I’m from Devon. Before then, I was from Africa. To entertain myself, I used to climb trees, go hiking, cycle to the beach, and for a few hours a day, do homework/music practice/mess around on the computer. I never really watched TV, and when I did, I always had something in front of me to keep me otherwise occupied. The transition from college kid to student has shown a marked change in my behaviour. I’m in my final year, and, thinking back on it, every year has started and ended with an addiction to a new TV show.
First year was Charmed. If you’ve never seen it, eight seasons of witchy goodness, starring Piper, Phoebe, Prue, and later, Paige Halliwell. It’s innocent good fun. I get a lot of teasing from people for this one, but I don’t care. It kept me occupied during long hours writing lab reports, revising microstructures, and doing those blasted maths problem sheets.
Second year started out with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’d moved from witches on to vampires, slightly annoying college kids, the best baddy ever in the form of Glory, and a whole load of extra features and ways in which to immerse yourself into the world of Buffy. As if this wasn’t bad enough, I managed to acquire a set of all ten seasons of Friends. I’d seen it before (who hasn’t?), but let’s face it – you can never get enough Friends. More lab report deadlines, a massive project written to the Rembrandt’s theme tune and another year successfully completed.
Third year found its entertainment in the form of British Teen Drama, Skins, Angel, the partner series to Buffy, and Big Bang Theory. Another huge project and exams completed with some memorable tunes in my head, and the associations these all brought.
Fourth year started off with Gilmore Girls. Revision for January exams was timetabled according to how many episodes I could fit into a 14 hour period, and after these were over I discovered Glee (and, of course, the new season of Skins started). My flatmate recently got the first five series of Grey’s Anatomy, and we have started working our way steadily through those.
So, what has this done to my degree? Well, there are certain things that I cannot write about/think about/discuss without a flashback to what was on the TV at that point in time. Wulff Plots are forever associated with Janice and her annoying laugh. Every time I have to talk about Crystallography, I get a very specific episode of Charmed in my head (I won’t tell you which for fear of spoilers). In my January exam, I was writing about the cardiac cycle when Rory Gilmore strolled into my head talking about coffee (perhaps NOT the best timing ever, but hey).
A lot of my friends ask how I can do it. They go so far as to say they would never get any work done with all the distraction. I’ve never really thought about it – to be honest, I can’t actually sit down and make myself work if there isn’t something playing in the background. Yes, this means that I don’t always catch the action, and the finer detail of some episodes is lost on me. It does keep me sitting down at my desk, though, when I would otherwise be tempted to get up and go off somewhere for a little jaunt. “I’ll go at the end of this episode, oh no wait the next one looks really good, just one more.” There is no motivation like it.
Has it worked? Ask me in October, when I will know if all the square eyes paid off and I got the grades I wanted…