Here I am, right now, back against a hard stone wall, holding a peanut butter sandwich close to my chest as I stare down the ibis who is slowly approaching in an attempt to steal my peanutty buttery goodness. I don’t understand why it’s singling me out- I have by far the least impressive lunch of anyone around me. He could go after the student with the Subway, or the sushi rolls, or the fancy Chinese curry, but no, he goes after me.
Just another hurdle in the life of university.
I am currently in my third and final year of my business degree at the Queensland University of Technology, and even though its my final year, i feel like it is the first year I’ve truly felt like a uni student.
But how does one “feel like a uni student?”
In my first year, uni felt like nothing more than advanced high school. I didn’t understand the idea of “uni life” or “campus culture”
But now as I sit here on the veranda of the Old Government House (a once popular historical site now overrun by students), watching the throngs of hip young millennials go by (I too am a young millennial, but i am far from “hip”), I kind of understand these terms. But I expect that everyone has a different idea of “uni life”. But what does it mean to me?
To me, its an understanding and an acceptance that university is not a walk through the park. Or it is a walk in the park, except the park is on fire and there’s a horde of zombies chasing you. It’s getting up early and squeezing onto an overcrowded train. Its walking across the bridge to the campus and gazing across at the city. It’s turning up to your 9am lecture with a coffee in one hand and a weetbix breakfast biscuit in the other. It’s losing your laptop to the precarious fold up chair tables when the hinges suddenly decide to stop working. It’s staring at attractive students two rows down, and then looking away when they turn around. It’s staring blankly at power point slides while the lecturer drones on, while you feel an odd combination of confusion, anxiety and occasionally, a glimmer of understanding that makes it worthwhile. It’s making friends with people you would never expect to be friends with- from girls with perfect makeup and hair and rich boys with nice smelling cologne to scraggly bearded DOTA 2 players and kooky engineering students- I’ve befriended them all. Why? Because we’re all in the same boat. We’re from different walks of life, but uni doesn’t care about that- it’ll mess you up no matter what.
I may sound critical of university, but don’t get me wrong- its been some of the best years of my life. Its the first time I’ve ever felt independent, and free to experience the world the way I choose.
So now I’ll open my textbook to chapter 3, chug my coffee and dread my tutorials. And when I do, I’ll feel happy. Because if there’s any way to describe uni: