So much to tell you…. (Sophie)

The first week of classes has been full-on from day one. Sleep has become an invaluable product that is easily drained away with nights full of organisation for the next day and 7am morning starts. My first official week as a Commerce student has passed, I am now onto the second, and I must admit, with 3 assignments already, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed. Of course before I came here I had expectations or ideas of what it would be like. Now many of those expectations or ideas have been forced to change, or ignored altogether.

My first expectation of university was that they would ease us into the subjects. I thought we wouldn’t receive any assignments for about 2 weeks. However ‘easing’ new students into their first year at Melbourne consists of about 30 minutes in each subject explaining the outline of the course before having the lecturer direct you to the internet site containing the first assignment!

The actual work itself has also varied in what I thought it would be like. A SHORT essay at uni (within the commerce department at least) is considered to be about 800 words. In year 12, many of the ‘normal’ essays we wrote were 800-1000 words, so you can imagine what I’m now expecting a ‘normal’ essay at Melbourne Uni to consist of! At the same time though, I didn’t expect us to do things like multiple choice tests that contribute to our mark. (One in just a few weeks, to be completed online, contributes to 5% of a subject mark!).

Lectures are exactly like I expected, with at times maybe 500 people in one lecture theatre, scribbling notes on paper while attempting to listen to the lecturer at the same time. Finding the best way to take down the information in lectures is something one must discover for themselves and I am currently switching between printing out the lecturer’s slides or overheads before a lecture, and adding notes to them…or alternatively using just a pen and paper to take down what I believe to be the most important points (saving a tonne of paper and ink in the process!).

I didn’t know what to expect of my actual lecturers but so far all of them have been nothing but top class; all obviously very intelligent and leaders within their respective fields. I already hold a deep respect for all of them. (*prays my lecturers are reading this and take it into consideration when marking my assignments!*)

Tutorials were something of which I had no idea of. It turns out that tutorials (also called ‘tutes’) are probably the one thing at uni that semi-resemble the ‘high school way of life’! It is a good feeling to have a format of learning you are familiar with! Usually a ‘tute’ consists of about 20 students and a Tutor who manages the class. Now the tutor can range from any age, but is always someone who has a deep understanding of the subject they are taking. During tutes the aim is to work in small groups to discuss practical exercise relating to the previous lecture for the subject. It is about participation and formulation of ideas through interactive discussion. Added to this is the fact you have to complete small assignments for your tutors, which they then mark and give back to you. These marks contribute to your final subject score. The best thing about tutes? The fact you get marks JUST FOR TURNING UP!! Imagine if high school was like that?! Part of your ENTER score from just arriving at school each day!

So enough about the academic side to uni, of course one of the most important aspects of attending university is the ability to experience a great social environment and amazing opportunities for extra-curricular activities. Personally it saddens me that so many more students these days seem to be attending university for a simple degree and nothing more.

I see this as a direct response to the Howard Government making it harder for those on low incomes to survive in our society. In particular with what seems to be regularly increasing HECS fees, the removal of worker’s rights and the toughening up of the welfare system….so many more students facing university on low incomes are now forced to ignore anything but necessary degree requirements in favour of what can be up to, or more, than 30 hours a week of part time work.

Universities are the intellectual underpinning for the economic, social and cultural development of our society. Through their teaching, research and community service, universities make a vibrant and energetic contribution to the current and future success of Australia. It is here where the youth of today have the best opportunity to develop and expand their horizons with the aim of contributing to not only their own lives, but the lives of others.

With that in mind, I know I am one of the lucky ones as I do not have to face the rigorous part time work schedules many students have to. Hence, I have taken it upon myself to throw myself into the extra-curricular environment of university. I have strong hopes and the goal of broadening my own perspectives, growing as an individual and making myself the best person I can be in order to be a future leader and great contributor to not only Australian society, but the global society we now live in.

So from this perspective, so far I have become a member of: Melbourne University Debating Association (MUDS), The Political Interest Society, The Womyn’s Club, Melbourne University Tennis Club (MUTC), Melbourne University Greens, The Commerce Students Society, The Financial Management Association Australia (FMAA)…and I have been dodging between which political party club to affiliate myself with! The Liberals have been MOST hospitable and I have appreciated it greatly. A particular shout-out of thanks to B.R of the Liberal Club for always being one of The Most Friendly People I Have Ever Met! So far the Liberals have tried to ply me with free alcohol, invites to play paintball, free lollies, and enough compliments/charm to fill a wheel-barrow! And someone tell me please…who can resist the cute little Ralph Lauren polo-shirt that by now has become mainstream fashion culture (I CAN!).

Now I admit that I am fully aware I do not have the time (or energy) to commit myself in full to all these clubs, however I feel I will go along to meetings/events and soon decide which clubs I feel most comfortable in and most willing to focus the majority of my time in. The others I will remain more of a peripheral member, attending meetings and events when I can.

So far I know I will definitely have an active membership of the tennis club as I am joining their Sunday afternoon social competition. I also went to a Political Interest Society meeting the other day and was immediately impressed by the intellectual quality of the other members! I can’t wait to debate and discuss political issues with them! Even in the introductory meeting a group of us started an interesting discussion (not on politics!) about the current VCE ENTER system, questioning its value and the positives and negatives of such high scores being required for degrees such as Law.

Another group I did consider joining was the Archon Leadership Program. I was very interested in the program after talking to one of the Directors by the name of J. After making the effort to attend their intoductory/information session I was very disappointed. I felt they lacked the ability to clearly set out what their program was about and how they planned to practically:

“unlock the secrets to ultimate success”
“develop quality character that will attract followers”
“maximise your personal productivity”
“positively influence those around you”
“build your resume”.

*source: Their website

All in all they came across sounding like a positive thinking cult with a whole lot to say and not much to do about it. Their first meeting featured a Really Nice Aussie Guy who was the life coach of some random sports club on the peripherals of Melbourne (You can probably tell I’m not a big sports fan!). For at least half an hour he talked about how he rose from being nothing to something. I think it was meant to be inspiring. Or maybe I was just impatient at the time?

To me, and I must ascertain that this is my Personal Opinion Only…I felt attending was a waste of my time. Listening to motivational speakers may be somewhat motivating, but building leadership requires more than just hearing what other people have done with their lives. I wanted to hear the pragmatic vision of the club, what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it- and I wanted to hear this from the second I walked in the door.

I must admit I left the meeting half way through (to find like-minded people in the Political Interest Society meeting!), so I hope that the guy soon quit talking and the Directors soon started explaining something more practical….

Something tells me that didn’t happen however, as I approached one of the Directors before the start explaining I was very interested in being involved but I had to be at two places at once during the allocated time period, and was it ok if I left early? I would have thought he’d tell me anything important before I left. He didn’t.

Right now I am also considering joining AIESEC – a youth leadership program on campus. It sounds like a great opportunity to challenge yourself and benefit society. I was massively impressed with the information session I attended last Thursday. Everywhere Archon Leadership went wrong, they went right! I personally approached the President, Alex Lobov, to congratulate him on a fantastic effort after the presentation. I very much want to join, though right now I am wondering if I want to join something that is a minimum time commitment of 1-2 hours a week. I am just a bit unsure at this point if this could become a future problem with my expected workload. I think I will email them and ask if it is a big problem to reduce your level of commitment if need be.

Already I am understanding that time management skills at uni are a must. In some ways I wish that I had more time to come to terms with everything first, (it is all so much to take in and understand) but then I feel that perhaps this way is best as it is forcing me to immediately face the realities of uni life -that one must be independent, focussed and self-motivated. Anyone can get a degree, but getting a degree with top marks (one of my goals) is something that requires effort and dedication.

Despite feeling uncertain of where I stand in relation to the workload expectations and the abilities of other students in my subjects, I know if it gets too much help IS available to me.

During O-Week one of the things that surprised me the most was the amount of services available on campus for students to use (95% being completely FREE!). The difference is that if you are having problems, the onus is on YOU to find and access the help yourself. No one will magically appear and ask “Are you ok?” or “This is where you go to get help and this is who to ask for.”

Getting help requires taking responsibility for yourself. To some students straight out of high school, this task may appear foreign and overwhelming, but I would ask those people to remember that most of them are by now 18, and holding the responsibility of voting, drinking and driving a car – is taking responsibility for your own learning too much to ask?

For added thought, if we look back 100 years ago, people of our age were more often than not out working or married with a child on the way. Looking after our own self seems a minimal responsibility compared to what our forefathers and foremothers had to do!

In the coming weeks I will do my best to provide online links to places at uni that can provide useful services, but at this point I will provide a link to the alphabetically ordered directory of everything on campus.

So far I have found this index most useful for finding specific things or simply just exploring what is available for us to access.

If worst come to worst, risk embarrassment and just ASK SOMEONE AT UNI!

The other day I couldn’t deal with the prospect of waiting around campus for 4 hours until a management tutorial. I had no idea who to approach to get this changed, as the Alloc8 program continued to tell me that every other suitable tute time was full. I went to the general faculty office, approached the most friendly looking woman at the desk (key point, someone with smiles lines is most likely going to be the best bet), asked politely and concisely “Excuse me but who would I go and speak to in order to change my management tutorial time?” This lady was very kind and directed me to the 5th floor of the Babel Building. On the 5th floor I approached the department desk to see a sign directing me to a certain room between the hours of about 10:30am and 12:30pm if I wanted to change my tute time! With 15 minutes to spare, I hurried down to the room, knocked at the door, explained what I wanted and within TWO MINUTES was in my ideal tutorial time!!!!

Now of course, it might not always be this easy (my friend D had trouble changing an economics tute time as sometimes classes are filled to the limit, and technically you are meant to be available from 9-5pm every week day for uni ), however he did eventually get it changed through persistent emails asking if anyone wanted to swap times with him.

My point is though, with a bit of forced confidence and not being afraid to ask, you can get what you need done quickly and efficiently, alleviating possible stress from a problem.

So with everything said so far,

I must finish this entry for now, saying a big GOOD LUCK to all my fellow first years, and a warm welcome to all my other readers!


The Most Important Things (Johanna)

Warning to all – when you attend welcome sessions and transition workshops, there are a couple of very important things that they forget to tell. A basic rule I have now learnt is: wear comfortable shoes to uni. There is a hell of a lot of walking around to be done. I thought I was being all sensible by wearing flat shoes – it only took ten minutes for me to find out that, yes, they may be flat, but they are also too tight around the heel, too pointy and probably should be worn with socks. Ouch. Many moments of wishing I had bandaids. Another thing is that you should dress in layers! Weather can change extraordinarily quickly in Melbourne.

Apart from my mutilated heels, school’s a blast. I think I’m getting the hang on my subjects – modern literature is brilliant fun! Right now we’re studying Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, a play about a woman who leaves her family. It’s a poignant and sinister-beneath-the-surface kind of play, and I love it. I think I’m still in the honeymoon period, because I haven’t been able to analyse or critique it in my mind, I just adore it. My other subjects are lovely as well – Chinese has a wonderful atmosphere. There are… probably less than 20 people in the class and we have the same teacher (the classy Zhou Shaoming) for three out of four classes. It feels like high school, which is extremely welcome, especially in a subject that continually makes me feel like an idiot.

I’m settling into my house situation nicely – there have been quite a few drunken kitchen parties and 1am movies together, it’s nice. However, somebody stole my milk this morning – NOT HAPPY JAN! I had bought a carton of milk and only used it once, just to put a splash of milk in some milo. Then this morning, I woke up to find my almost full milk carton had been left on the bench for hours, slowly going sour. I have no idea who used it, but it was just really really really annoying – especially when I went to make breakfast and realised that I had no milk! Grrrrr! No use crying over spilled milk, or any milk.

Speaking of milk, one of the hardest things I’m facing at the moment is the whole cooking-for-myself thing. It’s hard work! First of all there is the quandary of ‘what am I going to make?’. Then I have to figure out if I can afford it, what ingredients I will need, whether or not I should make more and freeze it, etc. The majority of the time, so far, I have been too lazy to even consider these things, instead opting for two-minute noodles or baked bean jaffles. Something must be done!

My boyfriend visited me on the weekend – he’s going to Deakin Waurn Ponds. Originally he was going to transfer to Burwood so that we could live in Melbourne together, but alas… it was not to be. So instead, he arranged his timetable so that he has no classes on Friday or Monday, leaving four days to visit me, should he choose! He stayed Friday night and Saturday night, then we checked out the Sydney Road Festival. It was great fun – there was an African vocalist singing on the Blues and Roots Music Stage who was gorgeous beyond gorgeous. Listening to her just made my body feel like it had to dance; a similar thing happens to me when I’m watching musicals, either on stage or on television – I get this choked up feeling in my throat like my voice just wants to sing along. I am looking forward to throwing myself into the theatre scene as soon as I’m more settled. A part time job would be nice.

GAH! I just found out that the topic for the first Literature assignment will be handed out at the end of the week. Oh tragedy, oh pain, oh agony… assignments. Matthew (my darling boyfriend) told me that assignments were the first thing that made uni serious – it took him until he got his first one to realise that university wasn’t going to be simply one big party, as much as O-week might make it look that way. It’s only a 1000 word essay, so it shouldn’t be so terrible. But with such a constrained word limit, it has to be quality.

Alright, I’m slipping off onto tangents… until next time!

Love from Johanna

Playing it Alone (Chris)

Independence is a big thing, people. Right now it’s probably a pretty attractive prospect to many of you – no parents to deal with, no rules to live by except your own, endless partying and socialising. And let me assure you that in the context of University study, this is all true. But at the same time, you’re on your own, so it’s essential to consider what it is that you’re forgoing when you move out of home and into independent surroundings. You’ve got to take responsibility for many things like cooking, cleaning, washing and drying clothes as well as purchasing goods and household services like gas and electricity. These are things you previously take for granted, and now, you’ve got to manage them and come in within a budget! While independence is certainly liberating, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I’m making the transition to independence with good progress. My housemates and I aren’t too overwhelmed with the load of responsibility now on our shoulders, although things might change as the University workload increases. It’s a big challenge, but hey, if I wasn’t up for it I never would have moved from Sydney! I’m on the lookout for work again as my transfer from Myer in New South Wales to Melbourne doesn’t appear to have been accepted. But I’m managing to balance a lot of my time spent job-hunting and playing the adult with going out and enjoying time with friends. Melbourne’s live music scene is brilliant, and I can’t wait to further experience Brunswick St. this weekend.

On the front of lectures / tutorials, that might perhaps warrant its own entry when I can find the motivation to keep typing 🙂

First week (Jim)

The curtain of uni has opened ( i mean uni has started), it is busy, which makes me feel stressful, feeling kind of lethargy now.

Uni envrionment is excellent, so don’t let me disappoint u. Everthing u need to study and to have fun are available.

The lectures were great generally. Professor Ian malkin and Simona gory teach me in law. They are really dedicated in teaching. I need to participate more in class discussion though, feeling kind of nervous in speaking out even though i constantly urged myself to talk. It doesn’t seem to work, i know my weakness but can’t overcome it yet. So it is a bit frustrating. I acknowledge i am afraid of making a fool of myself. I know all this negative thought is wrong, but still it is hard to overcome it.
The pace of learning is fast, so i spend lots time pre studying. Not enough time to revise. The workload is pretty heavy.

Regarding my social life, i met lots of new friends. But it is hard to really develop a very fun interaction with them in this short period of time. I find it hard to maintain a fun conversation with them .

My O-Week (Chris)

NOTE: This is a little late, apologies. But still highly applicable!

O-Week is a great opportunity to experience at University what you’ll be doing when not studying and attending lectures and tutorials. For any Arts students like me, who only go to classes for about 12 hours a week, extracurricular fun is going to compromise a lot of your University time. At least that’s what all the clubs and societies I joined would suggest. Free Beer, More Beer, Chocolate Lovers, Friends of Unnatural Llamas, Labor, Liberal, Arts Societies, Arts Collectives… there were such a diverse range of clubs that I practically wanted to join them all. This is possibly because they offered very lucrative benefits to new members eg. A free BBQ or trendy T-Shirt (students don’t have much money for food or fashionable clothing). I think that with the clubs I finally did decide to join, I might become involved in their activities and perhaps even land a bureaucratic leadership role!

Mind you, O-Week isn’t just about joining clubs and societies; only the last two days were allocated to such activities. The first day, Monday, was a great introduction to the University and some of its staff and services through the transition O-Day for students from interstate or overseas. There was lots of free food (buzz words!), new friends to talk to and meet and a quiz, which our group of highly intelligent Arts students won! The prize was a $20 voucher each for the University Bookstore, which, as any diligent pupil would do, was spent on subject textbooks. Important thing to remember kids – regardless of what University you go to and your particular course, you’re going to need to buy textbooks and they don’t come cheap. Unless you have the motivation to go around to the second hand stores and buy them from there. Even then, second hand book sellers know how to get blood from a stone: despite poverty and reckless spending of disposable income, students need their texts. Thus, they mark up prices for University texts considerably (DISCLAIMER: this may be little more than student folklore, and in no way intends to defame and / or hurt the reputation of second hand bookstores and / or their employees and / or their immediate families.)

Anyway, Monday wasn’t open to everyone, thereby leaving Tuesday as the official start of O-Week. Because my lazy Student Host hadn’t bothered to contact me, one of my roommates and I attached ourselves to a different group of Arts students to tour the campus and spend part of the day. Our surrogate hosts were awesome and there were some very cool, interesting people in the group. I already started to feel more at home with the notion of spending at least the next three years of my life on the campus. However, during these tours, we were constantly bombarded by a highly dangerous, aggressive group of student militia who persisted to ambush us whenever we stopped to look at a particular building. They call themselves the “Socialist Alliance” and they are armed with two of the most deadly tools of any student group: self-righteous politics and tenaciousness. Whenever our adopted hosts opened their mouths to talk to us, they would be drowned out by cries of “social inequality!” and “troops out of Iraq!”. Whilst this blog is politically unaligned, there could surely have been a more appropriate time and place to spread your ideas comrades. Tuesday was also the great Student Services carnival with lots more free food, giveaways and information handed out by the Student Union.

Wednesday was an academic day, consisting of sessions giving information on how to study and take notes at University (unsurprisingly, not all that different than high school – perhaps my stance on this might change in a few weeks?) and write effective essays. There were also faculty welcomes, and my own at the School of Creative Arts (which, ironically, is housed in arguably the most plainly designed building on campus) was an informative experience finished by a sushi lunch. I met some more people, signed up for the remainder of my tutorials, and learnt of another stack of books I needed to purchase.

It’s been a riveting week, and after a busy but memorable weekend, I am looking forward to classes starting tomorrow. Slight feelings of homesickness aside and lack of any real employment, I think I am starting to sink roots into the city of Melbourne.


Sunshine and Fairy Floss (Johanna)

I am hoping that this will not turn into a bland recitation of ‘what I did on O-week’, so I feel I should introduce myself! My story will be much more interesting if you know where it’s coming from. My name is Johanna and I’m 18 years old, hailing from good ol’ Geelong (just over an hour from Melbourne). Having come from a regional city and an all-girl school, uni is a bit of a shock. I’ve also had to move out, which adds even more spice! You can probably read more about me in my profile, so read away!

Orientation was unlike anything I expected of university. Everything I knew told me that university would be some kind of forum for stuffy grey-suited, bespectacled professors dithering over any number of subjects so fascinating. Orientation, I thought, would be some kind of shockingly awkward ploy to make friends whether we wanted to or not.

However, I was very suprised.

One thing that really struck me was that everybody here was.. well, just like me. We were all similar ages, interested in similar things and similarly scared/excited. We all ran around campus, eating fairy floss and snowcones, pretending to be Commerce students to score free noodles – things like that. Alas, I didn’t really make any friends. I chatted with various people, but there weren’t any people who I had that incredible click with, which is a pity. I only know three people coming to the University of Melbourne, all of them in different faculties to me. Mental note – must.. make.. friends!

Another thing I’ve had to deal with is moving out. After packing all of my worldly possessions into a ridiculous number of fruit boxes, we loaded up the car and set off for beauteous Brunswick. Matthew, my boyfriend, came along to ‘help carry boxes’, but wasn’t actually much help at all. But I was surprised at how little time it all took – within two hours of arriving, my room was completely set up – bed made, ornaments arranged, books stacked and clothes hung neatly in the wardrobe. I didn’t expect that my Mum would help me do all that, but I was so grateful for it.

Then my family and Matthew left. They got back in the car, and it suddenly hit me that I couldn’t go back with them. It was a rather casual goodbye – I was so afraid that I was going to cry, but I didn’t. Going back up to my lonely room, I was quite miserable. Luckily, there was a lovely young man to be my friend. His name is Shaun and he lives across the hall from me (we live in like.. a dormitory above a karate school). He befriended me and made dinner for me and generally gave lots of hugs. It was nice to have someone to distract me when I felt so lonely. The feeling is continuing, but becoming less as I now have lots of uni-related things to do! However it is still a struggle for me, every single night when I realise that not only do I have to decide what to have for dinner, but I have to make it and clean up after myself. Yes, I was a slovenly teenager, and this house-training will be good for me, but it’s bloody hard in the beginning.

Lectures started on Monday – going to my first one was like shaking off the dust and cobwebs from an ancient relic in an undiscovered tomb. It was ridiculous. Now, I can’t believe I was ever considering taking a gap year – the three (maybe four) month break between high school and university was enough to forget how to listen and pay attention. I’m quite certain another year of doing nothing would have rendered me a vegetable.

My subjects – Modern Literature, Reason, Responsibility and Religion, Chinese 1A, and Pyramids and Princes: Egypt and the Near East. It’s so exciting – I’m interested in each one just as much as the last, and they’re all areas of study that I adore. So far, I’ve had my two lectures for the week for Modern Literature with Stephanie Trigg. Everybody has at least one teacher that stands out from the rest as somebody who inspires, rather than just pumping your head full of knowledge. I have a feeling that Ms. Trigg might end up as one of those people – she is so passionate about everything she says, speaking at a million miles an hour as if the words, feelings, ideas and imaginings can’t come out quickly enough. It’s brilliant!

I’m also having fun discovering places around campus – I know where most of my lecture theatres are, except one that is in the medical building for some unknown reason. I’ve discovered where the nice lawns are to sit and read and now, I’ve discovered where I can use a computer at uni (fourth floor, Union House!). It’s a pity though that there aren’t such detailed maps for everything else – I spent forty minutes yesterday walking around a block that said “Safeway” on the side of it, trying to figure out where the entrance was (in Sydney Road, duhh..). As for discovering the finer things in Melbourne, alas! I am too poor currently – I’m hoping that I can talk about some of my adventures in beautiful restaurants, scintillating boutiques and unique speciality shops soon, but I can’t afford anything right now (my Dad can though… *smiles evilly*). Hopefully he will be able to fund some adventures for me to talk about in the next installment! Until then…. !

Love from Johanna

The Debut (Jim)

Hello All:
My name is Jim Li. I am a first year law student. NIce to meet you. I was borned in China, came to Australia since 1998, August. I live in Preston and attended Reservoir District High school (normal public school). I am a normal teenager who loves sport and comedy, etc. I got into Melbourne through hardwork in vce. teachers and my family also helped tremendously to get me into Melb uni. I have to say it is excellent generally studying at Melb uni. I will try to give you an insight of uni life. THis week i will focus on STUDY EXPERIENCE. (i am aiming to write an interesting weekly blog re. my experience AS A FIRST yr uni student)

To begin with, let me try to unravel the key to study achievement, according to my understanding.
Firstly i set up a goal in yr 12 to work my hardest. So i did and organise my time mostly to study. (put in the effort, u’ll get the reward.)
2) Use some study tech to improve efficiency, eg active learning, critical reading, etc. Check out this site. It is great resource. Melb uni has amazing resouces by the way.

3) From what i see: try to get involved in study competitions, eg maths, chess, science etc. I met Tian ( He got 99.95 last yr in Uni high), he told me he got trained in those activties. His maths skill is awsome, he got 49 for Spec maths. Not to forget, He worked hard too.

Returning now to my course, i pick law because i found it was actually very very interesting! Prof Ian Malkin presented this law sample lecture during UNi open day. I got captivated. So it is, Worthwhile to check out OPEN DAY.

I am very happy that i made this decision to do law as i participated in the orientation programs and really enjoyed the experience. Now i can blow the myth that melb uni sucks at providing service to students as well as ppl are stuck up, away!!. I’ll tell you Melb uni is so fantastic. Just to name a few, staff, esp the transistion staff are extremely friendly, student societies (huge num. of clubs) are cheap to join and so fun to participate. Everyone i met are amiable too. Basically my activities involve meeting people at food function.

Though there ARE NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES TOO. Uni is big in terms of physical dimension that u need a good skill in map reading. I got lost a couple of times, feels pretty forlorn.

Another THING: (JUST IN MY LAW falculty), the culture is pretty demoralising to my hard working philosophy. Nothing against the senior representative students from the law society, they are really friendly but they love partying. They are not really committed to study and think it is not important to study hard. So this put me off for a day or so. But then i talked to my high school teacher and my relatives (still keep in touch with my ESL teacher, MS bland, she is my mentor and the best teacher i ever had, btw u need to talk about ur problem with people, it makes u feel better) , i realise it is important to work hard to get a good understanding of ur subject, so u get a good grade, then it’ll be easier to get a job, etc.

Last advice: Dont be a sheep following the culture, make ur own decision.
See u.

Three Wild Days before (Rick)

The first week of being in a college is wild, and there is so much to talk about, and therefore it may take me a while to tell you the full story, so for this post I will include from the Saturday I moved in to Monday, the day before Orientation at the University. I will separate each part of the week over several posts, or else you’ll never see anything!

Moving in on Saturday to college was a completely new experience, and I really didn’t know what to expect, and I was feeling a little nervous. Not only was I going to be staying here for quite some time, but I was going to meet a whole new bunch of faces very quickly.

Saturday – Moving in

As I’d only just gotten there in time, as soon as my stuff was in my room I went to have lunch along with my brother and mother. I was quickly talking to some others from overseas and also some senior students. One of them had a name that I could hardly pronounce, and has proved to be hard to remember.

Ice breaking activities helped us to meet new people with things like ‘speed dating’ where we would quickly find the answers to a number of set questions about another person. It became apparent that the person who wrote the questions was a bit of an OC fan. We then played a game called ‘evolution’ which involved playing rock, scissors paper as to ‘evolve’ into things from an egg, a chicken, a dinosaur, a human, than a ‘supreme being’. The final stage involved us singing and dancing out a song. (Of which I don’t remember what it was)

Later that night we were dancing on the Medley Hall roof top, for which a professional dancing instructor was organised to teach us to dance the Samba. The dancing instructor didn’t turn up without letting us know. One of the older students who knew how to do these dances had to teach us themselves. Quite a number of people had trouble understanding exactly what was happening, and also didn’t seem that enthused, although I was quite happy to join in, and had a lot of fun doing so, and stayed on the roof for longer with about 12 people who were enjoying the dancing.

Just before going to bed I decided to try out my TV. And oh-dear, the reception is like having no aerial! Fortunately I don’t tend to watch so much TV and prefer to play video games instead.

Sunday – The Amazing Race

Today the student club organised for us to go on a rather crazy adventure around the city. We were given a number of tasks, each of which was worth a certain number of points.

Some of our crazy tasks included:

– Buying ‘foam’ from Starbucks.

– Asking a police officer to have a photo taken with their police cap on.

– The girls using face paint to put moustaches on their face.

– Guys and girls swapping their clothes. (Our group only went as far as a jumper, but another was crazy enough to swap the whole external outfit)

– Painting a strangers face. Our group found a guy, probably 18-20, and asked him if he would be happy to let us paint his face. He agreed so two of the girls drew lines and pattens with the face paint. After walking in one direction he diverted back towards a McDonalds store for what we presume was to wash it off. (I did happen to see him walking around the city later, and the lines had mostly disappeared.)

– And finally, of the things of significance and I can remember, us guys had to try out make-up from the Myer testers. In our group the girls put on the make-up for each of the guys. My makeup artist gave me bright pink cheeks, put on blue eye shadow and smeared some other stuff on the side of my face. I made up the story to the assistants (they didn’t seem to notice the others) that we were trying out makeup for an upcoming play, and we were trying to get ideas. They offered to get a proper makeup person (what ever they might call it) and then I had to tell them that we were finished. Probably wasn’t the best idea trying it on where it was obvious, then again another group just told the truth, and apparently the assistants were quite happy to put makeup on a guys face. Our group mentality basically was that it would seem less weird, thinking of it now, it was probably just sounding weirder.

Later there was a sexual harassment demonstration that was played out by some of the senior students.

‘Messy Monday’

We were told we needed to have clothes that we would ‘never want to wear again – ever!’ I was guessing we’d be having an egg fight or something similar.

There was an op-shop run for those of us that wanted clothes that we wouldn’t want to chuck away. I just needed some pants and thongs. There was some selecting of clothes for other people, and people buying for guys were in the girls section and vice versa. One guy, Jesse, got pink shorts with a white cat’s face on it, while another, Campbell, went for what was a bit like a clown costume.

On our way back from the op-shop we were lucky enough to see some Latrobe college students, who had a task of making a chain as long as possible with their clothes. This meant there were quite a number of guys in their underwear outside Myer in the city. Glad we didn’t have to do that, then again, what would be the chances of someone we know (excluding fellow college goers) seeing us?

Later we went to the Carlton Gardens (one block from Medley hall, and is also home to IMAX and Jeff’s shed). We had to first of all spread chocolate topping on our faces in the shape of a moustache and stuffed pillows under our t-shirts, intending to look like an Australian cricket icon dude. (I forget his name, I’ll try to find out and correct later.) What happens next might sound strange, but we had to run towards each other, jump and make our pillows hit each other. This resulted in us bouncing back and also feeling a bit dizzy. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Jesse collided with someone else and got a blood nose.

Next we had a soccer game. We went bare feet, and my kicks on the ball were felt for a few days after. I spent most of the game as goal keeper – I enjoy picking up the ball. Luckily the sides were even so I did have something to do. During the game I unintentionally hit the soccer ball into a fellow college members head. (They were about 30 metres away.) Why don’t people watch the ball when they play?

Next up was a pillow grabbing game where we had to snatch our pillows from underneath other players t-shirts. We had to grab it from bellow, our pillows had to have some part out bellow, and we were not allowed to hold onto our pillows. I lasted quite a while just by avoiding the crowds. When it got down to about a dozen people I had to act more aggressive, but got my pillow stolen instead. Then I was able to go and get some lunch.

We were brought back out onto the grass, and the senior students started to chuck jelly at us. So we had to take revenge and teach those bigger than us a lesson! Fairly early on I copped a lump of jelly stuffed down the back of my t-shirt. This lasted quite a while, and eventually we were getting all of our jelly from the stuff that had already been thrown around. When we got back to Medley Hall we had a nice cold spray with a hose to get all the excess jelly off ourselves without making our college a mess.

It feels great to have a shower sometimes!

Next we went to Crown Casino. And what an evil place it is! [Editor: Ooops! we’ve had to edit this bit!] …I walked over the water jets and had to go home on the tram completely wet.

That night we went bowling at Strike Bowling Bar. My skills that night were very poor. In fact lately my bowling skills have been very poor, scoring only about 50 in each game, compared to what I was doing last year of 100-150. Must be old age. Nevertheless it was a great opportunity to try to get to know the people more in my college.

Number of posts found: 1178