5 Struggles Every Teacher’s Pet Goes Through When They Start Uni

What do you mean the tutor doesn't know who I am?

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In high school, I was the suckiest suck up you could possibly find. A teacher’s pet in the truest sense of the word.

In fact, if you were to cast me in a movie, I would be played by Lea Michele in Glee mixed with Tracy Flick in Election mixed with Annie Edison from Community. But with none of the endearing qualities written in.

I once baked my Society and Culture teacher a three tier cake with purple sprinkles (her favourite colour). I read every single extra-curricular book my English teacher recommended. I laughed cringingly loud at my Modern History teacher’s jokes. Come Christmas time, they, and all of my other teachers, got their own individually wrapped presents.

I had rested pretty comfortably on my strong (read: weird) relationships with my teachers in high school, knowing my grades would be OK because they had my back. As you can imagine, I was in for a rude awakening when I started uni.

Here’s all the things that made me realise I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

#1 Tutors Don’t Really Care About You

In high school, your teachers knew everything from your family history to your hobbies to what kind of extracurricular sports you favour. At uni, you’re doing extremely well if the tutor even knows you’re in their particular tute time slot.

Tutors deal with hundreds of students a week, turning over fresh faces every semester, constantly learning and forgetting names. You can’t expect them to think you’re any more special than anyone else.

#2 You Can’t Give Your Tutors Presents

This didn’t happen to me, but it happened to my friend: at the end of her first year of uni, she baked a bunch of cupcakes and handmade cards to give to her tutors as a thank you for the year. She used to do it all the time in high school so she didn’t realise that this type of blatant suck-up behaviour was a total no-no on campus.

When she went up to give the present to her science lecturer, he strongly declined. In fact, he was taken aback by the gesture. Apparently he took it as a form of bribery and warned her never to give him a gift again.

If that story doesn’t absolutely crush your heart, I don’t know what will.

#3 If You’re Too Active In Class Discussions, You’re Just Annoying

In high school, the teachers would love it if you incessantly put up your hand to answer questions. They’d take it as a sign of your enthusiasm. Now, it’s just plain irritating.

University is about having conversations, feeling your way around new ideas and giving everyone a chance to express their opinion. There aren’t any right or wrong answers. Shooting up your hand and trying to give one every single time will just irritate, not impress. And you might be taking away from someone else’s ability to learn.

#4 You Won’t Get Told You’re Doing A Good Job

This one was difficult to accept. After years of getting used to my educators singing my praises, I had to drop that expectation all together.

Tutors don’t offer a proud smile when they hand you an assignment or “well done” at the end of class. Instead, grades are just released online via the hard to use student portal. You’d be lucky to even get annotated edits.

#5 You Might Think You’re A Failure

Here’s where it gets a little real. Adjusting from the big-fish-small-pond life of high school to the small-fish-extremely-large-ocean life of uni is difficult for anyone. But for teacher’s pets? It’s 10 times harder.

In high school, we didn’t want to let our teacher’s down, so we did everything we could to get good marks and impress them. But at uni, no one cares what you do. It gives you permission to slack off a little. Your grades slip and then all of a sudden, you’re not the straight-As golden child you’re used to being. And if you’re not the straight-As golden child, who are you?

(I warned you it would get real.)

If I’ve learned anything from my adjustment from teacher’s pet to… regular anxious person, it’s that you have to want to do things – uni assignments, class discussions, careers – because you actually want to do it. Not because you think it will impress someone older and smarter.

Besides, once you finish uni and you’re out in the real world, you’re just as smart as your teachers anyway.

Josephine is the editor of Uni Junkee and a recovering teacher’s pet. She never tweets @josieannparsons.

(Lead image: Community/NBC)