Long time now speak… my apologies. Life has somewhat overtaken for the last week or so as a student- but I’m back to report it’s all going rather nicely, if a little bit of a shock to the system. Different priorities and changes seem to gather momentum in the university at this time of year- deadlines appearing closer in the distance, solid study groups forming and lecturers hurling evaluations at us left, right and centre. What I’ve come to take away from the last few weeks of both uni and social interactions of one type or another, is not to underestimate your effect on other people. The scale of difference for example, that I’ve experienced in my feelings and observations from module to module that we’ve been studying over the last half a year is astounding. When asked this last Monday to fill in what was one of the first of the evaluations, I felt slightly stumped (thankfully for all the right reasons). How could I convey with the ticking of boxes and a few lines here and there, just how much this lecturer and their chosen area of expertise had or had not enriched or effected my education/ studies/ life here in Portsmouth? Luckily for this one, I had nothing but the most positive and effusive praise to present. I honestly declared it to have been the best module I’d been on so far, and praised their humour, passion and thorough academic style when it came to the content. My companion in the lecture was also in complete agreement, and as we were walking out having delivered our thoughts and bid the lecturer farewell, we were both surprised at the amount of thankful nostalgia we were taking out with us. So often on this course, it can feel like both the life and education of a first year should not be taken that seriously (regardless of the sheer scope of the fees we are still paying for this portion of our education). After all, it’s only the second and third years that really count- right? Wrong. So, so wrong. A first year is (at its best) a specimen of a university student so ready to absorb, so sensitive to both criticism and encouragement, so wanting to prove themselves to both peers and course lecturers, and so acutely aware of when they’re being either dismissed or minimised for the sake of ease, that it can and will shape a lasting memory in their mind of whether or not as a student- they truly matter at all. In a university this large and diverse, it is incredibly easy to feel as if one goes unnoticed- or is at least barely noticeable. The chemical reaction that happens when a lecturer has not only thoroughly researched and prepared the module through which they intend to guide you, but also motivates and devotes a fair and non-reluctant amount of time to you– as not just a student but an individual, is astounding. It releases waves of happiness, a sense of being cared for, a steam of motivation to prove them right and a stream of productivity that would otherwise perhaps have remained stemmed. I don’t write this post as a criticism of anyone in particular- but a hopeful reminder to any lecturer/ supervisor that you, your attitude, your knowledge, your passion, your humour and your organisation can positively make- or negatively break- a students spirits. All in all- please inspire us. It’s why we’re here. Thanks.