Rev. Spanky Moore dishes out start of year advice.
Ahhhhhhh. I absolutely adore the first week of the University year. Seeing thousands of you students poring onto campus for your first lecture and your first taste of $2 rice…the raw anticipation on your faces…fresh text books underarm with the clear film still on… it’s truly a beautiful thing! I also love going to Countdown at this time of year and eavesdropping on gaggles of flatmates trying to negotiate the politics of their first food shop together. “Woah! 1000 wontons for $49! That would sort us out for EVERY MEAL this week!”
Now that’s what freedom tastes like. But some of you reading this will really struggle to adjust to the smorgasborg of freedom that uni life offers.
We live in an age where students and twenty-somethings feel huge pressure to do everything, all at the same time: party hard… But also, study hard! Write a novel… but also, write a thesis! Travel the world… but also, settle down and get work experience! As writer Jonathan Safran Foer put it “Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
At it’s best the first few weeks of Uni is a wonderful festive celebration: friends, frivolity, fried wontons. At it’s worst O-week can be a messy attempt to escapes our self doubts and the pressure to be all things to everyone else.
So take some lovingly shared advice from a holy man with a big beard – don’t party so hard that you never get around to studying. And don’t study so hard that you never get around to making friends. In my opinion the most important thing you can do in these first few weeks at UC is put yourself out there to meet new people, and to be intentional about making a few solid friends. Trust me – if you invest well in these first few months, you’ll have deep friendships (and not just deep friend wontons) to call upon in the semesters ahead.
So pace yourself. Make space to meet new people. And I beg you – try and keep that look of joyful anticipation on your face for as long as possible.
Rev. Spanky Moore
Senior Ecumenical Chaplain