You know that bit in the opening of the Scrubs Series Finale (the Season 8 one, since Season 9 doesn’t exist) when J.D.’s sitting in bed and remembering his first day at Sacred Heart on the eve of his last day? That’s kinda where I’m at right now, except I’m trekking over three years of wonderfully tumultuous history.
I’m remembering turning up at crack of dawn on my very first day, in February 2009, knowing absolutely no-one and sitting outside for three hours waiting for my first class (I turned up very early that day). I remember Robbie Williams’ “Radio” being the first ever tertiary academia I was exposed to, followed by a rousing first lecture.
I remember lots of time spent in the conference rooms at Werrington South, watching Batman and totally shirking the “no food in these rooms” rule without a care in the world.
I remember the first, tentative steps of Geek Group as it began life with only five members and a deck of cards between us. I remember leading into so many games of Mafia, Mao, Articulate, Star Wars Monopoly and charades. I remember growing into a two-dozen strong entity that stayed back late to watch the new Star Trek movie on the lecture theatre’s projector screen, with pizza and Aldi snacks.
I remember D’n’D in Building U before it got dismantled and rebuilt – I’ve still got photos of setting up our town contracts and deciding what to do with looters and criminals. I remember that friggin’ Owlbear.
I remember every single one of my tutors – the fantastic (Representing Crime/The Novel, Death and Culture/Creative Non-Fiction, Approaches to Text, Contemporary Society), the middling and slightly crazy (Literature and Philosophy, Australia and the World, Writing Fiction, Experimental Writing) and the evil, stupid or just plain boring (Communication – Power and Practice, International Texts and Contexts, Children’s Literature – Image and Text).
I remember essays, analytical pieces, critical reflections, discourse analyses, my children’s picturebook (which I still haven’t gotten back) and more assignment cover sheets than I can comfortably count.
I remember stepping into this University not having a clue what I was getting into, thinking it would just be an easy ticket to a career in writing and the ability to stave off having to find a real job.
I’m walking off with a degree, many wonderful and cherished friends, and a clearer idea of where I’m going. With any luck I’ll be starting a postgraduate degree next year (come on, Honours!) that will follow on to a PhD, giving me the opportunity to start up a gig as a Uni tutor/lecturer.
I’ve learnt so much – even if most of it will only help me at bar trivia nights and if I’m ever quizzed about who colonised Australia – and I know it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
My last class is in twenty minutes, so by the time most of you read this I’ll have already finished it – all that’ll be left is a few assignments due over the next week and a half. Part of me doesn’t want to go, doesn’t want to move through the ending I’ve worked towards for three years, but at the same time I know it’s going to get me to the next big thing. I can look back on my time here and know for certain that I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than high school, and this has so far been the biggest highlight of my academic process.
Thank you to everyone who helped me through – my friends (the betters and the formers), my family and my tutors (who, despite their varying levels of awesomeness, all saw fit to give me at least a pass grade for each subject). The academic world hasn’t heard the last of me.