Post-high school is filled with a whirlwind of opportunities, as well as some well deserved fucking freedom. The primary opportunity presented in my culture was that of university, the epitome of capitalism in the educational discourse. Now, uni was something I always had an inclination towards, not due to pressure and expectations, but out of interest. I am a self-professed lover of learning new things. The idea of expanding my mind and experiencing new things gives me a sense of wonder (with a shot of anxiety, or several) like no other. But university has a different culture to what I wanted and to an extent, what I expected.
The poster image for uni in Australia is ten shots of vodka, clubs with shitty edm and a recurring promise to take things seriously next year before your HECS debt goes out of control. A guarantee for smooth sailing is a lie, but then again, where’s the fun in that. Unattended lectures and absences that pile up until only a call from your cardiovascular surgeon could waive them is the academic side. But, fuck that academic side, am I right? It’s all about getting wasted, hooking up and bonding with strangers in the bathroom of Pontoon over your favourite shade of lipstick.
Now, if you’re an extrovert this is your wet dream and no one will hold you back, not even a free for all looting of a tim-tam factory. Some even enjoy the adrenaline rush of socialising and honestly, hearing this makes me cringe and seriously consider becoming a shaman in Tibet. Growing up with an undiagnosed cased of generalised anxiety, socialising is something I struggle to do so. So having to reject recurring invites to various university parties and gatherings becomes quite tiring. A part of me wants attend, to let loose and lose myself in the atmosphere. But the other part, the one governed by anxiety itself, begins to overthink and panic at the thought of being thrust in the middle of overly touchy and fucking annoying people. And do not get me started on the music (seriously, what the fuck). I’ve tried to fake it before, but trust me, if you do fake it have an escape route planned out, thoroughly.
I’m not talking down anyone who parties. If that’s what you’re taking away from this then you can fuck off John, go and fuck around on your yacht with daddy’s money. It’s just that this culture of partying at university dominates, and later becomes exclusive. When I hang out with my friends, it becomes all they can talk about. It later becomes something they attempt to coerce me into attending. And I feel the need to conform, to attend these events and subject myself to a mental panic attack and days of over-analysing and self-doubt.
I’ve actually lost track of where I was going with this. Looking over it I realise this post is begging for a segue into a piece about mental health and anxiety. Anyways, going back on track, the ‘ideal’ uni life is difficult to narrow down on one set of experiences, The predominant idea is that of long nights partying hard and bonding over drunken mistakes. But then there are other moments that are so easily discarded despite being so rich in wonder and vibrancy, same as your drunken nights.
Also, to those who feel the need to boast about their partying lives, props to you brother. You do you, but some of us just like a nice poetry reading at Glebe to escape that embarrassing encounter with Ethan the other day. (sorry dude)