were making waves at the time, and soon a small group formed around me. At first there would be just two or three of us, and then, if it looked like we were having a good time, others would join. It was not unusual sometimes for fifteen or twenty idle rag-pickers to sit in a large circle each. making his own semi-articulate contribution to whatever relevant and vital discussion was taking place.

We thought it was our responsibility to change the world and make it a better place. That was the message we inherited from the 60s, that students can make a difference. But we always had one thing in mind that bothered us. One evening Gerry, a Northern Irish biochemist with an explosively orange Art Garfunkel haircut, put it succinctly in neurological terms: “It’s just worse biochemical function,” he said in his attractive Belfast voice, and a few others stopped to listen. “There is some other nonsense. While parts of the body are being stimulated, signals are sent through metabolic processes to the reticular formation in the brainstem and it is activated, so you don’t feel pleasure. Sometimes this process results in a lack of oxygen and excessive pumping of blood around the body, what makes you hot and bothered during sex. It’s all to do with the hypothalamus, you know. That jerk is responsible for everything. Like so many things about our bodies, it has its own memory and is therefore habit forming, so it’s easy to become addicted to sex. .”

There was a short cheer. We were already members of that club. I was impressed with Gerry’s understanding of neurology, but decided to keep him away from me the next time I tried to pull him.

I was once introduced to a Greek Cypriot by someone who thought he was doing me a favor, but I found him too meticulous, too tight-lipped, a future bank manager if I ever saw one, and after a meeting or two I did my best to avoid him. Instead I spent more and more time with a tall, squat guy from London, from the East End. He looked like he had been to a few Millwall games and was at his best. His name was Chukka, six feet four if he was an inch, with arms like an orangutan, long and drooping, casually making great arcs of air as he walked. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a joint dangling from the side of his smiling mouth. In the middle of the second semester, he met and fell in love with a dwarf fair-haired girl with a pretty face named Linda, who was always in sexy leather clothes or denim like Suzi Quattro. Like Chukka, she was straight and had no looks or grace, and they were a fun couple to get to know. With the difference in height between them there was about two meters of empty air but that didn’t stop them from being stuck in their mouths forever, he lowered himself to her and she tiptoed like a pair of school kids in love.

Our social lives were a strange mixture of sitting and trying to sound intelligent on the one hand, and behaving like savage beasts on the other, two contradictory impulses that governed our behavior. Some people were more on one side than the other, like my neighbor Sheridan who was a pure geek and never seemed to leave his room, but spent all his time studying, fixated on the mating practices of the little spotted eagle or some such inanity , while listening to inoffensive Steely Dan tunes, while others didn’t study an iota their entire first semester and instead devoted their energies to testing the limits of their partying endurance.

I steered a middle course, drawn to the kind of people who sought the best of both worlds. I met people who refused to be stripped down or typecast, true life characters. I’ll never forget the people I teamed up with at university: Chukka (who was actually Charles) was nicknamed after the notebooks he threw up after a good night’s sleep, but planned to get a first in chemistry; Gerry, a brilliant biologist who in a future life saw himself handcuffed to a wire in Greenham Common protesting against nuclear weapons or buried in some bog in the path of oncoming bulldozers to stop the construction of a flyover; and little Linda, whose beautiful, tiny backside made us all think whenever she played guitar to rock anthems, but one day she will be a researcher in a cancer unit, doing great work for children. They were unpredictable people with a valuable future.

We could talk about anything without fear of criticism or attack. It seemed to me a fair and constructive way of organizing things in which people of the same age and with the same interests can be encouraged to live together and share a common dialogue, regardless of religious or political boundaries and without fear of persecution. It had similarities with the ancient Greek symposia that produced the intellectual fruits of Athens in the fifth century. The fact that it was funded by the state made it noble.

Despite our best wishes, small talk in the first few weeks focused on what courses everyone was taking, the societies everyone had joined, and the amount of work everyone was getting, which varied from department to department, in other words typical student trivia that soon became boring and drove some of us out of our homes and into town to mingle with the civilians.

In the city we’d drink amongst friendly Bristolians, hard-working people who weren’t trying to fix the world, just doing menial jobs for minimum wage, watching football at weekends and getting angry at night. In the future, when my life should get complicated, I would think of that simple obligation, typical of a thousand English towns, a million neighborhoods in Great Britain, and see it as a perfect lifestyle. But I worried that I would never fit in, never be normal. Being bright was a curse and many students felt it, drawn to the complex, intangible, mysterious and unfathomable. I’ve always been like that. I still have with me a piece of paper written when I was ten years old when I wrote: “Things to do before I grow old: (A) find out if there is a God, (B) find out what happens after we die, (C) learn meaning of life.” With that kind of baggage, what were the chances of having a good time along the way?

All bars, in order to survive, boasted cheap student nights during the week with wild themes, raucous events that only delinquents and perverts would be crazy enough to attend.

One such occasion, and the most significant one, was the Vicars and Tarts Ball. The great thing about staying at Badock Hall was that we got to see all the girls at their best before going out, so we could plan our strategy for the girls well in advance. They loved any excuse to get into their webs and parade in front of us at the bar. And some boys were even more imaginative than girls. We would pile into taxis looking like actors “The Rocky Horror Show” the first big gay musical. Whenever we came to the city center, it was like we owned it.

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