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May 14, 2018 | by  | in Opinion Pasifika Student Council | [ssba]

PSC: One Ocean

It’s graduation week! And I’m inspired by Mary Smich’s column “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” (which Baz Luhrmann adapted into “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”) to release my inner graduation speaker. In my long 2 years of being a non-student, I feel I’m at a good place to pass on my pearls of wisdom:

If you’re doing a degree without a clear career pathway attached to it, you have to network. I’m guessing networking is useful for any industry, but it’s especially important for us Arts kids. “Networking” as an intentional activity feels disingenuous: forming strategic connections, rather than letting it be the by-product of genuinely being interested in and engaging with people.

Along the way in my four years at uni, I met people that made my life richer by showing me different ways of living and thinking, and listening to my life and thoughts with equal intrigue. And then they’ve known people who know people who’ve seen my work and have passed my name onto other people etc.

I don’t know how helpful or inspiring that was… I’m never going to be a graduate speaker at this rate. Hmmm, how about this classic: University isn’t right for everybody.

There are a lot of circumstances that I can’t relate to or understand, which means that being here isn’t the way to create the future that fits your needs. It was an easy enough choice for me. My brain worked well enough in the way uni required, and my personal interests lie here. So it fit for me. But be critically honest about what you need. For a lot of us, it’s less of luxury and more of a necessity to climb out of our low socio-economic realities.

If you can’t afford to drop out, gird your loins, use as many support services your student levy will fund, force yourself to attend classes and study groups, and find effective de-stressers (esp if they come without a hangover). Struggling alone tends to make the pain more embarrassing, because it seems everyone else is handling it better. So find people to struggle with. Find them and thrive, together. So I guess my advice is to network. Or rather, make friends.


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