Wednesday, March 30


Easter, apparently, is a time of renewal.

This year, and unlike any Easter I can remember since I was 15, I didn't work at all. Normally I'm throwing my weight around in the weeks preceding Easter in an effort to secure the prime shifts, the greasy shifts, the juicy shifts, dripping with double-time goodness. However this year has heralded a 'policy shift' of sorts, towards more time spent doing diddly, and less time working.

Over the past few years, as my fiscal focus has shifted gear from "Piss it against a wall" to "Save it" - I have spent more time working than is ordinarily healthy, this has included at times working three casual jobs. Initially I did this to make ends meet, but eventually the ends were met, and then things became about sustaining an ongoing grind towards saving for a house, or travel, or whatever.

Naturally, this meant that something had to give, and that something was always uni. There's good reason for this, I've never been paid to attend tutes, sit in lectures, or drive an hour each way to uni. Uni has always lost out, and I've always reconciled this by telling myself it was okay because I'm working. By now I'm well aware that that was an excuse made of 100% pure bullshit.

For an avid scholastic slow starter like myself, this week off following Easter will/should/has never in the past allow/allowed me to concentrate on knocking off some reading and.... ahem... an assignment that needs doing.

For the Easter long weekend at least, study and catching up lost out to camping and drinking with friends.

Moonrise at French's Narrows, east of Marlo

Tuesday, March 22

University Life Glossary Term #5

Junk Mail

"Hi, would you like a copy of Green Left Weekly?"

Assignment Related Mental Wrestlemania

I've missed a deadline.

It's not going to cost me anything, but I have missed it. It's a small assignment worth 3% of my total mark in the subject.

Ordinarily, I'd flippantly say, "Oh well, I'm so flippant that I'll flippantly forget about it and just keep ploughing on flippantly."

But with this assignment, I am acutely aware of the role it plays in training myself to concentrate on not failing this particular subject.

It's like I'm constantly trying to outsmart myself, hoping to draw my latent nerd-uality forth from within me.

I've never been someone who is concerned with marks. I don't get a kick out of telling people I got an A in a particular subject - I enjoy more saying something like "I got 50 out of 100, just passed," and grinning cheekily. I think this is a monumentally fucked up way of looking at things, especially since it means my care factor for assignments is pretty low.

Through the earlier years of my, now lengthy, degree - I consistantly neglected to do assignments well or on time. I always managed to reconcile this by telling myself, "Hey, it's just one assignment, I'll get it done, and I'll still go okay in the exam." This of course creates the stupid situation, where I expel more energy stressing about an assignment than just doing it.

Of all the things that shit me about Uni, my chronic procrastination shits me most.

Sunday, March 20

University Life Glossary Term #4

Due Dates

A series of dates spaced intermittently throughout the semester designed to increase stress levels and induce bouts of short term amnesia. Due date related stress can be momentarily relieved via extentions.

Saturday, March 19

Stuffed Bras

"If you want to change your enrolment, you will have to see the course advisers in Room 208."

The first time I was told this, I found the phrase mildly amusing. If you have access to Foxtel, and hence, access to Channel V, and you are aware of the highly bizarre and not-worth-the-effort Room 208, you might know why.

Room 208 is in essence a weakly premised dance-off which pits a room of mid teen know nothing tartlets and skinny guys in singlets against each other in a blood sport designed to find and crown the girl who turned up to shake her stuff in the worst sign-of-civilisation's-impending-doom clothes purchased at Supre.

The winner walks off with a cheque for $1000, entitling them to almost 201 teenage nights of passing out in the front garden of a house party after consuming a whole $4.99 bottle of Passion Pop and smoking 7.5 cigarettes that were flirtily elicited from bogan losers in Puma jackets standing around in the living room lamenting why no girls will talk to them, never once thinking it might be their prevailing odor of bongwater that is scaring Cassie and Bailey and Elissa away.

Of all the dignity free, soul destroying jobs you could have at Channel V, keeping a straight face while hosting a weekly show that consists of a room of 15 year olds bumping and grinding to the shitiest of club tracks must be it.

No amount of redundant boobtubes and 'slick moves' can stop Room 208 from being an awkward and pronounced polyp on the rectal cavity that is Channel V.

At my uni, the business faculty office is located in Room 208. Every time I go there I hold my breath for a moment and hope to find this when I walk through the door:



A straggler walks into the tute and asks the guy sitting to my left if the seat to his left is taken.

Guy (sitting to my left): "No, no - it's not."

Straggler: *extends right hand for handshake* "My name's Peter, what's yours?"

Guy: *returns handshake* "Komale."

Straggler: "Where's that name from?"

Guy: "Persia."

Straggler: "Oh, okay - I'm from Lebanon . . . unfortunatly."

Guy: ". . ."

Entire tute group: *puzzled expression*

Thursday, March 17

Let's talk about VSU...

... let's talk about you and me.
Let's talk about all the good things,
and the bad things,
that may be...

For those of you who aren't presently a university student, and for those of you who are, and are sadly unaware, the Federal Government announced yesterday the introduction of legislation which will see the end of enforced student unionism.

Student UNIONISM you say? UNIONS? Aren't they the same organisations which see hard working upper middle class small business owners forced to the wall with their militant tactics and protectionist practices that are prohibitive to honest business-people making a fair living?

Ahhh, no. Unions, as you would ordinarily know them, have fuck all to do with the provision of services at a university. I really wonder if this issue would gain any traction in the wider community is student unions weren't called student unions.

The bottom line is that a student union is effectively a collective pool of money, compulsorally contributed to by students of universities. At my university, a fulltime student pays $360 up front (less if you aren't fulltime), which is aptly called a "General Service Fee" - it's a FEE that covers GENERAL SERVICES.

This money is used to fund a raft of services within the university, including, but not limited to: child care, free legal advice, counseling, free accountancy, careers advice, financial assistance, indigenous and ethnic assistance, gymnasiums, clubs and societies, accommodation, student advocacy, and so on...

I want to make my position on this issue clear. I agree, that in all likelihood,
there are misused and misplaced funds within a "Student Union." That goes with every bureaucratic organisation . . . especially governments. One thing is certain, the removal of compulsory contribution to services by students will ensure services which currently, rightfully, assist students to study - will go.

In June the Liberal Federal Government takes control of both houses of parliament, this allows them to design and pass any law they choose, directly exercising the mandate the people of Australia gave them.

Mandate. He he he.

Federal Education, Science, and Training Minister Brendan Nelson released a statement yesterday announcing the new legislation. Let's take a look at the gem it contained...

Nelson: "This is the 21st Century. Union membership should be voluntary and services should not be propped up by the compulsory appropriation of students’ hard earned money...Why is it that a single mother training to be a nurse should pay for the canoeing or mountaineering club when all she wants is a degree?"

Schweeet. Does this mean that I can also opt out of contributing, via my taxes, to vote buying programs such as $600 family assistance grant which turns up...right before a federal election? Does this mean that I can choose not to have my taxes spent on any number of Federal programs which I consider to be needless?

The introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) will mean that I don't have to pay $360 at the start of 2006. That's $360 on top of school books, on top of a parking permit, on of everything. I'd LOVE to not have to cough up $360 at the one time of the year that every major bill I have comes at the same time. This is precisely why the majority of students won't pay a voluntary fee.

None of this argument takes HECS into account, which the Federal Government increased by 25% this year. Thanks guys! Oh wait, how much did pay Federal Education, Science, and Training Minister Brendan Nelson pay for his university education?


Nelson, on the John Laws Program today: "Well this is absolutely outrageous. In fact this is the current law at the moment. In fact I had this experience in my Fourth Year of my Medical Degree where I had three part time jobs and I remember going to the Registrar’s office at Flinders in Adelaide and saying “well I don’t want to pay this."

Dude! You never paid a cent for your education asshole!

Anyway, the bottom line is that the VSU race is run, it's over. Student politics, led by random forgettable student presidents, will once again prove itself to the proverbial tits on a bull it has always been.


We're screwed. VSU is here to stay.



Monday, March 14

Jeckyll and Hyde . . . and their know it all mate

There's three sorts of people in tutes.

People who say nothing - 70%

People who chime in with and answer or comment here or there - 25%


People who talk immense amounts of half right/half wrong shit - 5%.

(I could drag this down into more and more subgenres, including the common "sniggering pretty wankers in polo shirts who should ordinarily have gone to Deakin" but we'll stick to tutorial participation as the parameter to avoid confusion.)

The majority of students, as I have deftly approximated above to be 70%, just keep mum during a tute. In some tutes I do this, because, well, I haven't done any of the required reading, or because getting involved will mean having to deal with either of the other two catergories of students.

Keeping quiet also means the tutor never feels they can call on you for a comment when a tute is dragging serious ass.

If I'm in a tute where I know anything about the subject matter, I'll get involved in the conversation. This serves two purposes, it kills time, and secondly, I love the sound of my own voice. When speaking with any authority, my voice is a thing of thunderous arrogant wonder. At least, I like to think so.

In today's tute I went from saying nothing, to saying something, to saying enough to evoke the wrath of the third catergory, the know it all wanker.

The Student: "So wouldn't that make the problem an inactive problem, as the consume..."

Wanker: "No it's an active problem, as the comsumer is aware of the problem."

The Student: "But, before they become aware of the advertising they are also unaware of the probl..."

Wanker: "blahblah blahde blah blah" (I'd stopped listening the moment this fucksnap interjected for the second time)

I'm pretty competitive when it comes to been cut off, so i can see this developing into an ongoing tute by tute spat, if for no other reason than so I have something to provide me with filler for this blog.

The only thing worse than the token wanker in a tute, is the tute group that has only one person who speaks while the rest of the class fidgets in their chairs and wishes it was all over.

I still have memories of the second year marketing tutor's voice slowly turning out the same "Now, does anyone know what the meaning of Positioning is?" phrase out over and over again while we all wished we'd had the smarts to either answer the question or have just not shown up.

*wakes in a cold sweat*

Saturday, March 12


Friday afternoon.

Sitting in a hot 3rd floor tutorial room waiting for the last of the students to take a seat before the class can start, a last minute straggler walks in.

Tall and late, he has managed to break three of The Student's fashion rules in one hit.

1: Random Blonde Tips - Those of you know me personally know of my intense dislike of blonde tips. Why anyone wants to get around with hair that looks like an homage to Cadbury's TopDeck chocolate is beyond me.

2: Denim Shorts - Come on. Short and tight, or long and baggy, denim shorts are immeasurably craptacular. Who walks into a store and says: "You know what, I feel like wearing a pair of jeans, but not a whole pair" ? Cocks, that's who.

3: Pink polo/t-shirt - *shudder* This fashion craze is the worst since that whack shit where guys were wearing tshirts over tailored shirts, remember that? Whenever I think of pink polo shirts or tshirts, I think of the swarm of Millsy look-a-likes who converge on otherwise fine pubs like The Hawthorn, or The Glenferrie, or DeBiers.

(I also think of Millsy himself, and that flaming frogfaced Metro-underage-niteclub-grin he does like he's a cute five year old dancing and singing My Little Teapot in front of his mother and her friends, who are giggling and cooing, while drinking cups of coffee and eating scotch finger biscuits for morning tea. Thinking of Millsy is not good, thinking of Millsy is an infuriating waste of my time.)

Anyway, it turns out the previously mentioned three time fashion victim, plus two others, are my group for the major assignment in the subject. Lets see what other Jeanie Little-esque outfits he can turn up in throughout the course of the semester.

Friday, March 11

Hi, my name is . . .

At the beginning of every semester there is the first tutorial in each subject, and with each first tutorial comes the first tutorial personal introduction. A few brief words spoken by either yourself or the person next to you, to describe yourself to the group you'll be rolling your eyes at over the sheer shitfulness of the tutor for the next 13 weeks.

This was largely inconsequential when I was a spritely 18 year old in 2001 - but as I've gotten older, and am still even now in a couple of first year subjects, this has become more and more of a reminder of the fact I'm older than I really should be, and still at uni.

Lets face it, I'm a week from turning 23. I'm still at uni. I'm verging dangerously into Mature Aged Student territory.

(Note to self: unmercifully pointing out the horrors of being in a tute with an overtly self confident mature aged student can wait for another post)

The introductions used to be able just saying hi, letting everyone know my name, so that three weeks later I was more easily identifiable as "That guy The Student, who's in our group, but never comes anymore."

Now it goes along the lines of the accounting tute I was in late last year:

"Hi, I'm The Student, I'm 22, I've failed this subject twice before and this year I'm trying to *not* fail."

As well as the personal introduction, occasionally you are introduced by the person you are sitting next to after a brief three or four minute run down of each other. This generally results in something along the lines of:

"This is. . . The Student. He's 22, he's trying to finish his Business Degree - and he has been at uni a few years now."

Given the opportunity to introduce them, I like to whack out a few old chestnuts like "Kate likes long walks along the beach and Italian cooking."

I guess reading back over this, it doesn't really encapsulate the way in which this small, rather pointless routine acts as this resonating milestone in my uni life. But sure enough, every semester, it reminds me of the fact that I really should have had my shit together by now.

Wednesday, March 9

University Life Glossary Term #3

Lecture Break

The gap between the top of a gal or a guys pants and the bottom of their top, resulting in the exposure of the top two centimetres of buttcrack. So named because it is often observed sitting in front of you in a lecture theatre.

Tuesday, March 8

and here's to you, Mrs. Robinson

It seems I have been up to my old tricks, and have not attended uni two days this week. What was I saying about giving up quickly in a previous post? It's not without reason, but none the less it means that a scathing breakdown of the activies in my tutes will have to wait until next week.

Meantime, I have a confession to make.

I have a crush on an older woman...


Those of you unfamiliar with Virginia Trioli should know that she is the extraordinarily talented presenter of ABC774's Drive program here in Melbourne. As someone who drives around, to and from uni, to and from two jobs, I manage to spend a fair bit of time listening to the radio, and therefore some time... special time if you will... listening to Virginia.

Yeah that's right, The Student has a penchant for older, highly talented, award winning, former business journalists who host AM talkback radio shows.

This makes it really hard to pick up a nightclubs...

Cuts to scene of a pisspoor suburban nightclub, The Student slyly ambles up to an attractive brunette waiting at the bar...

*music blaring with the latest Eric Prydz track*

The Student: "Geez this Eric Pride guy is talented, I reckon he is destined for a long career in mainstream music."

Brunette: "Huh?"

The Student: *shouting* "Nevermind! So..... HAVE YOU WON ANY WALKLEY AWARDS?"

Brunette: *shouting* "What? . . . UM, NO!" *turns around*

The Student: *shouting* "Oh.... well... have you ever writt....." *taps Brunette on the shoulder* "I said... HAVE YOU EVER WRITTEN AN OPINION PIECE FOR THE AGE?"

Brunette: *ignores The Student*

Harp music... Snaps back into reality.

This sort of thing has happened to me time and time again, it's just hard to meet the right woman in today's world - that's why I think what me and Virginia have is special.


I wonder if she got my roses?

(For the record: Yes, The Student is single, no, he isnt the sort of guy who taps girls on the shoulder at nightclubs; and, no, he and Virginia Trioli are not in a relationship... not a relationship she knows about anyway.)

Sunday, March 6

University Life Glossary Term #2

Laptop Loser

Absolutely anyone who brings a laptop into a lecture and uses it to take notes.

Microeconomics . . . and like, timetabling.

Microeconomics is the study of... ... oh I don't know, I wasn't paying nearly enough attention in the lecture. I forgot to bring my glasses, and I always forget to bring my glasses first week because uni is the only place I need them and.... yeah.

In front of me sat three girls, one directly in front, one to her left and one to her right. We'll call them the Hillary Duffettes.

Classic first year students, the Duffettes were passing a sheet of A4 to each other jotting notes (which I could have read if I'd brought my glasses) about what I presume was their timetable. With concerned looks at each other they opened up their planners and pondered what I could see from my seat was a timetable that stretched across every day of the week.

If there is one piece of advice I'd give to someone about to start the time at uni, it would be to be very careful with your timetable. A poor timetable will severely cruel your semester. Here's a few hard and fast rules from a guy who has had more bad timetables than good girlfriends.

1: Avoid 9am starts - Okay, you're saying "No shit, I'd still be in bed" and you're right. The main problem with a 9am start is the driving during peak hour to get there for the lecture, that's an extra 30 - 45 minutes dodging nutjob light truck drivers in traffic.

2: Avoid 10am starts - Not as bad a 9am start, but not as good as an 11am start.

3: Fridays - Fridays and university don't mix. Werd.

4. Gaps - Grouping all your classes and tutes together in stretches of five hours without a break is sheer assclownery. I've made the mistake before, and... I'll probably make it again.

5. Fight for the 2.5 Day Week - Neatly fitting all your contact hours into two and half days is the goal, this might involve being forced to enroll in one tute and then arrogantly showing up to another. Personally, I've never been enough of a toss to do this, but if you just walk in and sit down they can't physically remove you.

Having two days off during the week allows you valuable time to work, sleep, go shopping, ignore homework, clean your room, ignore homework, wash your car, ignore homework, wash the neighbor's car, ignore homew... you get it.

The other observation about a timetable is that come 4 or 5 weeks into the semester, you rarely go to anything but the tutes for subjects which allocate finals marks to tutorial participation.

Therefore, disregard the advice in this post.

Saturday, March 5

University Life Glossary Term #1

Sleep Stopper

A drink, such as a coffee or a V, imbibed prior to the start of a lecture of any length in order to avoid falling a sleep in a puddle of your own drool during said lecture.


Success! Barely moments ago I finished the Week 1 reading for Stats. That's right, I opened, then read, the big blue stats book.

I have provided a rough approximation of my reaction to finishing the Week 1 reading below:


It'd be fair to this has been the academic highlight of an otherwise largely indifferent week. This week has been hot, then cold, then kinda hot when you'd be expecting it was cold and hence wore clothes to uni you'd rather not be wearing when it was hot, then cold again. But this indifferent week can be more squarely written off as been a result of the typical first week readjustment to uni than the erratic weather.

The first week back is always tiring and bit of a downer. For starters, I spend roughly an extra six hours a week driving. Personally, six extra hours of anything a week other than "sleep" is a drastic infringement on my personal time. And secondly, whatever shred of pre-semester enthusiasm you had worked yourself into prior to the first few classes is killed off the moment you start to look at the clock 25 minutes into a lecture and start pondering whether you can get out the door without disturbing too many people. Thirdly, it's expensive.

I can't think of many circumstances where I'd pay $90 for a book. Let alone $90 for a large, painfully slow to read, and annoying to transport, book that is going to dog me for the next 13 weeks. Yet, yesterday I did exactly that not once, but twice. Perhaps I could buy a few more and assemble them into a bit of a shanty in the backyard, get a tenant and charge some rent to recoup some of my costs.

Tutes start next week, more excitement then.

Tuesday, March 1

Tutorial Selection Terror!

The best thing about week one of uni is that there are no tutorials (tutes).

The worst thing about week one of uni is converting a carefully scripted proposed timetable of tutes into a successfully locked down tutes using an online 'booking system' which I referred to continually today as "Ohhhh FUCK OFF".

A successful selection will see you spending less hours at uni, ours which can be better spent. . . sleeping. A massive delay and mad scramble will see you having to select tutes which will expose you to gaping breaks and additional hours hanging around uni.

When I was a lowly Arts student, you got into your tutes by skipping the first lecture of each subject and going to the subject coordinators office to sign your name up to the time of your choice on a sheet on their door. Pretty easy hey.

In Business you and about 2000 other students all log onto the School of Business' version of purgatory. Timetabled to open at 10am, it NEVER starts without a delay. Following that, you kinda get stuck there, if it failed to book you in you spend time waiting and reloading, you're drawn to continually trying and trying and trying because if you turn away for a moment it might start working and then every other two bit 19 year old in a Von Dutch tshirt suddenly steals all the premium tutes you have coveted since the timetable was released months ago.

Then you start the wondering, maybe it's my computer, maybe it's my log in, maybe it's my internet connection. Then you start the phone calls to the uni.

Call 1: "Yeah hi, I know you've probably been asked this a hundred times, but is there a problem with Ohhhh FUCK OFF*? Oh yeah, there is? Okay I'll try again in a few minutes."

(* Not its real name)

Call 2: (some two hours later) "Hi, um, about Ohhhh FUCK OFF, is it up? It is? It's working? Yeah... look I'm still having trouble. Keep trying? Okay."

After 6 hours of typing and retyping my user name and password into the glitchy, held together with a combination of spit and smeg, glorified commodore 64 computer system, I'd had enough.

It was strongly worded email time.

Hi there,

I appreciate that there is a big backlog of students trying to get onto the system, but come on, this is ridiculous.

I've just sat in front of the computer for over 6 hours trying to simply log in and enroll in four tutes and all I'm getting in error screens and now the frustration of getting into the system only for it to kick me out again and ask me to log in, over and over. This is not on.

I appreciate that the level of access requests goes crazy the moment Ohhhh FUCK OFF opens, but shouldn't the system be ready to go at 10am - as advertised? It's not really a surprise that piles of business students are trying to log on at once is it? That's hardly an unforeseen circumstance is it?

I've rung a few times and have been told each time to keep trying, and that the system, as of around 3.30, is up. I've managed to actually get as for are choosing a tute after having to reload each step of the selection process three or four times - only to be once again asked to log in again and again and again.

Why have i just spent hours and hours trying to do something as simple as enroll in my tutes?

How hard would it be to put up a screen which says, "We apologise for the inconvenience, but Ohhhh FUCK OFF will not be available until 4pm" thereby saving everyone hours of punching passwords into an overheated system?

I'm not trying to vent or take my frustrations out on anyone, and i hate people who shoot the messenger, I'm just trying to articulate the frustration of spending hours and hours punching a user name and password into a computer.

Kind Regards,

The Student

See how articulate and reasonable I can sound even though I'm fighting back the temptation to go and file their rickety computer system under "Destroyed With An Axe" ?

Just as I was about to hit 'Send' on that Spike Milligan-esque gem of modern electronic correspondence, I decided to give a mate a call and ask him if he could get in on his 'super fast internet connection', rather than my 'two tin cans attached with string" set up I'm running here.

Turns out he had no trouble and in three minutes my tutes were selected. Fan. Fucking. Tastic. I missed out on three of my preferred times but didn't fair too badly, considering it was now nearing SEVEN HOURS since I first tried to log in. I have never wasted a day of my life in a more convincing fashion than today.

Today's Hindenberg style tutorial selection disaster highlights the fact that no amount of careful planning and well thought out manipulation of the system can insure you against the ravages of tutorial selection terror. Beware!


Statistics, or 'Stats' as it likes you to call it as if it was on old mate from high school, is the sort of subject which is spoken of in hushed and sighing ways. I've never tried to pass Stats, I've never been to more than one lecture before, but I am sure Stats is the sort of subject that sees you bathing in Detol and scrubbing yourself with a wire brush the moment it's over.

Stats is a core subject for Business students, you can get away from it; and it's also the sort of subject that you have to do well in to pass, you can't hope to arse your way through it and nail down a 50/100. Stats requires six months of attention and focus - only for you to promptly forget the detail of the course 13.5 minutes following the final exam (possibly during the Detol bath, possibly after).

I've enrolled to do stats four times now, in each other the last three semesters I have subsequently dropped it. I like to tell myself that it's because I'm overloaded with other work and university commitments and wont have the time to "dedicate" myself to the subject - the reality is that I'm scared shitless of the text book and it's mixed bag of numerical trickery.

Stats sounds shit before you even walk into a lecture, everyone talks it down. It looks shit the second you see the massive blue text book stacked with formulae containing half the greek alphabet and the sadomasochistic wonder of 'to the power of 243' values. I have the same text book I purchased for it two years ago, I still haven't opened it. It's pretty messed up that one of my major goals for the year is to just open a book.

Yesterday was my first lecture in Stats for this year - true to form I received a photocopied subject outline (which goes nicely with the other three Stats subject outlines I have) - and then spent the rest of the lecture in a kind of daze, paying attention to what was being said, and kinda slipping in and out of a random daydream about Survivor Palau.

It's dismaying that my main concern of my first lecture for 2005 is whether or not the cute brunette sitting two seats along from me to my right thinks that the screaming pile of body odour emanating from the largish guy sitting two seats to my left was in fact coming from me. Statistically I'd describe this guy as:

"Smells > is acceptable in public without some sort of glandular condition as an excuse."

I mean, come on, I can't have some dude with lackluster personal hygiene cramping my mojo with girls who have no idea I exist.

Damnit ... I already hate stats.