Thursday, July 29, 2010

contradictions and dreams

As a (cough) *mature* student I was invited to attend a pre-semester warm-up plan for old bastards. This is known as the "Jump Start" academic skills program (though the moniker puts me in mind of old rusty vehicles growing weeds in a paddock...which is kinda how I feel)

Having accepted the offer of a metaphorical kick in the pants to get things rolling I duly trotted off to Officeworks to indulge in some (justified!) splurging on stationery...Bic Retro pens in their orange and black plasticy loveliness! paperclips in rainbow colours! a stapler with a satifying 'thunk' to it! notebooks in all sizes and colours! a laptop cover! shiny things! little tiny useless bits of frippery!

Sorry...where was I?

Ah, JSAP. A week of well-meaning, though often contradictory, advice.

I left most days feeling more confused than I had on arrival. *sigh*

No-one seemed to know exactly who I needed to see, which made things more difficult. I dragged my trendy book-transporter (i.e. nanna-trolley) hither and thither across the length and breadth of the campus, up stairs and down, and through the hallowed halls and all to no avail.

I required guidance on applying for exemptions or credit for previous studies I have completed. A few hints on courses to complete to get me to where I want to be wouldn't have gone amiss either.
It felt like everywhere I went I was greeted with a smile and then a shaking head and a finger pointing to the furthest corner of campus... "Oh you want X" (bright smiley smile)"X is over there, down past y, round z and about a bazillion floors up. Good luck!" (Beam)


A week and a half of this and I have to say I have more or less managed to cobble together my own version of the info I needed, in addition to getting to know the campus really, REALLY well.

My 'Plan' has been lodged - Philosophy Extended Major with a Minor in Logic & the Philosophy of Science.

That's a LOT of Philosophy. *beams*

Somehow along the way I have managed to pick up another course to sit in on, despite not technically being enrolled in it (yet - stay tuned!) so at present we have:- (cue Drum Roll)

  • Phenomenology & Existentialism
  • Crime & Punishment (Issues in Legal Justice)
  • Power, Politics and Society: Passionate Encounters
and then maaaaaaaaaaaybe
  • Logic
but maybe not.

Logic is a necessary evil if I am to (one day) progress to Honours. The jury is currently out on whether I need to actually do the course or whether I can sit in on lectures to cover gaps in my existing knowledge base (thereby missing out on 2 horrendous examinations. a terrible shame, no?) Associate Professor doing the lecturing is twinkly-eyed paternal sort with a wicked sense of humour - opening his lecture with a Monty Python skit. Methinks Logic might actually be FUN. (maybe)

The 'dreaming' part of the title of this post refers to all the pipe-dream planning aheadness of Honours and Post Grad certificates in Applied Law (only 6 months!!! Hoorah! Medical Law! w00t!)

In reality I now have to get on with the mastication at hand, so to speak, having bitten off a substantial amount to be going along with...

Wish me luck!

the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

I am 37 years old/young.

My grey matter has been atrophying through the years; sometimes at great speed, swept along on a torrent of chemicals both licit and illicit.

Recent years have embraced the calm of sobriety and a growing desire to retrain the decaying muscles of the mind.

A tentative start was made in 2006. The tiniest dip of a toe. Determined to fill the cravings for substances with something more substantial, words rushed in to fill the cavernous abyss. Who would have ever thought that writing academic papers could provide a greater high than drugs?

Surprisingly, the powers-that-be in their ivory towers of academia nodded their heads sagely in agreement. I was in.

For four years I have devoted every spare moment, and some that should by rights have been devoted to other things (like food, exercise, friendships and sleep) to maintaining an implausible grade average from my loungeroom. Philosophy is a strange world to study in isolation but somehow pyjamas seemed to suit the subject matter. For a while at least...

Which brings me


I have plunged from the cliff of the known. Of comfort, stability, routine. I am hurtling towards the new, the unknown, the scary - from the tranquility of 5 acres of rainforest to the chaos of a campus to which 50,000 people head on a daily basis.

This is my journey as I begin full-time on-campus studies to (finally) complete my Bachelor of Arts degree.