University is always an adventure …

It’s the most wonderful time of the (academic) year … O-week! A new batch of students are hitting our campuses, juggling feelings of excitement, trepidation and occasionally, downright confusion.

This year I’m feeling particularly old, since my youngest is among those being “Orientated” at my alma mater (and current employer).  His older sister is also there, busy representing (and recruiting for) the Law Students Society and UOW Cheer. She was snapped by one of the photographers at Tuesday’s festivities.

Jamie at O-week
So casual.

That afternoon, the new enrollee and a couple of his mates headed off to the UOW: Wollongong Pool Party, hosted by UniActive.

pool party
Apparently he’s in there somewhere.

On the regional campuses, we don’t achieve quite this scale. We have had some orientation and “immersion” activities this week, but we won’t get the market stall vibe until “W” (Welcome) Week in a fortnight. Sidenote: if you’re in the Shoalhaven and you’d like to have a stall, let the campus manager know. We are looking to build our community days throughout the year.

Life at my desk is somewhat less exciting than marquees and inflatable floating unicorns, but nevertheless there is still quite a lot going on. In an attempt to get on top of competing book / work / fellowship / strategy deadlines, I’ve enrolled in an online short course that promises to help me organise my academic life. It is one of a series of courses run by Dr Cathy Mazak from the University of Puerto Rico. I’ve also joined her Academic Women’s Writing Collective. This has kept me–well, if not on track, then at least within sight of it. For the past several months, I hop online with other female academics twice a week, we mute our machines and get writing. Lately I’ve been doing a lot more reading and note-taking than actual typing, but I’m hoping to rectify that tomorrow. I also have an Accountability Partner because it’s embarrassing to say out loud to another human: “These were my goals this week and I met none of them,” but I seem to be able to have that interior monologue just fine.

This time last week I was sitting in an all day training session, learning about Advance HE’s academic fellowship program. So while putting the finishing touches to my probation (tenure) application related to this role, I’ll also be completing some quite strenuous writing tasks about educational leadership which will be necessary if I ever want to go for promotion. As crazy as it is to be doing both at the same time, I am hopeful that they will feed into each other.

And so, like many of our undergraduate and postgraduate students, I find myself frantically trying to get organised this week, before semester kicks off in earnest. To all of us: Good Luck. And to all our students, new and returning: a very warm welcome. May it be an adventure.




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