When I went to uni I started out doing an Arts degree at Sydney University – I knew I wanted to be a writer but I also wanted to be a lawyer or a geologist or an archeologist.
The lawyer part was ditched because you needed an outrageously high UAI which I was never going to get and the girls I went to school with who were going to be lawyers were all so smart and I was simply not in that league. Or so I told myself.
I adored geology – the structure and science and pragmatism of it all as well as the history of it all. But if I was to study geology I had to do a bridging course in chemistry and physics and again my self-doubt denied me that path as there was no way I could possibly do that because I wasn’t smart enough.
The archeology thing was a precursor to the geology thing. Mum told me that being an archeologist involved working in places where it was hot, dusty and there were a lot of bugs. I’m not sure she realised my decision not to be an archeologist was largely based on this. And that apparently you need to be fluent in German and again, I thought I was so bad at languages. (Just ask K about Year 8 or was it 9 or was it 10 German and my inability to translate Gruss Got Gerbel (or some such name) as I thought it was Good God, Gerbel and I wasn’t going to blaspheme out loud. OH the piety of a teenage Christian)
So as you can see – I was one cotton-headed ninny muggins all those years ago.
In that first year I studies philosophy, medieval history, classical civilisation and English. Yeah, I was so going to be employable. I loved it. Sure, I failed philosophy (well, I got a PassX which means we’re passing you but you have to leave to close your door on the way out). I just didn’t get it, I mean, I had this tutor who tried to tell us we never remembered what we’d dreamed about the night before or that when we were dreaming we didn’t know we were dreaming or that we couldn’t dream in colour or some such nonsense and there was all these readings that I just kept thinking ‘oh FOR FUCK’S SAKE’.
Medieval History was my absolute favourite and no, the fact we had the hottest tutor in the entire university was not the
I made a conscious decision to make a whole new band of friends, some sort of rebellion against my constant self-loathing and comparing myself with and feelings of inferiority to my friends from school. It was, all in all, a really great year. I met Chef, I lost my virginity and was just being that stereotypical uni student of studying, partying, working in a fast food joint and being chronically broke. Good times.
Chef was at uni in Bathurst (a city about three hours west of Sydney) studying accounting, which he hated. But Bathurst also had what was then regarded as the best journalism degree in the State. So, being the largely driven by my libido, deeply in love young self, I applied for a transfer. There were all manner of hoops you had to jump through in terms of essays and the like but hey, I was willing to do anything for love.
To my absolute surprise I got in. I think we found this out around the time Chef got his letter from the university explaining that not turning up to yearly exams automatically fails you and well, combined with those fails earlier in the year we won’t be seeing you next year. Awesome.
But off I went. On a small campus in what was a course full of A-type personalities there were students in years above you that were held in awe and reverence. I remember the bastion of the department regaling us with stories about this one student and how she was destined to greatness. I can’t remember if he told us she was going to have a baby and that therefore that greatness was quashed or if I’m mooshing together stories about her I heard over the subsequent years of my course by which time she had left.
Anyway, she now works with Australia’s national broadcaster in Perth and quel surprise having a baby was not the death knell of her working life. Twitter has not only allowed me to stalk her but get to know her just a little more than the awe and myth of almost 20 years ago.
So when I wrote about my swim in the ocean the other day I also twittered about it. She asked if I knew Colin Day and his song Beautiful World. Well I do now.