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When you’re a Townie, the only difference between August and September is what’s on TV. That’s how it used to be, anyway, before I started dating a Dean’s Lister.

Yeah. I’m a Townie. I’ll always be one, even when nobody says it anymore. Long after the days of “town and gown” are gone and forgotten, I’ll be the goth kid loitering outside the downtown coffee shops with a Dunhill cigarette crushed between black-painted fingernails.

Yep. My girl’s a Dean’s List darling. This ain’t luck, either. These are consecutive appearances, bought with a bucket’s worth of blood, sweat, and tears. The scars from the battles won and lost in the academic arena run deep, man. Not that mine don’t; I’ve earned plenty in the school of hard knocks— though mine were mostly earned in Wanderer-style street battles and week-long, booze-induced blackouts. Still, I’d rather stare down the Ducky Boys armed with nothing but a rubber chicken than put myself through the pressure and stress of Upper Level Academia.

And just because I’m not university educated doesn’t mean I haven’t picked up a thing or two over the years. Dating on the D-List comes with a unique set of needs that you only learn about along the way. So yeah, I gleaned a few things, and you can too. Now’s the time for you to put down your Hello Kitty backpack, or whatever it is you kids are sporting these days, pull up a stool, and have a listen to this old man.

You can never, ever run out of booze, or whatever it is she needs before/during/after exams—if it’s chocolate, or bath bombs, or episodes of Downton Abbey. You got to find out what that is, and you stock it in plentiful supply, man. You hide it around the house so you never run out. Because if you do, she’s going to wonder what the hell you were doing while she was studying 15 hours a day, and there’s no answer to that question that’s any good.      



You have to find your Zen place. When it’s crunch time—when it’s two minutes to midnight on the Doomsday clock and the Russian ICBM is pointed at her head in the form of a deadline on that paper she’s been putting off for the last week—that’s your time to shine. You must remind her of all the times she made it to the Dean’s List. You have to show her all those old scholarship and bursary awards she’s received. You have to be calm, be cool, and put your stuff away. Now is not the time to remind her that “freelancing is hard work too.” Because, let’s be honest, it’s really not. 

The year is divided into two seasons with “breaks” in between, so plan your time accordingly. There’s the first semester, and the second semester, and then there are breaks of varying lengths throughout. Forget all this nonsense about four seasons—words like “summer” and “spring” only matter as modifiers to “breaks.” While we’re talking about it, be prepared to take December off. Also, the entire month of April. These aren’t breaks for you, these are the times she most needs your support, and work is only going to get in your way. Don’t worry about the missed work—you can make up for it during the summer when she’s traveling/recovering/preparing for the next year.

You hope to holy God that she’s not interested in graduate studies. The Bachelor’s Degree is a lot like the Teacup ride at Playland compared to the Formula Rossa that is the Master’s Degree. But if she wants it, it is not up to you to talk her out of it. Soldier up, strap on the protective eyewear, and get ready for the ride of your life.

Finally, remember: it’s all worth it. She has made me a better writer and a better human being. Sure, I know how to download her favourite movies, configure a home network, and make my own sauerkraut, but it’s nothing compared to the ways in which academic-adjacency has enriched my life. Frankly, you should be so lucky.