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By this point in the year, it’s hard to ignore the fact that university is an institution. There are hierarchies and forms and processes that are hard to ignore. There is money. Capitalism. All around. And in the middle of all of this it can be hard to remember what we’re doing here. It’s hard to hold on to the passion that is meant to drive us. It’s hard to remember to stay cute and shirty. But it’s okay; that’s why I’m here to guide you on:
How to make the institution care about how fucking excellent you are
Here you are wandering through the endless halls and stairwells of a university that has four different campuses and more buildings than an arts major can count, tracing the footsteps of generations of other students. And no one cares.
Now picture yourself strolling through these same halls. Every second person stares admiringly at you. Every fifth person stops to ask your opinion or advice. Every 11th person drops to their knees, scattering flower petals at your feet as you pass them without blinking, utterly majestic. The real question is how you get from the first reality to the second.
As with any hierarchical structure, it’s best to start things at the top and wait for them to trickle down. (Please note this model does not apply to the economy.) By this principle, your first course of action should be to plaster copies of your most successful selfie all over the inside of the Vice-Chancellor’s office. This will certainly gain his attention. From here, be sure to mail him personalised invitations to each and every one of your social engagements, from coffee meetings to your 21st. Include in these invitations an outline of your most significant professional and academic achievements. Charm him with your skilled use of emoticons to communicate complex patterns of emotional response.
If your ambition is not quite up to this level yet, you may wish to practice on tutors or lecturers to warm yourself up. However, remember to temper your high-functioning psychological manipulation with home-baked goods. If you do emotionally blackmail your tutors and lecturers, always also bake them muffins.
Also, it is vital that you don’t neglect library staff. The library is the lifeblood of our academia and as such, it should be clear just how much the library is your domain. If there’s a spot that you particularly like, move the books off the shelf nearby to store your personalised stationery. Mark out your territory with a decorative rug, perhaps some candles. If need be, claim a section of every level. Also, cordon off a lift for your personal use.
You don’t need to get amongst the best, you ARE the best.