Sure, it’s been a hot minute since your parents were fresh-faced university students instead of the ‘might not know how to open a PDF but loves you dearly’ folk they came to be. But let’s take a lil’ walk back down the memory lane, because TBH uni life back then was pretty different.
If you think about it, it wasn’t really even that long ago in the grand scheme of things, and yet there’s a lot that differentiates the eras. Times, they truly are a’changin’.
They Had Much More In-Class Time
One of the biggest bug bears that my parents had when I was at university was that my full-time fancy degree meant that I was on campus for an overwhelmingly ambitious total of… two days a week. Being right on the buzzer when tutorial enrolments came out meant I smooshed all my classes into those time slots, and managed to still work part-time and do a series of internships.
But back in the day when they were studying hard, full-time courses meant you were on campus five days a week, for the entire day. The classes were mostly allocated to you instead of being able to choose, so you were stuck in the limestone buildings from morning till night.
Plus there was no bailing on a lecture ‘coz they weren’t recorded – that is unless you had pals with old long-play recorders who’d pop the device down the front. But even then you’d only get audio, only for an hour, and it was dodgy quality. Not ideal.
The “Tech” Was Shoddy
If you pop into a lecture theatre nowadays, look beyond the fact that there’s probably a meme on-screen or that half the students are mindlessly scrolling Twitter instead of paying attention – look at what they’re writing and working with. It’s allllll laptops, baby. Maybe even an iPad or, for the ultimate uni hack, that one student recording it on their phone to watch later.
When your parents were at uni, laptops were only really JUST starting to be a thing, so the bulk of notes were being taken with pen and paper. You know, the archaic method that saw us all striving for the (apparently not-so) important pen licence in primary school. You’d better hope you knew how to write fast – or at least be able to decipher your scribbles later.
Oh and the scribbles weren’t noted down from PowerPoints or the accursed Prezi presentation. They were delivered by the most ancient of all classroom implements: the yellow-toned, tired, often noisy overhead projector.
Entertainment Was Cheaper For ‘Em
It was a heck of a lot cheaper to catch some entertainment back in your parents day – thanks a bunch, cost increases. My dad, an education student in the 80s, was able to score tix to see Men At Work, The Cockroaches and The Machinations all for the low, low price of two bucks a person. Yes, that’s the OG Wiggles band.
Nowadays, you’re lucky if a gig at the Uni Bar doesn’t set you back hundreds, where you get the ultimate pleasure of cramming into a room with all the random people you haven’t yet spoken to from your lectures.
TBH though, it’s about that time where a bunch of the old bands are doing reunion or anniversary concerts, so you could conceivably still see some of the gigs your parents saw – provided you’re happy to fork out a lil’ more than $2.
And if you’ve never experienced the ups, the downs, the coffees and the lectures that make up uni life, check out the University of Southern Queensland and see if any of the courses suit you. You may not cop $2 gig tix, but at least you can type your notes.Image: Instagram / evalongoria