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July 2008

SURG FM!

31 Jul

The beginning of my second semester at the University of Sydney means only one thing. It’s time for Uni Radio.

The Sydney University Radio Group (SURG) is a small but enthusiastic group of people who like the sound of their own voice. A friend and I decided we could not pass up the opportunity to communicate our comediocrity to anyone who will listen, so the two of us joined up during O-week for the small fee of three dollars.

SURG broadcasts on 90.9 FM. After a very brief demonstration of the simple equipment, the executive committee pretty much lets you say what you like. Other kinds of shows include chart countdowns, breakfast shows, heavy metal broadcasts and the odd variety hour.

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NAPSA AGM

30 Jul

In the holidays, I was lucky enough to be able to attend NAPSA* AGM** as the NAPSA rep for SUPA***. You must be wondering—what’s up with the acronyms? Well, at uni there’s a lot, and on the topic of shorthandedness—you’ll get very good at it, trust me. But I digress...

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So the holidays are officially over, which means that I have to get myself organised. I have done a few things to get to this ideal stage of productivity. I have bought a five subject notebook from Kikki K - Swedish paper goods just seem much nicer than any other type. In my uni career I have used many different types of books for writing in - starting with, first year, the free ones from the Co-op bookshop (I'm not sure that this happens anymore), and then graduating to small Moleskine notebooks filled with black felt tip scrawl, which worked well because I could put them in any size bag and they looked so artsy I was delighted to go to class just so I could show them off. Anyway, I then moved on to multiple-subject notebooks with internal dividers - I have never used a ring-bind folder at uni, they are far too bulky and annoying and as an arts student I rarely get sheets anyway. One semester I did get a few sheets so I bought some simple display folders to store them in. And now I have one from Kikki K, and it is green, and its pristine white pages and classy index page make me happy with anticipation.

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It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a harried University student must be in want of a decent cup of coffee. The idea that caffeine not only improves the university experience but is integral to it is undeniable. You need to look no further than the queues that snake down Manning Road or outside Footbridge for some concrete evidence. But coffee is more than just the cornerstone of the student experience; it is a metaphor for it. So, permit me to wax poetical about the metaphoricity of coffee (and yes, I am an English major…). If you think about it, it is easy to see how life at Sydney Uni can be summed up by appealing to the figure of the humble cup of coffee. Today, students are super busy. They are running about trying to fulfil loads of commitments such as holding down a part time job, trying to get their uni assignments in while attempting to have something resembling a social life. So, it is easy for the ‘University Experience’ to be put on the backburner. University can easily become something you ‘do’ as opposed to something that you absorb so that it becomes a part of you. Thinking about University life in these terms, you have to ask yourself, do you sip it slowly to make it last? Or is education consumable, disposable or expendable? Does it leave you with an acrid taste in your mouth? Or is it sweet and satisfying?

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don’t know if any of you guys have noticed, but it’s bloody freezing.
It’s so cold in Sydney right now that I’m keeping my freezer door open in the hope that it will heat up the house a little. I have to type this entry with my chattering teeth for fear of losing my fingers if I remove them from my pockets. I’ve lost my sense of smell, not because I have a head cold but because my nose has frozen off.

Ok, so maybe I’m catastrophising little, but I’ve just come back from Fiji, where it only gets nippy when there’s a Great White around. Thankfully it seems the sharks were on holidays too for the time I was there, so my two friends and I were able to enjoy our fun in the sun relatively uninterrupted. If you’ve just spent the last two weeks in Sydney, I’m sure you’d like to hear about a warm weather getaway on a student budget, so that maybe you won’t make the same mistake next winter break. So here is what I did.

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An advantage of being a humanities student at Sydney university is that I rarely have a class start before 10 a.m. This yields its own advantages; sleep-ins, time for a leisurely cup of tea in the morning as I read the newspaper, or time to put the finishing touches on an essay towards the end of semester - lets face it, I probably only started writing the essay the night before so these few extra hours available to me in the morning are crucial. My favourite thing about my mid-morning starts, however, is the chance to get a FREE-parking spot in the clearway on Parramatta Road. I know it sounds a little pathetic - but free parking from 10 til 3 has, on more than one occasion in the midst of essay deadlines and exam stress, made my university day.

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And as one semester ends, another one rolls along (rather quickly and unexpectedly if you are in mid-year break). A few days ago results were posted online - but not without added suspense. Supposedly they would be snail mailed to us on the 17th, and usuall they are released quite a few days before that online, but there was nothing, and we were very grumbly. Considering that we had all already chosen our subjects for next semester, it would be nice to know how we went in these ones, in case we failed or something. Then suddenly, they were locked, and we were unable to access them at all, which was a good sign, really, because at least something was happening. It's strange how you look forward to something even if there is a chance it could be bad news.

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Ok, as we roll our merry way towards the end of our holidays, you might ask – what exactly do uni students do during our long breaks? No doubt we fill our days with parties and social events, sleeping till noon and drinking till dawn. At this very moment, a great deal of my close friends are travelling to Thredbo for a week of snow-bound revelry. Of course, which brings me to reveal that (quite ironically) for some, the holidays bring no end to the actual work for uni. As a participant – and leader – of a first year Advanced Engineering group, my abilities are increasing greatly as I realise *smacks self repeatedly in the head* Don’t - leave - things - for- the - last - minute.

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Hey dudes and hip chicks,

I recently had an enquiry on this blog about transferring to Sydney Uni if you don’t first get into the course you want.

So I thought I should deliver with the inside scoop.

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Dear Denial,

I have written you a thousand love letters, why don’t you write me back? Sometimes- when I am waiting in line at the supermarket, feeding my dogs or even in that fractional moment of repose between the sentences of a stream of consciousness rant- I find myself longing for your sweet embrace. As clandestine as our relationship is, this infatuation is not borne of a crazy, fumbling un-buttoning of a new sordid affair. No, this is comfortable love. Steady. Consistent. A rock solid, enduring, enveloping love. I think you are my safe place. It is undeniable that you have loved me too, Denial, I mean… I have always found you popping up, showing through, proving yourself to be the reaction I no longer bother registering. You lure me to a place that is so much nicer than The Everyday. You make it beautiful, you make it okay.

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Apologies for the lack of entries! Things became rather busy. Let me explain.

I took four subjects last semester because I want to finish my undergraduate degree this year (so I can do any of a few things that I have planned, including - fix up some health problems, travel to London, move to Melbourne, get a full time job, etc.) As a consequence of this decision, I was busy. Very busy. I chose subjects that required a lot of reading and even more thought - third year English subjects especially, and pre-Honours subjects. If you are looking to do honours make sure you find out what is required from the faculty or department that you are studying under. You probably need to complete the requirements for a major and a bit more, and possibly take some specific subjects that teach you about research or other things necessary for an honours degree.

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You are an ordinary Sydney Girl. Your days are spent learning about the American Civil War, having chance encounters with friends in Sydney Uni's quadrangle and drinking flat whites at an array of nearby coffee spots. Two afternoons a week you tutor kids in English and every Wednesday you meet your two besties to drink tea, eat a questionable number of Tim Tams and discuss issues of serious global import...like which of the boys from Gossip Girl is the hottest.

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As exams finish, first semester comes to a close and the holidays begin, I wonder why, with my parents still in Europe, I am still sitting here. Is it because I have nothing better to do? Am I in shock that my first semester of university is over? Are my legs broken?

No.

No dear readers. My legs are fine, if not a little hairy. I sit here still because of my undying desire to tell all of you about my first semester at the University of Sydney, so that you might know a little of what to expect before you get here yourself. I say “might” because to be honest, I haven’t exactly been here that long.

So here are five things you should know about Sydney before your first semester.


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