Vulnerability … and Other Dirty Words (Aimee)

Hello my esteemed blog-readers and fellow bloggites!

Have you had a nice week? If your week has been a horrible, terrible, no-good, belly-up catastrophe… please accept a virtual hug to make you feel better! If not… take the hug anyway! Or a handshake… I’m not sure what level of intimacy you’re comfortable with…

Moving on! This week, I’ll start you off with a question…

*Clears throat *

Q: Do you know what my favourite thing about Melbourne Uni is?


A: The support services.

(Be honest… who thought I was going to say the coffee?)

No seriously… one of the best things about Melbourne Uni is that… Oh dear, now this sounds like an advert! Excuse me, reader buddies, but I think the situation calls for a good old-fashioned disclaimer…

**DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Melbourne**

That’s better! Anyway… One of the best things about Melbourne Uni is that, whenever you’re in need, there’s always a support service somewhere on-campus to lend a hand. From Academic Skills to Careers Counselling, student-support has got you covered! (Admittedly, I’m still waiting for a ‘How to Find your Ideal Marriage Partner 101’ or the ‘Office Where we Tell you What to Do with your Life’, but oh well…)

One service is student counselling, where you can go and have a chat about… well, anything really! (Though, your bunions are probably out of the question!) Out of all my friends (get ready for the mathsy bit!) 80% have told me that they’ve tried student counselling and loved it. The counsellors are nothing short of wonderful and the appointments are always to-the-point. So, obviously, uni counsellors are on the money… or else, they pay lots of money in bribes!

HOWEVER… there is one word that stops students from seeking help and that is: vulnerability. (Dah, duh, dahhhhh!!!) Often, people would rather wait until they’ve got a serious problem before they talk to a counsellor… Or until they’ve flunked a subject before they get academic help… because asking for help is just too darn goosebumpy! To me, this sounds a bit like “I’ll wait until my arteries are nice and clogged before I get my blood-pressure checked” … still!

I know vulnerability is a timorous beasty, because I am one of those people who gets a little squeamish about the ‘V word’. I’ve never been great at baring my soul to people… except on the internet. (Funny that!) Often, my reflex is to close up and do an emergency subject change. A particularly embarrassing incident happened when a friend was telling me about their ultra-stressful week at uni. I wanted to tell them about my stressful week, too. Unfortunately, I panicked and did a complete 360. Mid-sentence, I fell into a bizarre rant about Australian bureaucracy. Though I made some valid points, the middle of a Dn’M isn’t really the best time to be talking about government systems… (I should say: I’m not usually this weird!)

Speaking from my utterly unqualified perspective, I think this share-o-phobia (hey, I invented a word!) comes from fear of rejection. In other words, we’re scared that, if they know the truth, other people won’t like us anymore. The funny bit is that the best friendships I’ve had began when I opened up and said something more meaningful than just, ‘Hey, I’m good thanks! How are you?’ The same goes for getting support at university. Though they’re brilliant, staff on campus have not yet got a Bachelor of Telepathic-Communication under their belts. (Appalling, I know!) They won’t know that you need help unless you TELL THEM! (Or maybe if you stand on top of the Chem building, naked and waving a red flag…hmmm)

Here then, is a shout-out to all those people who occasionally get a bit cringey about the ‘V word’! I know you’re scared. I realise that years of guarding your inner-selves with a bicycle lock and chains has made you, shall we say, a bit emotionally constipated.

For goodness sake, take a deep breath…… and SPEAK UP!

You’ll probably find that everyone is eager and waiting to listen.