adam1808 / Member

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University, Sydney and the Terror of Unwashed socks

It's been a while since I checked in with some of the good old personal stuff here on this blog. I've spent the last few days writing things that draw either extreme malice or congratulation from the users of this site and that's how I generally like it, but now I've worked out the urge to write about whatever comes off the top of my head it's time to organise the last few weeks into words.

If I take a step back and survey the past month, it's easy to recognise the fact that I'm following the trajectory of the educated schoolboy to the letter. Fresh out of high school, complete with long hair and no strong opinions on anything really, I've killed time getting fit again on the streets of Melbourne and Sydney respectively and painting the parent's house out of a sense of long-running guilt for weighing down their social lives for the past 18 years. It's the first time in 5 or so years that I've understood the term "holding pattern" in its entirety.

Leaving home is a strange mixture of excitement and boredom. On the one hand, as the occupant of a small terraced house with three other affable roomates in the centre of Sydney I can do anything and everything. On the other hand, there's very little to do prior to term starting. Of course I could frequent any number of establishments offering cut-price jagerbombs and freeflow beer (the natural habitat of the arts and social sciences student) but going out in search of damaged brain cells alone seems more sad than sitting alone playing videogames. It's funny how that logic works out isn't it?

The drain outside my window is blocked, so when it rains all day after a few successive days of oppressive heat as is often the case in Sydney the splashing of the drain is enough to keep me up at night. On days when it doesn't rain the neighbours fill that role admirably. Each night there are new voices, new clashes and bangs penetrating the plaster walls separating the terraces. As an Australian I'll happily admit that we are no a punctual bunch. As Orientation week starts to fade into the beginning of term, the late-arrivals outnumber all the rest and every door on the street is left open to fascillitate the moving of desks, chairs and 16-packs of Carlsberg.

In Singapore where I spent the last 4 years of my life, the noise of the city was a perpetual hum of air-conditioning and taxis ferrying businessmen from office block to marbled office block. Here, the sound of the city mixes bird calls with old diesel engines. I've come to like this about Sydney. It's a grimier, more down-to-earth city than its south-eastern counterpart with a sense of its own history that the other major cities of Australia lack. Or at least that's how I choose to perceive it. You make the most of your situation. Learn to appreciate the city you'll be spending the best part of five years in or be miserable.

Education, the reason I chose to be here in the first place, has been marginalised by the arduous process of moving. Each day the prospect of studying a set of subjects that I actually care about rather than a set of pre-ordained subject areas is at once exciting and terrifying. Who's to say if I do care once it all starts? Who knows whether all the energy poured into securing a great score was a finite resource, used up in the final push?

These are the questions you start mulling over when you're faced with the insurmountable task of washing your own socks. Why is that they dry slower than t-shirts? You'd think that on a washing line in the full glare of the Sydney sun that the smaller items would dry the fastest, but no! Socks and underwear maintain their uncomfortable dampness for at least an hour after the outer garments that the casual onlooker sees are as dry as a bone. The iron is its own separate issue. Without an ironing board I have resorted to a towel draped over the dining room table. I never notice creases but apparently they make one look shabby according to my mother, maybe she never noticed the curly mop I grew as a signal that scruffiness and I are best pals.

But washing and ironing and shopping and cleaning all need to be done, if only to stay part of the human race. In these new conditions of heightened responsibility for my own wellbeing and my security deposit, videogames have become my enemy rather than my respite. Damn you Civ 5 and your ability to suck hours out of my day. Firaxis are the finest purveyors of videogame crack. A game of Civ or XCOM may as well guarantee that I'll be doing without milk for the next day.

It would be nice to say "who knows what the future holds?" but I'm pretty certain it involves lectures, tutorials and learning to share a bathroom with three other people. As I'm still alive, not showing any signs of jaundice or infection and the house doesn't smell of decaying broccoli I'd say things are off to a good start.

Oh and it's "University". A college is a branch of a university, sometimes academic sometimes residential. Get it right guys.