Connection can mean a lot of different things, and to a lot of different people. It could represent the bonds between old friends, or those fleeting moments shared between strangers. It can be taken as a list of every person you have met, or how technology allows us to reach people we will never know. At times it appears in the way one looks at an object or plays with an animal. It could be the affinity we feel with certain places. In some circumstances it defines how ideas and practices overlap. In others it becomes an action, where we form associations with things that were once separate. Or it can be a process in which certain life-choices trigger others. We can also find connections within ourselves: to our dreams, our passions, and our very own identity.
Such connections thrive at UOW; this unique learning center hums with the diversity created by its vast student body. By glimpsing at the varying lifestyles of UOW students, this blog scratches the surface of the many ways connections are made through uni life. It only makes sense to explore this phenomenon through the modern journalistic qualities found in a blog. After all, connections are central to journalism, as the practice accelerates in linking people and events from across the globe.
‘Do you remember the first person you met at UOW?’ Long pauses often followed this question; whilst other responses were instantaneous as the memory lit up behind the interviewee’s eyes. A number of lasting friends and lost acquaintances were mentioned, although some interviewees couldn’t even remember who this person was. One individual was so focused on his studies that he was yet to really connect with anyone at uni. But no matter what, each answer captured a glimpse of the person’s life at uni, and the connections that they have made through it.
In his class breaks, Aden enjoys playing pool at the Unibar, where he is surrounded by friends and good music. ‘Hit and hope, just hit and hope.’ Aden shared his secret to the game in-between his turns. ‘But I definitely get better the more drunk I am,’ he added. Regardless of his sober state, he sunk one ball after the other, dreadlocks flying from the momentum behind his big shots. Aden won’t take excuses for not hitting any balls, never holding back from teasingly threatening other players of having to do a ‘nuddy run’ around the bar if they were to do so.
The expectation ducks place on UOW students can seem ‘unrealistic’, yet on occasion is met. For Aaron exceeded the hopes of the web-footed bird that he coined the ‘Grandfather Duck’. The two can often be found under a large tree, where Grandfather Duck is hand-fed breadcrumbs by his human companion. As this ritual evolved, Grandfather Duck eventually earned Aaron’s apples, returning the gesture with a sizeable pile of mushed fruit on the ground. Aaron has learnt much about the UOW duck community in his experiences. ‘The brown one over there…[by the pond]’ he pointed out, ‘is a complete d*ck’.
Unperturbed by my presence, Annie Hazelton was at total ease with her video camera. It was like she was talking to another person in the room. In reality, this fellow journalist student was meeting the eye of the lens, confiding in it completely. Annie covered anything from quotes involving bananas to raw truths about her past struggles. ‘For me personally, in high school I never really felt wanted by my friends.’ she told her future-YouTube viewers. ‘I think what screwed me up the most was this picture in my head of how things should have been…[when] that didn’t happen for me…I was devastated.’
If you want to check out the video that Annie was filming during the shoot, simply click on the photo above.
Stefan Rushbourne designed his phone case. The idea came to him through his friend’s company, Huddle and Co., which manufactures and sells wooden and recycled furniture. Thinking ‘wooden iPhones would be sick’ Stefan and his friend collaborated, ordering a bunch of cases with their laser-cut designs. The two met randomly last New Years at Byron Bay, where they discovered that they lived only five minutes away from each other. They are planning on moving in together this year. Stefan proves that there is more to uni life than the on-campus experience; it’s also a time where students become independent individuals.
If you want to check out Huddle and Co. simply click on the photo above.
Ellena Gewargis just started her first year at UOW to study journalism and creative writing. Right in her element, this avid writer dreams of one day becoming an author. Without forgoing this passion, Ellena also looked at her future in the long term, and decided to pick up journalism. She has no regrets; the course has in fact opened her up to opportunities of linking creative writing to journalism; the heart of both practices pumped by the desire to tell stories. And here at UOW Ellena is creating her own story, as she makes new friends and experiences uni life to the full.
Hypothetical questions are arguably the most dreaded of them all. They put our imaginations on the spot. It might even feel like the question is demanding for a funny, insightful or all-round glorious answer. However, once people stop worrying about having to avoid the cliché, they open up. They are able to articulate their thoughts to the question put to them. It is interesting to witness how interviewees connected the hypothetical to an aspect of their uni life, in this case picking their dream lecture. From the lighthearted to inspirational, each response revealed the process different students go through when it comes to connecting different ideas.
‘I couldn’t work in an office, it wasn’t the right job for me.’ Euan Malcom reflected. He left his job at an accounting firm to travel though Asia, not knowing that the day before his flight home would change his life. ‘Today was special,’ he recalled, ‘it was the elections day in Bangkok. I went to the protest and spent all day taking photos, writing journals and talking to the local people…I just feel in love with what I was doing; that’s why I decided I was on the right track.’ Thus Euan decided to pursue his passion for journalism.
If you want to check out Euan’s blog, simply click on the photo above.