13 Dilemmas University Students Face

University has been (for the most part) an amazing experience. It’s stressful and it’s costly but it has made me into a resilient, multi-tasking critical thinker.

But, all Uni students are aware that despite the life skills we learn at Uni, it can be testing. These are some of the universal annoyances one faces whilst studying at a tertiary level.

1. Timetable clashes.

Twas the night before sign-on and all through the campus, all the Uni kids were screaming, because their compulsory courses clash.

It happens every semester. HIST2303 and ENGL2002 are both on at 9am Tuesday morning. And both your professors expect you to prioritise their course. Why??!!!

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2. Email etiquette. 

We’ve all been there, it’s 2am and you’ve just realized you have absolutely no clue how to start your essay. So you do the responsible thing and you email your tutor. Except, you’re 18 and you’re a baby and you have no idea how to email adults without sounding like a child. Don’t worry, you’ll figure this one out…by the end of your degree.

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3. Prioritizing. Juggling. Multi-tasking.

Do you start your lab report first? But what about the quiz for bio? And you need to see a dentist this month. Oh, and your friend wants to see you for lunch to discuss breaking up with her grubby boyfriend that you’ve never liked because he smells like cheese. Also, you haven’t washed your hair in five days and even your pets are beginning to distance themselves from you.

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4. Picking a major.

When you’re in high school the goal is simple: get to uni. Sometimes you’re a bit more ambitious and you narrow it down: get into law, arts, engineering. Then you get to uni and suddenly, you are very, very unsure of what you want.

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5. Caffeine overloading.

So you’ve had a total of 8 hours sleep this week? Yeah, caffeine is your best friend. Just don’t overdo it. If you start hearing colours you might want to take a nap and put down the latte. Who am I kidding, you can’t afford lattes! Enjoy your instant coffee fellow stressheads.

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6. Getting stuff done in the age of the internet.

Thanks to the world wide web I can now do most of my course reading online. I can also watch videos of cats proving that they are indeed the superior species, for ten hours straight if I wanted to. And sometimes, I want to.

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7. Falling ill at the wrong time.

There are good times to get a cold, like on the eve of that family get together you’ve been praying will just go away. And there are bad, very bad, very, very bad times to fall victim to the common cold. Students know this all too well.

The bad time: beginning of semester, when you’re meeting all your new classmates, sure the content is introductory but you don’t want to be that person. Y’know, the sick one! No one wants to befriend the sniffler.

The very bad time: middle of semester. You’re coming up on assignments, the course content is beginning to get heavier and if you take even one day off, you will fall behind. Cue a bunch of miserable millennials hunched over a pile of tissues, usually found at the back of the room.

The very, very bad time: exams. Let’s not even talk about this, it’s like shouting Macbeth in a theatre.

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8. Falling into a pit of self-loathing.

Uni is hard and it can rob you of a lot of your confidence. One bad grade can set off a whole weeks worth of I’m never getting a job, I’m a failure, I’m a big dumb idiot that still can’t figure out google maps and I’m in so much freaking debt. Don’t worry, it’ll pass. And so will you.

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9. Weekends.

Thanks to uni you have no idea what a weekend really feels like. You’re either working, doing assignments or prepping for the next weeks classes. Your weekend is your one day off from classes, usually a Tuesday, and you spend it sleeping and eating oreos.

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10. Making friends.

In high school you see your peers five days a week, with forced lunch dates and enough gossip to last you well into your eighties. Uni is different, everyone wants to make a few new friends but they’re scared and so they choose to scroll down their Twitter feed for the five minutes before class begins. The one person you make friends with decides they don’t ‘do’ attendance and only make three of your ten tutorials and you have no idea how to approach the subject of adding each other on Facebook (the first step in a long lasting friendship). Don’t be that person. You know those ice-breakers your tutor makes you do in first week? Excellent friend making opportunity. Join clubs. Speak to people in your class and if your the other members of your group project aren’t total assholes, have lunch with them.

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11. Winging it.

Trying to figure out how to answer your lecturers question when you haven’t done the reading or you’re having one of your dumb days (they exist).

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12. Textbooks.

In your first year you spend a lot of money on textbooks. And then in your second year you realise you either don’t need them or you can get them for cheap second hand/online. Oh the money that has been wasted!
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13. Commuting.

If you don’t live on campus you learn to tolerate public transport. At least you get a student discount. And when you have two trains and a bus to catch you get to stare dramatically out of windows a lot, so there’s that.

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Things I learned this week…

I made a nerdy fanpage in high school, mostly about books, it’s a very painful reminder of my awkward phase. As much as the content makes me cringe, I managed to run a successful, weird, community. We had 30,000 likes at one stage (again, reminder, it was mostly about posting pictures of Jennifer Lawrence and saying ohmagawd)! And this week it may have opened up some very exciting opportunities. Lesson: always, always, always work with what you’ve got, sometimes (if you look at in the right context) it’s quite useful.

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Another one of my tutors/lectures thinks I should pursue postgraduate study in history. I still want to. I’m still petrified of the journey it might take me on.

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Validation is an excellent ego booster. Who needs flawless bone structure when someone thinks you’re a capable human being?

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Chasing dreams you didn’t know you had your eye on is a terrifying process. Cherish it.

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I can learn so much from other kickass women.

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Malcolm Turnball is sort of hilarious.

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The possums outside my room will never stop running laps at midnight. And they will always trick me into thinking there is an axe murderer chasing a maiden on my veranda. Yeah, they’re that loud.

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There are opportunities literally everywhere. Do not narrow yourself.

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Pizza places everywhere are getting skimpy on how much cheese they put on cheese pizzas. I want to be drowning in grease. Stop with the thin slivers! It’s Friday, I haven’t had simple carbs in a week, I want some god damn cheap mozzarella on my pizza base.

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I only need a week of doing nothing (after a very stressful uni semester) to get bored. I’m one of those nerds that need to use their brain a lot.

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I get ridiculous amounts of enjoyment out of planning cooking ventures. Next week: I’m making some homemade muesli and it’s gonna rock!

 

Have an awesome weekend,

Charlotte xx

Bits and Bobs…

I write a lot, most of it is creative and most of the time I keep it hidden in a word document under an inconspicuous title. Like most writers (can I call myself that?) I want everyone to read my work and I want no one to read my work.

I’m hoping to send stuff to publishers soon (courage do not fail me) and I need to test the water. It’s all about little steps! So I am going to post some of the bits and bobs I’ve written over the years, in an effort to combat my anxieties.

Here they are.

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I watch as flowers bloom in my chest, roots intertwining themselves in my ribcage, a garden bed planted in my breastbone. Green roses and lilac daises; what odd colors for such nice flowers.

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It’s like bees are trapped in my ears, lured by the honey colour of my earwax and now they won’t stop buzzing. And buzzing. And buzzing. And buzzing.

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I love you. Three little words, three measly, messy words. This is a set of words who’s meaning all depend on their sender. It’s all about the pronunciation. I love you. I love youlove you. 

Or in this case, I love you. No emphasis. No meaning. Monotone. What have we done to each other?

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Her smile slips, revealing the greedy, angry, face that lives underneath. This is the real Lizzie. The cruel Lizzie. The one who would cut out your intestines if it meant she might better herself.

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What I wanted to say, in the midst of it all was, try harder, I know I’m not worth it but try.

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There is a brick not on my chest but underneath it, wedged beneath my ribcage, pressing against my most vital organs.

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I wish for my laptop. The tabloids will be exploiting whatever photos those girls managed to take. Everyone will know. They will see me. Not Rob Holloway’s girlfriend. For the first time they’ll catch a glimpse at Stacey Morgan. What will they say about her? How will they paint me? Crazy girlfriend or psychotic girlfriend? Crazy girlfriend seeks vengeance, she throws clothes out of windows and demands passwords to email accounts. Psychotic girlfriend has delusions about pot plants holding her hands, she walks naked in public spaces. Despite my funny brain, I am neither of those girls.

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I take in one deep, steady breath and submerge myself so that I am completely weightless, hidden from view.

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I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

Historical dramas your teachers hate…

I am a History major and I genuinely, in the nerdiest way possible, love it. I have a few career aspirations, I’d like to do a bit of everything, but in an ideal world I would be a historian. Maybe one day.

It often shocks people, when they find out I really, really like inaccurate depictions of history on screen. Mostly, because I like yelling at them (in a totally non-threatening way). One of my favourite things is researching a historical drama, finding out it’s every failing, and then sitting down with someone I know and giving them a full blown Wikipedia summary of my research as we watch the film. If you ever find yourself studying History at the University of Queensland, St Lucia, take American History in Film. It’s the more intellectually stimulating version of my wild Friday night.

So, in the effort of dispelling any rumours that I may indeed be cool, I’ve decided to list off my top inaccurate historical adaptations on screen. Enjoy.

 

10. Titanic.

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Luckily (?) there wasn’t a Jack and Rose on board the Titanic, no steamy windows, no “King of the World” shouting. Still, it’s a decent film, the Academy thinks so anyway.

9. The Patriot

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In case you haven’t seen it, The Patriot is about the American Revolution. Please, never, ever take this film seriously. This is not a good depiction of the revolution at all. It’s biggest blunder? Dodging the issue of slavery almost completely. In fact, Mel Gibson’s character, Marion, does have African Americans working his land, but they’re free and “loyal”. Yeah, okay. Nice erasure.

8. 300

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Look, it’s quotable (and unintentionally hilarious) but if you want to know more about the Battle of Thermopylae I’d crack open Herodotus. And then watch this and feel 300 times smarter for knowing why it’s a terrible depiction.

7. Marie Antoinette

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The film depicts Marie as a very lonely young lady (entirely possible). And it’s beautiful to look at and Kirsten Dunst is very good in it. However, the poppy overtones are jarring and if you’d hoped the film would dive into the politics of the French Revolution, sorry, you won’t find any such investigation here. Like Marie is isolated, so is the films exploration of the revolution, focusing mostly on Marie. Still, it’s an awfully fun film.

6. The Other Boleyn Girl

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I love this film, it’s fun! But it’s wildly inaccurate. Mary Boleyn (by the time she may have been wooing Henry VIII) was not a blushing bride to be. She’d already been liaising with other prominent men. It is very likely she was a confident seductress. Power to her. And whilst I adore Natalie Portman in this film (and in everything she’s ever done) Anne’s portrayal as a vixen is disheartening.

5. Gone With the Wind 

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I love this film. I love Scarlett O’Hara. I love Vivien Leigh. I do not love it’s perpetuation of the happy slave narrative.

4. Mississippi Burning

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Apparently the civil rights movement was about white dudes saving the day? In like a weird thriller type of way? That’s what Mississippi Burning projects at least… sigh.

3. The White Princess

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This is the most recent depiction on my list and it’s the reason why I’ve spent the past two months researching the Tudors. It’s about Henry VIII’s Mum and Dad, Elizabeth of York and Henry VII. In the series Elizabeth is a lot more ballsy than real life Elizabeth. And apparently that famous Prince in the Tower? He lived. Still, this is a juicy depiction of the Yorks and Tudors and I love it.

2. The White Queen

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This is the prequel to The White Princess and it’s Philippa Gregory’s version of the Wars of the Roses, Elizabeth Woodville and the Yorks. It gets the spirit right, but there are some details that are messily drawn together. There were no zips in the 15th century. And the film is a lot shinier and cleaner than the hardship faced by the people of the period. And like it’s sequel, it poses the wild theory that Elizabeth hid her son Teddy, meaning he did not die in the tower.

1. Anastasia

This is my favourite movie. Period. It’s also my favourite area of history. And it is one of the most wilfully inaccurate depictions of history. History lesson: Rasputin was a real person, he did not murder the Romanovs and thanks to DNA we know that Anastasia did not survive. Also, there is no Dimitri (trust me, I’m sad about it too). Also, the dates are off and it omits the violence that surrounded the Russian Revolution and the Romanov’s deaths. Understandable, considering it’s a kids movie. But it does raise valid questions about what the film might teach a young audience about a vital part of our (recent) history.

 

 

There. Those are my top picks. Some I love. Some I hate. All need serious advice on their scripts from historians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thing I love that no one else does…

  1. Brussel sprouts. They’re nutty and delicious and I want to eat them for the rest of my life.
  2. Knitting. Okay, so people do like knitting, but they’re not usually twenty-one. I’m not very good at knitting, all I can knit are squares and sometimes, even then, I run into trouble. But it’s my current hobby. Maybe I’ll ditch the pack and stop doing it when I’m fifty (the age one seems most inclined to join a knitting club).
  3. Running. No one actually likes running. Well, except for me. I have trouble making myself do it, but once I’ve got my shoes on and I’m out the door, I’m in heaven. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to flying.
  4. Twilight. I was one of those trashy thirteen year olds that immersed themselves in the Twilight fever. And now that it’s over, I refuse to say sorry for it. People hate that. Oops.
  5. Ross from Friends. Apparently, Ross is the least liked out of the Friends bunch. This saddens me. Ross was hilarious. Also, all the Buzzfeed quizzes tells me I’m a Ross. Does that mean people hate me? Am I the Ross of my friend group? Oh dear….
  6. Winter. Y’all need to stop hyping up summer. Summer is the inferior season. Do you know what I do in summer? I sweat and I spend all my time hoping no one can tell. In winter I can wear jeans and sweaters and socks! Oh, and not to mention, THERE IS VERY LITTLE SWEATING INVOLVED.

 

 

Literary Goodness

I’m in the middle of a creative writing drought (seriously, it’s been one dry month). So for inspiration I’ve turned to my favourite books. I thought I’d share some of the brilliance that is Sylvia Plath, Liane Moriarty (and others) just because I can. My blog. My rules.

 

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.”

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty. “Like drinking a pink cosmo laced with arsenic.” This isn’t an actual quote from Liane, it’s from a review, but it’s all kinds of wonderful. Words, sigh.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. “There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.”

And again, from dear old Sylvia, “The faces were empty as plates, and nobody seemed to be breathing.”

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad. “Even though he himself has borne witness to her transformation over the past three years, he is still getting used to the severely pared-down point of her chin, the now visible web of bones in her throat, how all the once-soft edges of her have suddenly grown knife sharp. How they seem pointed at him in perpetual, quiet accusation.”

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. “I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (now that hit TV show everyone’s mad about). “They say it’s good to let your grudges go, but I don’t know, I’m quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.”

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Okay so, it’s not word porn but, c’mon, it’s Mr. Darcy, even if he was being a snobby jerk when he said it. It melts me. Sometimes, as a cold hearted Ice Queen, I need to be melted.