I’m sitting here in my room in Uni Hall, eating a mandarin. Today is Thursday: the two-week mid-semester break is nearing its end. Gosh it’s gone fast. I spent most of it in Christchurch – I’ve only just come back to Auckland today to get some study done over these last few days. I hit a pretty good balance between relaxation and activity; as well as getting some much-needed rest I had a fair share of interesting experiences. As a blogger I’m supposed to keep my content relevant to ‘student life’. Holidays are a big part of this. Besides, I’m pretty sure that reading about the hijinks I got up to in the holidays must be more fun than reading about assignments and lectures. So, then, here is how one student spent his two weeks off:

  • I caught up with a good friend of mine who went to a different uni in a different city. It was really lovely to see a familiar face and to hear about the exciting things the owner of said face has been up to recently. It gives me great joy to know that, between good friends, even though you may be going your separate ways in some respects, strong friendships run deeper than the changes.
  • I bought my first bottle of wine from the supermarket. Though I’m nearly 19, I don’t drink a whole lot of wine or alcohol in general, so up until recently I hadn’t actually bought anything from the supermarket requiring me to show ID. This was soon to change, however. I was making tea one night, readying myself for flatting next year, and the recipe for butternut squash and sage risotto that I was following specified white wine. We didn’t have any at home; I had to overcome my reservations and go out and buy some. I put a cheap bottle of pinot gris in my basket and flashed my driver’s licence to the checker, hoping to give the appearance that buying white wine is something I do all the time. The risotto turned out alright in the end, actually – the wine gave it a nice nutty tang – though there was heaps too much and we had it for leftovers the next evening.
  • The Christchurch Readers’ and Writers’ Festival was on; I went along to a few events. All were thought-provoking. I particularly enjoyed the talk given by the mortician Caitlin Doughty about her work in the death industry.
  • As a family we packed a picnic lunch at Tumbledown Bay, just over a half hour’s drive from Christchurch. We hadn’t been there in years. It was a beautiful sunny day and there wasn’t another person in sight; I tried to think of such a scenario ever taking place in Auckland. Lovely though it was, we decided it was far too cold to think about swimming.


  • I got back the grades of my first two major composition assignments for MUS 111; they weren’t too great, I’m afraid. It was quite a hard blow for me – for one of the two I felt like I deserved my grade, but for other one, I really tried and was relatively happy with the finished product, and so was quite deflated when I saw the result. Ah well: you can’t do anything but keep going. There’s still time to make up my grades for this paper, and besides, one very important thing to learn and remind yourself is not to pin your entire self-worth on such a superficial thing as your academic performance.
  • I spent a great chunk of the first week reading The Count of Monte Cristo, a ripping adventure yarn by Alexandre Dumas, the same guy who wrote A Three Musketeers. It’s so good: there are duels and prison breaks, there’s plotting and passion and hidden treasure, everything is in there. But it’s so long! As I said, I devoted much of the first week to reading this gargantuan tome, and I’m not even halfway yet. Hopefully I’ll have time to finish it on top of my coursework this second half of the semester…
  • I was glad to be home for Father’s Day, so I could make my dad scones (his favourites).
  • Home didn’t feel as strange and unwelcoming as it did in the mid-sem break last semester. Now I knew things had changed, and was more comfortable with that and with where I fitted in.
  • Whereas I previously used to cringe at it, I began to see I actually miss my parents’ music tastes.
  • I thought about studying, and actually did a little. Better than none, I tell myself.

– Anthony.