Post Mid Sem Break Check In Check Out

(or, a series of unrelated observations)

It’s Pepper!

You would not believe the amount of half-written blog drafts I have sitting around collecting dust already. It seems I’ve been yearning for a writing project, and now that I have one, I’m so pleased that I don’t know what to do with myself. Alas. 

We’ve just come back from the Mid-Semester/Easter break, and, speaking in the only measurement of time that matters, it’s the end of Week 6. My thoughts turn to mid sem tests and end-of-semester-torture-devices disguised as exam rooms, and I confess. I baulk. The pressure to do well, to prove to your assessors and yourself that you’ve spent the past few months productively and absorbed all there is to know, is definitely present. The fear of not knowing if you’ve missed something, if you’ll be asked something obscure, the background noise of ever-present gut-wrenching anticipation in the weeks leading up to results… Exam periods are rough.

I’ve started adapting to uni life. I see things around campus that no longer shock me: a mad lad playing League of Legends in the front row of a lecture theatre, a fabulously flamboyant gay couple strutting in unison as they walk to lunch, or even an abandoned car park hosting band practice. It’s all part of the hodgepodge of individuality that is uni life, as far as I’m concerned. I know that I’ve signed up for too many commitments. I’m painfully aware of the marked-up prices for a sandwich or beverage, but I indulge nonetheless – Treat Yourself, is the motto of the day, I’ll say. (‘F*** Thinner, Eat Dinner,’ command the city slicker stickers.)

I’ve found there’s a trap that I’m falling into when I write, where every second sentence reads negative and downtrodden. Might I defend myself with the Kafka Phenomenon as a shield? That being, the phenomenon in which a writer will almost always sound negatively inclined, because writing is a cathartic act, and a disproportionate amount of time spent writing is in distress. View Kafka’s gallery of journal examples: 21 July 1913, ‘Nothing, nothing, nothing. Weakness, self-destruction, tip of a flame of hell piercing the floor’, and 19 June 1916, ‘you see only [the room’s] emptiness, you search in every corner and don’t find yourself’. Rarely do I feel the need to commit pen-to-paper the triumphs of my day; yet the melodramatic in me is soothed by the same simple act.

The social system in uni confounds me. You can have a friend for every lecture or tute you have, but never connect with them outside of course work. You can connect with friends outside of your faculty, but never have the time to hang out with them consistently. It takes real planning and prioritising to catch up with high school friends, and even more effort to stay in contact with primary school friends. At this point, I am of the belief that the only way you can have an active social life in uni is to simply not care about the longevity of your friendships. It feels bleak, but every avenue explored and failed is like a raindrop in a monsoon of platonic heartbreak. It might not matter much because the relationship was novel and shallow, but it hurts all the same, and the heartbreaks steadily add up. And of course, there’s always the cryptic, romantically ambiguous friendships. How do we define friends, when the tides are constantly ebbing and flowing, and the circumstances and our interpretations of situations are always in turmoil? People (or perhaps interpersonal politics) confuse me.

Campus life is bustling. There’s always events happening on every corner, and there are certain pockets of Parkville which deserve to be named Main Street, or the like. I’ve already fallen into a rhythm when it comes to my schedule: I know where my buildings are, and I’ve started finding shortcuts and pathways, and rooms that feel like whispered secrets. It’s a good feeling. I’m integrating, like a little puzzle piece into the bigger puzzle of Melbourne Uni. The question remains: have I found the place where I belong, or am I forcibly squeezing myself into places I wish I did?

It’s a cold sunny day in April and the curtains are flung wide open,


One thought on “Post Mid Sem Break Check In Check Out

  1. Isn’t it wonderful to discover those hidden gems. We love having you here, Pepper!
    P.S. Your phrase, ‘speaking in the only measurement of time that matters’ is gold!

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