A Message to Freshers
One day it will be you.
by Declan McGuigan
Well, for a handful of our Aberdeen academics, it’s finally over! After years of studying and/or intense drinking, you’ve escaped from your granite grave with a 2:1 in economics, regardless of your original ambition to study law. Your universally average degree will no doubt propel you towards success in a career unlike any you’ve ever wanted. But before the reality of the real world festers in, let us reflect on what friends and family are speculating are, and forever will be, ‘the best years of your life.’ For some of you, the adventure it just beginning.
After being rejected from Glasgow, you went off to Aberdeen to start your new life as an independent young adult with intense financial dependency on your parents throughout. They say you can’t put a price on happiness, so let’s hope you enjoyed yourself. It sure would be a shame if you plunged into extreme financial debt just to be sad for ages… and what an expenditure it must have been! 2017 graduates will have spent most of their academic life in a pre-oil crash Aberdeen. During this time, the average living costs in Aberdeen amounted to fifty hours a week at a bar, all of your SAAS loan, a maxed out overdraft and a lung. Ironically, three years of London-esk housing prices followed by the oil crash means that 2017 Petroleum Engineer graduates now have the same financial debt and less job opportunities than a graduate who leaves Aberdeen with a 3:2 in Visual Culture. Thankfully those of you just starting out will enjoy slightly low rents, offset by the fall of the pound and a potential rise in crime.
Albeit expensive, at least Aberdeen threw you deep into a new world of culture. Though grey in colour, Aberdream’s vibrant nightlife caters to even the most cultivated individuals. With five strip clubs, three casinos and an illegal brothel by the harbour (And even that’s feeling the post-oil pinch), it was hard not to fall in love with Aberdeen’s charming personality, which is fully embodied by the cities mascot ‘Ketamine Kyle.’ And of course, if you’re not into the glamorous lifestyle of strippers and black jack, Aberdeen also has an art gallery (now closed) and a beach, which is painfully cold eleven and a half months of the year.
The budding nature enthusiasts will be happy to know that Aberdeen is home to some impressive wildlife. We have two main animal groups in our fair city; seagulls which are larger than children, and seagulls which are larger than the seagulls which are larger than children. Luckily, these enormous birds are of no threat to you, providing that you never move. Any attempt to travel alone on foot will result in a colony of seagulls aggressively mugging you in gangster-like fashion, resulting in seizure of all your possessions, visual impairment, and extreme blood loss and in severe cases, death. Don’t let this put you off a pleasant night-time stroll through one of our lovely parks however! The many delinquents and sex offenders on the ground will no doubt protect you from the numerous rogue giants in the sky.
The resources at the university are, of course, second to none. Our students are treated to a state of the art gym which regularly holds upwards of two-hundred earnest athletes, despite its maximum capacity of eighty. There are also hundreds of societies, activities and clubs to pander to all manner of hobbies and interests, however, hopefully you just joined rugby club, as they tend to get the bulk of the university funding. On a brighter note, genuinely excellent counselling is available for all students for free. Sadly the student-to-counselor ratio is about three-thousand-to-one, so you’re going to have to be pretty messed up to skip the queue. Of course I’m not saying that you should burn down a building, I’m just saying that if you did burn down a building, you are definitely going to be able to talk about your problems within the week. The waiting list for doctors is even more absurd. Even if you phone up with a cold, by the time you see your doctor you are going to need 30mg of citalopram and beta-blockers just to deal with the depression of being ill for so long.
For those who need to get shit done, the hub is the place to be. Two lines occupy the bulk of the ground floor; one queue to the right filled with terrified undergraduates who have suddenly realised they’ve ruined their life by picking the wrong degree, and the second much larger line to the left, swamped with ravenous teens itching to get their daily subway fix. In recently, the hub installed two lager taps in a pathetic attempt to resemble a student union. On the plus side, a pint of lager goes down nicely with a six inch meatball marinara and a C7 appeal form.
Aberdeen’s most remarkable resource is unquestionably the Sir Duncan Rice library. Seven floors of the finest academic literature, millions of online essays, and an abundance of undergraduates giggling at memes. The library is equipped with numerous silent study rooms for the emotionally fragile, and group study areas if you feel like hanging out with your friends without getting drunk. With comfy chairs, free internet access, a café on the ground floor and hundreds of ‘study’ areas, the sad truth is that Sir Duncan Rice is not the glorious intellectual hub it was designed to be, but rather the largest communal skiving area of all time. Money well spent.
Written from the perspective of a man struggling to pass second year film, a genuine congratulations is in order to everyone who graduated this year. As we all discovered a little too late, Aberdeen is not the easiest city to exist in for four years. Hopefully the next chapter will take you to better places, filled with more opportunities, challenges and successes. All the best to each and every one of you. And remember, if you find yourself struggling to get a job with that delightful degree of yours, my pub is always looking for part time bar staff.