The stage is set. The lights are ready. You’ve practiced your routine. And the curtain is about to unravel.
Thus begins the first act.
And for the most part, it comes naturally. Classes begin and end at a set time, just like you remember. Even accounting for all the protesting by your lecturers that this time, those first few weeks lull you into a sense of security. Everything seems to work to plan.
That wouldn’t make for a very good show now, would it?
In a city the size of Auckland, diversity rules supreme. There are countless things to do, sights to see, and people to meet. Moving from a smaller city, it feels like a luxury. Freedom is what I would call it. Here, you can do as you please. As long as you are prepared to face the consequences. Children get pushed away from consequences. Multiple warnings are given. As if every time a choice was made, a pop up came up asking if you’re sure you want to do this.
Nowadays, not so much. In the past two weeks, I’ve sat down and thought about how I’m going to write this piece. And as I looked around me, I saw unfolded washing still sitting in the basket. I saw a stack of assignments un-started. I saw a gym membership that I haven’t used in two weeks.
Yet there is no-one there to prompt you on your next line.
Planning my courses was perhaps one of the bigger mistakes that contributed to this. I stacked my courses to begin at one. The body has a way of thus shifting your schedule to fit. Sleeping until eleven becomes the new normal, and you feel no more rested than you normally are.
For the first time this morning, I had breakfast with everyone else, between the 7 to 9 time slot. Damn it tasted good. Then came classes. Where as a well-rested soul you felt all the more engaged and all the more “on top of things”. The assignments begin to seem manageable. Heck, I might even go to the gym if the stars align.
Once you’ve picked yourself up and brushed yourself off, after the brutalizing first few weeks of university, there now lies a second challenge. Building the character. Upon setting foot on the stage, that same freedom that gives you a sense of dread gives you the choice to define that character. Perhaps the easiest way the university helps you with this is through clubs. And I could tell you to go take part in as much as you can, but for me, it was a mistake. I ended up going to a club opening night every single day of the week and by the end, I wanted nothing but to have a full night’s rest.
Then there was the Auckland Arts Festival. Which should deserve a post of its own, but here’s the rundown. It’s a month of every kind of art you can think of, from spoken-word soul all the way to displays like the House of Mirrors. At Tank and the Bangas/Emily King/Teeks, even in the crowd of under 1000, It’s probably the most enthusiastic I’ve seen a crowd. At the play of 1984, the world they created shook you to the bone.
The first act felt brutal. But in a similar way, it feels refreshing. From a summer of inactivity, grinding away feels incredibly meaningful. Auckland has all the props necessary for putting on a good show.
Until next time.