“Love is free and when one is honest with themselves, they are liberated in this digital world. We’re more sensitive to our peers and everyone’s opinions due to the rate that we are bombarded with them.”
– Miguel at his concert in Dallas, late 2018.
Hello, I’m your subconscious.
Make no mistake: getting to university is a big deal. It’s not only about the one or two years of work which got you that special number to apply to your degree. It’s about the entire life journey you have had up until your entrance to university. It’s about the childhood memories; those episodes of ‘Arthur’ which provided the foundation for a need to make good friends and a desire to visit something similar to The Sugar Bowl (Koko Black or Mookie, anyone?); the complaints about year seven assignments; the hormones in your teenage years; the stress of your penultimate year of school and choosing the perfect outfit for formal and graduation. Getting to university is a big deal, and do not let anyone tell you otherwise, no matter where you came from. If you’re from the Bronx of Canberra, aka Tuggeranong, or the northern suburbs of Sydney or the Apple Isle, you will be perceived by your peers in a certain light. That’s okay! Trust that most of the fun of university comes from you defying your own expectations and the assumptions that your first year peers had of you in O Week. Petty? Maybe. True? Definitely.
Don’t be afraid.
You might meet people in O Week who are the embodiment of all of the crushes you have ever had. You might meet people in O Week that embody all the traits of people who made you run away from your hometown. From anecdotes and personal experience, it’s pretty rare to find your lifelong best friend in O Week. That’s okay too! Prove me wrong if you can, though. For those who don’t want to go out and party in the first semester of university, join the club (ha ha… irony) and find the lit things that daylight-hour Canberrans get up to: like studying at the National Library on Sundays or walking around Lake Burley Griffin or going to Enlighten. If you don’t have that new group of friends by the end of first semester, good. You have used your judgement wisely, and second semester provides new opportunities to warm up to good people.
I am yours and yours alone.
Take care of yourself, food-wise. It is very easy to neglect your health and your stomach while you worry about your readings or assessment. Listen to your body and its cravings for actual orange and green vegetables and fruits when you need it. Google or test your Medical Science friends on the impact of alcohol on your system within one hour of consumption. And please, complain about how expensive food is as much as you can and hopefully someone will open a Student Soup Kitchen (but also definitely check out the Food Co-Op!).
I am the projector and you are the projection.
Whether you are a first year student or a final year student or a staff member, remember what a big deal it is to be at university. A significant part of this big deal is the education, right? We are all going to learn so much, both from our education and the events surrounding university and the outside world. Hopefully this year brings us greater knowledge and understanding of each other and of the world. No point learning in a vacuum! Try to get outside and see how your degree has real-world impact.
And I am always supreme.
Buzzwords like self-care might have come up a lot during your summer holidays. It’s great that we are talking about mental health more and about the ramifications when we don’t talk about it. University brings its challenges – both from people and the stress of the degree itself – but I promise you, it is nothing you can’t handle. You never get dealt a card that is too much for you to handle. Please be kind to everyone, and give yourself space when you need it. Reach out for help and be receptive to helping others. University is a big deal. Your mental health is an even bigger deal.