• Simple and Practical Writing Tips from Real Writers

Friends from College, a brilliant made for Netflix series, is the story of a group of friends who all met at Harvard University, have remained friends ever since, and now, 20 years later, all find themselves living in the same city. There’s Max, who’s a respected and much published and obscure academic writer, and therefore poor. Lisa, his wife, is keeping the home fires burning; she’s a corporate lawyer swimming upstream in a malignant testosterone-filled investment company. One friend lives off a trust fund and dates 18-year olds, another is a ditzy book publisher, and still another married rich and is a fashion mogul. Some can’t get rid of nostalgia for those heady university days and are still secretly having affairs with each other (although they’re married); others are still resolutely single.

We don’t see them as students in the series, but it’s easy to imagine who they were then. Their lives could have been predicted from when they were at university. What about yours?

Well-adjusted and focused

If this describes you, you probably graduated from university, started applying for jobs, turned down a couple, negotiated a good salary and have been sitting pretty ever since. Your work is probably challenging, but because you are one of those lucky focused and organized few, you manage it well and it doesn’t stress you out too much. As a well-adjusted person, you are either in a long-term stable relationship, or single because you choose to be. Life was predicted to be a straight path for you, and it has been.

Idealistic and a bit all over the place

If you wanted to save the glaciers and the polar bears and rhino horns at university, chances are you still do. Or you are passionate about some other cause. You probably were not one of the most diligent studentson campus as you were more focused on world sustainability issues than on how to financially sustain yourself in a post-university world. For that, you would have had to do hard work, make good subject choices and earn high marks. You’ve probably had a more checkered after university life in general, both work-wise and in your personal relations.  You may be a writer now in some capacity, either public relations, journalism, a novelist or even writing for an academic writing service. Lovers have come and gone in these years since university; you’re still searching for someone who shares your passions (and can bring home the bacon so you don’t have to).

Brainy and diligent

Students with brains and who are also diligent are sweet music to any university. If you’re genetically blessed with a high-level ability to understand complex things, and have the persistent personality to go with it, you’ve probably never really left university! Why would you, when there are so many further degrees you can do, and a lifetime of campus experience still to live? Seriously though, highly intelligent people who are also very hard working often choose to stay on at universities as lecturers.

Your love life is possibly a bit more complex. Lots of grey matter doesn’t always come with lots of EQ, which means that your partners might get upset about being neglected in favour of the latest article you have to write or research you have to do, instead of paying them attention. They’re likely to have suddenly broken up with you, leaving you a bit bewildered as you probably hadn’t noticed anything was really amiss. But you’ll be okay; you still have your work, and that’s the main thing.

Party animal

If you spent most of your time at university clubbing and drinking into the early hours of the morning, missing lectures due to a massive hangover and failing a course or two along the way, chances are… you’re unemployed. You may have pulled yourself together on the odd occasion along the wayand secured a stable job, but the lure of the party is too much for you. You may still be living at home, just because you have no cash. Your love life is chaotic too: lots of late nights, casual sex andliquid dinners.

Who we were at university pretty much determines what we’ll become after we leave academic life and venture into the world.  So, depending on which kind of ending you want, choose your attitude and study habits carefully during those years.


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