Friday, January 20, 2017

2016: Recap



Well, I must admit it has been a while since my last post. A very long while. Thankfully, I have an excuse, and it’s a very good one at that.

You see, 2016 is the year I entered the wonderful world of University! A world full of learning, new people, deadlines, adventure, travel time and ultra-fast free Wi-Fi! But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

First, I’m going to preface this with I didn’t start an actual degree in 2016. Rather I did a bridging course. The reason I did this is because I home-schooled, and despite all its perks, I didn’t have an ATAR. This didn’t mean I had to do a bridging course, but due to another quirk of home-schooling – namely, BOSTES does not recognise anything beyond the completion of year 10 (although I was doing year 11 stuff) - I effectively had an entire year free. So, we figured that I might as well do this course and call it my year 12. 

The first week or so was very interesting. I knew effectively nothing about catching the train. Or where the train station was. Fortunately, Dad had decided that it would be wise to take a couple days off work to show me how to navigate life at Uni, and this included navigating to Uni. The initial train ride itself was interesting in that I had very rarely been on trains before this, and it was a bit of a novelty. Even after the initial novelty had worn off it was still interesting being on the train just people watching, although that was only really when all the seats had been taken. This was due to two main reasons:

One, if I was sitting down I was much more likely to be reading, either a textbook or on my phone. Granted, I could read while standing up, but I never really found that comfortable. Also, reading while standing up would’ve been somewhat unwise, as when standing up in a train there is a lot of wobbling involved, and by reading I wouldn’t be paying attention to the trains movements. To make it even worse more of an adventure, reading takes up a hand, which could be possibly put to a better use in stopping you falling on your face. 

Two, it was rather difficult to see people while sitting down. And people paying attention to things while standing up made sense, but people sitting down need to reading on their phones or looking out the window contemplatively otherwise they stuck out like a sore thumb.

Anyway, on the first day I will admit that I had briefly considered the notion that the trains would be the trickiest parts of the day. After all, being at Uni couldn’t be too bad, right? Get off at the station, and walk to the lectures at the right times, and do stuff at the library while waiting. Whereas the trains seemed to have a long list of stuff to do. Get up in time for the train, leave the house in time for the train, make to the train station in time for the train, getting on the right train, getting off at the right station, etc. 

Heh. I was wrong.

For starters, the campus was slightly bigger than I thought it would be, and by slightly, I mean significantly. Sure, I had looked it up before hand, but for some reason that didn’t really help. Further complicating the issue was that the train station was effectively at the opposite end of the campus from where I needed to go. Ultimately, plenty of space to get lost in.

It didn’t really help that there are two main hub areas. One that I would be spending pretty much all my time at, and the other which…. Er…. I wouldn’t be. Three guesses for which one we found first, and because I’m generous you can take all three.

On the bright side, the other hub being a, well, hub, it did in fact have all the things we initially needed. It was the first day of the semester, and everyone else needed the same things (like a student card, which was supposedly important), and there was a large crowd.
You know, I think the only times I saw those places full were on the first and second days of each semester. Every other time had a couple of people at most.

After getting a student card, and getting un-lost and finding the right hub area, I thought it would be simple from there on it. After all, all I needed to do was find the right rooms and listen to some people talk for a while. Have I mentioned that the buildings seemed to be designed like mazes until you get used to them? Yeah…

Now, I could give a day by day rundown of the entire year (well, not really), but after I found all the places I needed to be, a process that took a week or so, I pretty much got set into a routine, and most days were uneventful. Get to Uni on the train, go to the library, go to lecture/tutorial, go back to library, go to lecture/tutorial, etc., get on train to home, get home.

With that said, there were some more interesting days. For instance, there would often be some sort of event or stalls set up in front of the library, half of which I had no idea as to what the special occasion was. There were also the “stress less” weeks that were held at the end of each semester. I skipped most of these, although I did go to where they were one afternoon, just to see what was going on. They had a couple of things, like hammocks, music, a petting zoo. Relaxing things, for stressing less. They also had mini ‘Wipeout Balls’.



In fairness, they actually looked more like this, but the concept is the same.



Regardless, whenever those things had appeared on the show I had always wondered how I would go navigating them. Often, I followed up that thought with “Probably not very well.”. But still I wondered. And behold, here I had a chance to finally find out.
Thus, I went and joined the queue and before too long I was standing at the jumping point. The moment of destiny. What would happen?

I jumped.
I landed on the First Ball, Success!
I started to move to jump again.
I realised I hadn’t landed very well.
I fell forward.
I bounced, nearly face planting but not quite off the second one on the way down. Success?
I landed on the “ground”.
So, 1.000005/4. Not too bad.

Naturally, I got a bit better on repeated tries, but from memory I never made it to the end. Shame.

The other interesting thing that they had was bubble soccer. This was another one that I had heard of, and I figured that since I was there, I might as well give it a go. As it happened, by the time I got there, they were nearly ready to finish up, and the game wasn’t so much Bubble soccer anymore, but was more of a game of “I’mma gonna charge you and its fun cause bubble forcefields!”, which if one is honest, is pretty much the main point of bubble soccer anyway. The essence of the game, as it were. 

Anyway, when I went and got into a bubble I found out that I may just be a little bit too big to play bubble soccer comfortably. I can fit in the bubble, but breathing is slightly uncomfortable. However, I could ignore it and so I did. The other thing that I learned is to never turn your back on a bubble on legs. Those other bubbles were sneaky things for their size. Sneaky, fast, and heavy. Coincidently, I also learned what it’s like to be sent flying and land upside down. Fun times.

There was also another day when I was walking up to fountain to meet a friend. As I got closer to the fountain, I started to become aware of some sort of alarm bell ringing. Eventually I worked out that it was coming from the direction of the chemistry building, which explained it as far as I was concerned. Thus, I continued onto the fountain and when I get there I see a whole bunch of students in lab coats, as well as their teacher. Also, interesting to note was the fact that there were a couple of security guards standing down the path to the chemistry building, in a “You shall not pass” sort of way. I really wish I could’ve found out what happened in there. I wonder if it happens often.

But by far the most memorable event happened in the first semester, near the beginning of the year. It seemed to be a normal day: I arrived at Uni, and went to the library to wait for the first lecture of the day to start. Not too long after I had gotten set up, I got text message from a number I didn’t recognize. I can’t remember the message word for word, but it went something like

PACKAGE FOR MR. [My last name]
HAS BEEN DELEIVED TO LOCKER
[Some Number] ACCESS
CODE IS [Some other number]
CONFIRM ONCE COLLECTED

Naturally, this both confused me and spiked my curiosity. Not only had I gotten a text from I number I didn’t recognize, the text had my somewhat unique last name. I briefly considered that maybe it was from the Post office, but I eventually decided that this was unlikely, since I didn’t order anything, and really if I had it should’ve gone to my home addresses.

After some more pondering, I figured that this text might be some part of a Uni event of some sort. I wasn’t completely certain that this was the case, but at the very least it gave me a course of action to take. With this is mind I went and asked one of the librarians about it. The librarian had a look at the message, and after a short conversation to make sure it wasn’t something that I recognized, came to the conclusion that no, they had no idea what it was. Maybe I could ask the student services?
Eager to get to the bottom of this, I headed off to the nearby student hub. After a short wait, I got to talk to a student service person, who quickly decided that they also had no idea, but they could phone around. Thankfully the seats were nice, so waiting some more wasn’t really a problem. Before too much time had elapsed, the student services called me back over and told me that they still had no idea what was going on, but then asked if it would be okay if they called security to look into it. In all honesty, that seemed like it might be overkill, but I was still very curious as to what the text message was, so I agreed and sat down to wait for security. Once the security guy arrived it turned out they hadn’t heard about it either, but they would go and find out. Regrettably at this time I needed to leave for my lecture, so I left the security guy with my number and the time the lecture would be finished and headed off. 

Let me tell you, as much as I like maths it was rather difficult to focus while there was an ever-deepening mystery going on about me. 

Not to long after the lecture finished I got a call from the security guy asking if I was now free, and would it be possible for me to come down to the lockers. Once I got to the locker, it turned out that it hadn’t been opened yet. Instead a full security team had been called in, and the entire area around the lockers had been ‘security taped’ off, including a nearby path.

And I had thought one security guy was overkill. Hah!

Anyway, as it turned out all they wanted was for me to show the chief security guy the message, and to make sure that I still didn’t know what it could’ve been. As it also turned out, they were going to be opening the locker soon, they were just waiting for the police they had called in to arrive.

As you can probably tell, this was not the way I expected the day to go. Once again, I had to go to a lecture, so I missed the actual opening of the locker. However, near the end of the day I got a final call from the original security guy who told me that once they got to open the locker, they had found a letter from the local Christian group I had joined.

Apparently, it was meant to be an invitation for one of their early morning men’s bible study and breakfast thing, and the message was sent that way because it seemed like a fun way to do it, all spy themed and such.

The kicker is that after all the things that happened, I never actually got to see the letter. Which is a shame really. Apparently, it was a really nice letter, with a wax seal and everything. 

Other than that, it was a rather peaceful year, apart from the regular scheduled stress times (Exams) and the occasional kangaroo who thought it was tougher than the car. Not relaxing, but peaceful all the same. And now I get to do more of it this year, except I might just know what I am doing.




Maybe.

6 comments:

  1. I laugh every time I hear that letter-in-the-locker story. xD I hadn't heard it from you though, so this one was the most detailed retelling. :P

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    1. It does kinda leave me wondering: Given that this is what happened to me the first year, what is going happen in the next five or so?

      Also, who told you this story? My three guesses are my mum, your mum, or Sarah.

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  2. Umm, I think we have been told that story by multiple different sources, including our dad, and Sarah, and maybe even you.... I still laughed, and this one was way more detailed. I had never learned about the comfy chairs or all the lectures interrupting the adventure, and a number of other details.

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    Replies
    1. I like how I'm the maybe, although truth be told I can't actually remember myself.

      Anyway, a fair few of the details aren't actually that important to the story, but since I was writing it up I figured I may as well include them.

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    2. Well some of those details made the story even better. I am quite sure our dad told us a very short version of the story first time I heard it.

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  3. o-o Nice Blog! Also, this is the first time I've read the letter in the locker story, and I think it's hilarious!! XD
    (By the way, I'm Ralraymee.)

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