Hello again, everybody! It’s been a few weeks – but now that I am free from the throes of essays, tests, and the mammoth week that was Stir Fried IX (not to mention the laryngitis that jumped at the chance to steal my voice and wreck my immune system), we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Major job envy returned as I managed to get into the closing night of Amadeus for free! (You can tell you know the right people when…)

As you may have guessed, the past couple of weeks have been hectic. It’s got to the point where I typed that and thought, “but when are weeks not hectic?” – which prompts me to reiterate a message I’ve made before on this blog: just because you’re spending less time in class, it doesn’t mean you’ve got time to spare! Over the past month, I’ve had barely any free evenings, combining university work with rehearsals for two plays (Stir Fried IX) as well as a new job I’ve picked up, and – as expected – there’s been fog looming because of it.

However, while dragging myself through it all, fighting tooth and nail to triumph over this tough time, I’ve discovered a few things. Namely, sometimes in order to fix what’s within, you have to look out. (That makes me think of Nick Carraway in the second chapter of Gatsby, “simultaneously within and without.”)

1. #AWF17

A couple of weeks ago, I had the extraordinary opportunity – as an Inside Word blogger – to attend two events for free at the Auckland Writers Festival 2017. The AWF is an incredible festival, filled to the brim with inspiring authors, artists, and activists from all over the world. (As an aspiring all-of-the-above, you can imagine how immediately I RSVP’d!)

The first event I attended was the Women and Power panel, featuring Roxane Gay, Mpho Tutu van Furth, and Michelle A’Court, chaired by Susie Ferguson. Goodness gracious, do I feel privileged to have been in that theatre. All four women spoke so passionately and eloquently about different facets of politics, feminism, privilege, intersectionality, with conversation ranging from long-form, really thoughtful responses to crisp-cut one-liners that I couldn’t resist jotting down into the Notes app on my phone. I could write forever about the merits of that session, but for the purpose of not evangelising or typing out an epic, I’ll just say that I laughed, I applauded, I took it all in like a sponge, and I left feeling empowered – hungry – ready to forge ahead. If you ever find yourself with an opportunity to see these women in action, do not hesitate to take it!

The next event I attended was the pop up session for Rupi Kaur, a poet for whom I hold a very special place in my heart. Rupi – I call her that like we’re friends (if only) – is the kind of person who seems to verbalise one’s innermost feelings, which is something I aspire to do with my own writing. There was almost a crisis when the attendants at the ticket desk couldn’t find my ticket to the event, but I got to the room in question with a few minutes to spare prior to the opening of the doors, and guess who I found when we all surged in! Eunice, fellow blogger extraordinaire!

We managed to get seats quite close to the front, and clutched each other’s hands in anticipation of the hour to come. Rupi was everything I could have hoped for – warm and funny and so genuinely human. I looked at her on the stage and thought, “that could be me.” (Which feels like a silly thing to say, because she has achieved so much and I am an overbooked first year student, but hey! That’s what art does to people!)

When the hour was up and my time at the AWF was over, I wouldn’t have dreamed of spending the evening doing anything else. It gave me major job envy, and solidified my beliefs within myself about all those lofty ideas like purpose and ambition and wanting something so badly, so viscerally, that it feels more like an innate need than anything else. I’ll definitely be getting my own tickets to loads of different events when next year rolls around, as I’ve discovered a gem that I never want to let go of – even if ASB was absolutely packed to the rafters! (Seriously, though, if you’re in Auckland with the capacity to go, do so. There’s such a wide range of sessions on offer that there’ll definitely be at least one perfect for you!)

2. STIR FRIED IX

Quick warning for squeamish readers: A little later in this section there’ll be a pic of me covered in !! FAKE !! blood as a result of one of the plays I was in. If you don’t want to see that, avoid the second image or maybe skip to the third section where I talk about my new job!

Stir Fried IX took up all of my time last week, resulted in many late nights covered in sticky, fake blood that I think I might’ve had a bit of a reaction to, as well as the loss of my voice. However, it was also a ton(ne) of fun! Stray Theatre Co. is a great group to get involved in, and with the amount of people that I’ve met and the diversity of content I’ve seen produced, I’d definitely recommend getting amongst it. If you’re looking to make friends outside of halls and classes, this is the way to go.

Student theatre is #wild. This is Agnes. She’s a gang leader. (Or, at least, she was.)

3. MY **NEW JOB**

Who would’ve guessed it – having a job that takes up your time can actually make you feel less stressed. I’m not going to pretend that it makes any sense (in reality, I’m earning money, which probably contributes quite a lot to the calming down factor in that I’m helping to incur less student debt), but I have a new job and I absolutely love it! I won’t tell you where it is – for, like, safety reasons, I guess – but if you’ve read my blog, I’ve mentioned the place before… *cheeky wink*. The people are lovely and the hours are casual so I can work as much or as little as fits with my schedule each week.

I think it’s good to take time to be out and about and have that change of pace in order to remind yourself that, hey, there’s more out there than university and stress and lack of sleep – and sometimes the walk across town to the workplace helps to clear my head. (It also gives me that #cardio that I haven’t been getting from my lack of attendance at the gym. Yikes.)

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congrats! You must feel like you just finished the Harry Potters, although, much less magic.

Catch ya next week!

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Tate Fountain

Writer/actor/singer/pun enthusiast shaking up UoA in pursuit of a conjoint BA/LLB.
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