The other week I had to call our Head of Security and utter a line I never thought I would: “I just wanted to warn you that you may get reports of shots fired on our campus.”

Thankfully, they hadn’t happened yet, and this was not an emergency, but rather a licensed provider dealing with a kangaroo that was beyond recovery. Australia is in the middle of a massive drought, and so some people in the suburbs are finding roos and other wildlife where we would not normally see them. We have roos all the time, but more sick ones than usual, because they are very hungry and therefore sometimes eating things that they shouldn’t.

Happy Roos
So idyllic, in greener times
Fighting Roos
…but sometimes distracting.

My office is located on a campus that is surrounded by bush. We have discussions about bushfire exclusion zones, and evaluations of which buildings are safest. We are on first name terms with Dusty from the animal rescue service, and we have a groundskeeper who has a second job working for Parks and Wildlife who is our first port of call when there’s a snake in the library or a possum in the childcare centre (and yes, both those things have happened). I’ve had to call Security and tell them that we’re closing the campus because of bushfire and because of flood–both in the same calendar year.

fires between campuses
Traveling between campuses in August last year, there were fires in front and fires behind.

Each time we have one of these events, we learn a little more. The first time we had a bushfire emergency, I was regaled with a tale by someone from a much larger campus about how the communications plan had been someone in high heels, running between buildings, shouting, “Fire! Fire!”

“Yes,” I replied,  “that was me.”

We have 2-way radios, now.

The first time we had to close the campus, I was the last to leave when a carful of multi-generational hoons came cruising on in, to get a better view of the fire. “You can’t go in there,” I told the driver. “The campus is closed. There’s no one in there. The fire services will only turn you around if you keep going.”

The middle-aged woman in the passenger seat screeched an obscenity-laden message about how it was a public road and she didn’t need to listen to no one from no expletive-deleted university, and who did I think I was, anyway.

We have that nice “Campus Closed” sign, now.

I have no idea what the next thing to come up will be, but we’ll keep learning and our plans will keep evolving. And I can guarantee I will have more phone calls with the Head of Security where I can add to the “things I never thought I’d hear myself utter” file.

Do you have any #onlyonaregionalcampus stories to share?

2 thoughts on “#onlyonaregionalcampus

  1. First off I would like to say great blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind.

    I was interested to know how you center yourself
    and clear your mind before writing. I have had trouble clearing
    my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do enjoy writing but
    it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any
    ideas or tips? Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      As far as writing, I try to just give myself enough structure to get it done, but not enough that it puts me under undue pressure. So I have an hour allocated to blog writing every Wednesday. Sometimes something else comes up that is truly urgent and important and I have to adjust; sometimes it takes more than an hour. But knowing that there’s time and it’s on some kind of priority list helps with mindset.

      I do keep a Trello board with ideas for writing (including blog posts). It gives me a space to jot down future ideas that are simmering in my subconscious somewhere, and I can add notes to the cards so that they aren’t lost.

      I find that writing begets writing– when I’m in the habit of writing each week, I usually have ideas. When I fall out of the habit, it’s much harder to “think of something” in order to get started. So impetus is big.

      Finally, know yourself, and give yourself some grace. If it takes 10 to 15 minutes to get in the swing of things but you are then productive, maybe that’s just how you roll. A soft start is way better than endless procrastination, or crippling writers’ block! There are days when I’m easily distracted, but there are also days when I am really, really, productive. As long as the latter outweigh the former by a fair margin, I get a lot done. I try to use my most productive times for writing, and the times when I’m easily distracted (mid-afternoon) for things that require far less brainpower, like wrangling diaries or answering emails. I think that has probably been the biggest help for me–knowing when I work best, and allowing myself to write then … and only then.

      I hope this helps. Happy writing, and thank you for reading!


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