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« October 2006 | Blog home | December 2006 »

November 2006

I want to introduce a new term to your lexicon of expressions. CFS –Clothing Fatigue Syndrome. My friend Liss coined this term 6 months into her overseas travel after disparagingly opening her backpack each day to find the same dirty worn out clothes. The treatment of this ailment is a quick fix and involves breaking the budget and splurging on a new outfit.

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I can’t put my finger on it yet, but something is amiss. Like I’ve rushed out of the house patting my pockets going “phone/ wallet / keys” and then realised I’m not wearing any pants.

I think it’s got something to do with the fact that (shhh!) I’m not a student anymore.

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Sydney Uni is full of hidden treasures - just imagine my surprise, though, at discovering that St. John’s College plays host to the skull of St. Bede the Lesser (which, of course, led me to ponder: was there a St. Bede the Greater? And why was he so great?) Apparently, Reverend Roger Vaughan received the skull as a gift (ok, so it wouldn’t be on my registry, but who am I to judge a man born in an iPod-less age?) and when he became rector at St. John’s, he presented the relic to the College. Over a century later, it remains there.

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Its 12pm and fifteen people from three generations are linked in an energetic conga line as it snakes its way around, up and down, the house. Spontaneous laughter and cheers erupt into the air above them, and the joy is catching. Not your typical Thanksgiving, but hey, who wants to be typical!

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(an acute hangover-related illness, often involving headaches and vomiting. In some cases memory loss will occur, though most common symptoms are lethargy and inability to concentrate or compose any form of recognisable speech.

It doesn’t bite, it doesn’t sting, and it won’t swell up the next day, but symptoms of BN are still quite easily detectable.)

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‘Remember, remember the fifth of November’ young children sang sweetly amongst themselves as a dummy was cast into a giant bonfire. Standing in it’s glow I can’t say I wasn’t a little disturbed. On that fateful day in 1605, a fellow called Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellar of the London Houses of Parliament. Found with 36 barrels of gunpowder he had every intention, but no chance, of setting them off. So what did Britain do?

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As of today, I've officially been a “resident” in Canada for 3 months. While it might not seem like that long, it’s been long enough for me to completely fall in love with the place. Vancouver is beautiful, Canadians are impossible not to get along with and despite what you may have heard to the contrary, Ice Hockey is definitely the best sport ever. In the midst of my love affair with my adopted home I have but one small grievance: Mother Nature is quite literally raining on my parade.

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End of an era

20 Nov

When does one finish their undergrad degree? I have harped on about the excitement of finishing classes and the banality of exam periods, but now I am officially done. The only thing left to do is to unravel my results and then slap on a square hat and cape, shake hands with an academic and graduate!! When people ask me what do I do, I can no longer say I’m a student (although concession cards last till March!) It’s all over red rover.

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Today I had a job interview, and they asked me to do the weirdest thing for it.

“Prepare a three minute speech on one of the following topics:
i) Why yellow is the greatest colour ever
ii) Why crayons are better than pencils
iii) Why everyone should grow a beard”

Here’s what I came up with...

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I had a blast yesterday performing for a few hundred people at a family show at Marrickville. What did I do? I bellydanced.

“I didn’t know men bellydanced”, is the response I often get. The short answer is they usually don’t, which is why I do it.

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It’s over. Or if it’s not, it’ll be over soon. For me, it’s over. That’s right comrades, we’ve climbed the hurdle. You’ve made it through the HSC, and I’ve made it through my first year of uni. It’s been one helluva ride. When I look back on what I wrote when I finished first semester, The Prodigal Returns, I don’t think there is much more advice I can give you. But maybe I can give you a few pointers or thoughts you can mull over or consider when you start uni.

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Just a couple of hundred meters down the road from Sydney Uni along King Street is my favourite place in Newtown (though Newtown Thai II comes a VERY close second) - Kuletos the cocktail bar.

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Let's get one thing straight: I do not understand installation.

Whenever I visit art exhibits, I'm afraid to eat or even use the bathroom, lest I disturb some unobtrusive piece of art.

So when I arrived at the Sydney College of the Arts Degree Show, I was armed with a healthy sense of alertness (and not without alarm).

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The Block

17 Nov

For most students who catch the train to uni, you will get off at Redfern Station. Right opposite the train station is The Block – the “notorious” patch around Eveleigh St that boasts a strong Aboriginal community. The Block is often in the news for all the wrong reasons: the death of TJ Hickey, the Redfern Riots and the redevelopment of the area.

If you are coming to Sydney Uni – know that you are coming onto Gadigal land. You owe it to the traditional owners of this land to get your facts right about the community living in The Block. The way to do this is to see Gathering Ground, an innovative, amazing production by Redfern Community Centre and PACT Youth Theatre bringing together over 40 of The Block’s children to tell their stories.

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The takers of the world. How do they live with themselves?

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365 days

15 Nov

I can’t believe it’s all nearly over. I don’t want to pack my things and leave. I hadn’t realised before now, how much I love it here.

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Someone once told me that work experience was something we deigned to do, rather than being the job we'd die to do.

Embarrassingly, this was my attitude when I began a week's work experience at a regional newspaper.

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Since it's that time of year when people start planning where they're going to live when they come to uni next year, I thought a few blogs on accommodation options on campus would be timely. First up, we have St Andrew's College. St. Andrew’s, or Drew’s, as it’s known to residents, is located just inside the University gates. Once you enter the gates to Drew’s, you continue along an open path, beside a football oval. If it’s a weekday afternoon, you’re likely to see students enjoying a game of footy, soccer, or cricket. They might be training for the Rawson or Rosebowl Cups; but most probably, they’re just letting off steam after a tough day of classes.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere springs a castle-like building. How long have you been walking? You scratch your head and furrow your brow. Are you in Scotland?

Nope - it’s just St. Andrew’s College, Sydney University’s most beautiful residential college.

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Last night, I broke all the rules in the rule book. I went out the night before an exam. I also enjoyed myself. I smiled during the exam period. I spent hours indulging in the hedonistic pleasures of life. I witnessed the mesmerising U2 concert.

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I’m bobbing in the middle of the Charles, its liquid silver waters stretching flat out around me. The sun is shining but the chill in the air keeps it from beating down. Without even thinking I begin singing to myself, a manifestation of the perfect moment and my absolute happiness in it. As I croon away I suddenly stumble on a lyric long enough to realise just exactly what it is I am singing. I almost fall out of the boat in embarrassment… it's Mariah Carey - Always be my Baby.

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After I finished my thesis, I had the thought that I didn’t have to read any academic materials until next March! How’s that for a holiday?!

Now with semester over and thesis handed in I can enjoy living the student life! And I started by going to the Newtown Festival…

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During the school holidays, my cousin who is currently in Year 9 decided to tag along to uni with me. I thought it would be a very good indicator of a first time uni experience, so here are the things that have become second nature to me, and I would otherwise forget to inform you about:

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So, you know when you see yourself on video or hear yourself on tape, and the first, nay, ONLY thought that pops into your mind is, “GOOD GOD, HOW DO PEOPLE STAND THAT VOICE?”

Well it could be worse.

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During exam period, students tend to transform into creatures from boring land with nothing to talk about except split ends having split ends. Summer plans may feature in a conversation, but more often than not the student is really just concerned with passing exams.

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Water, water all around, so let’s all drink... something else.

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My parents decided to take a trip down to Melbourne and Tasmania for a few weeks. This has never happened. I was never the kid whose parents just “went away for a while” and left them at home. Alone.

“Partyyyyyy!!!!!!!” was my initial reaction

“Bugger.... exams.....” was my subsequent reaction when I noticed the dates they would be away.

I know a lot of people are trying to decide whether to move out of home when they start uni. If you live in Sydney and are able to commute, I strongly recommend you stay put for at least the first year while you settle in. Figure out how much study your degree entails, how long you can afford to work a week, hunt for a stable job to fit this, and save up some money. If you’re still not convinced, read on for more reasons...

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A friend’s brother thought he would be funny and told me a story about his toilets at work. Apparently, someone had written above the toilet paper dispenser:

ARTS DEGREE
please take one

Needless to say, being a proud Arts/Law student, I was fuming…

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All Hallows Eve

2 Nov

Did you know that Halloween originated in Ireland and Scotland? And that you can carve turnips instead of pumpkins?

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As a science student, I have a lot of exams. I think Simon has like, 2. Last semester I’m pretty sure Alex had none.

And I’m not trying to grab a sympathy vote, because honestly, I prefer it this way.

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As my exams creep up and I hand in the last of my assignments for the year, quite a few people at college have gone home for the study vacation to avoid the rampant (and highly contagious) college procrastination syndrome. I, in what may [read: will] prove to be a less than wise decision, have decided to stay and sit out the most dull and uninteresting study-filled *!* week of the semester... and rather than studying hard I find myself hardly studying. So while I hardly study I thought I’d do something remotely productive and add to Asako’s Wandering Thoughts with a list à-la-Letterman of my absolute Top 10 “To-Do”s [read: displacement activities] as an expert college procrastinator (in ascending order)...

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