Worst Case Scenario

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worst Case Scenario.”

In light of me starting my third year of university tomorrow, I have thought about the Worst Case Scenarios that could happen. I have chosen to imagine such scenarios a day from now rather than today like the prompt suggests. What can I say? I have always been a bit of a dare devil.

If some of my fears came true tomorrow, it would be because I:

  • Forgot to set my alarm clock and consequently, walked into a lecture theater late. Of course, only the seats closest to the isles are taken, so I would only draw more attention to myself asking people to shuffle along the row. I dislike the feeling of running late and disruption, in particular being the cause of disruption. On second thought, I might just set two alarms tonight, just in case.
  • Was singled out by a lecturer in class. One of my favourite lecturers calls out students who are texting/reading/doing anything else but listen to him speak. I respect him for doing so, as he puts in time and effort into his lecturers, so the least students should do is pay attention for 50 minutes. However, in the rare occasion that I break this rule (most likely for being mistaken by the lecturer for texting when really playing Candy Crush), I would slump so far into my seat in a futile attempt to become invisible.

On a more positive note, the best case scenario I am hoping for looks like a day older version of myself happy with her choice in classes, which greatly interest her and her schedule, which gives her two days off every week.

Advice to a First Year

Reflecting back on my second year, which was last year, I remembered the advice I gave to my friend who had just begun her first year at university.

I gave her the advice that my parents gave me:

“Try lots of new things at university”

On second thought, I am 98% sure my parents were talking about taking different classes at university rather than trying drugs and alcohol. Anyway, that’s just the way I interpreted it.

When I began university, I was majoring in Classics and Media Studies. Over the course of two years, my majors changed from Classics and Film, History and International Relations.

Taking a variety of different subjects in my first and second year at university helped me discover what classes I liked, what classes I hated and what classes I enjoyed but knew would not get me anywhere in my post-university life.

I signed up to Classical Studies not even knowing what it was! I just thought it sounded interesting, and luckily, it turned out to be.

Philosophy, on the other hand, was NOT my forte. You can check out my post about this regret on https://oliviasevern.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/philosophy-is-the-questioning-of-shit/

If you are able to take a diverse selection of classes, I thoroughly encourage you to do so!

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

Writing a Letter to 18 Year Old Me

Dear 18 year old me,

Here is some things I want you to know before you embark on your first year of university.

The main difference between high school and university is anonymity. Transitioning from a high school where everyone knew you to a 21,000 strong institution will be a major jump. But it will suit you just fine. You can be whoever you want and do things you would never have done in high school.

High school is in the past. No-one cares about what grades you got for NCEA or what friendship group you belonged to.


Source: Flickr

You will realise that university is not just about going to classes, completing assignments and getting good grades. This is NOT the university experience you were waiting for. In your second year, you will move out of home. This may be a scary thought right now but it will be an experience you will not regret. Some of the strangers who you meet at the start of the year as your flatmates will become your friends. It’s because of these people that you made lifelong memories.

The loneliness you felt last year will slowly go away.

Although your social anxiety around hiding away from new people will remain the same, you will push yourself in classes and talk to new people. That’s awesome! Your efforts will pay off when meet two people doing the same major as you. They will turn out to be lovely people who can make you laugh when you’re down. They make classes fun just by being there. They are incredible people who make you dread leaving university because you won’t see them as much anymore.

Lastly, you will write a blog. Years of struggles to communicate your thoughts and feelings will pay off when you decide to make the leap and write daily entries about your life. Remember all of those times where English teachers in high school told you your writing ‘had potential?’ Well, it turns out that they didn’t say that for nothing. In the end, all you needed was self-belief. This will never change.


Olivia from the future.

P.S. I want to thank you for 18 years of not drinking. It has done your liver much good!

High School as an Audition for University

I was intrigued by a post I saw on Tumblr yesterday. It read ‘High school is a four year audition for University.’

I couldn’t help but agree with this thought. All of the hard-work I put in during high school for good grades really was just to get into university.

There is the exception of the high school students who graduated and went on to pursue non-university goals like working, travelling or studying at another institution. However, I am left wondering that, if this post is true, is high school really worth all of the energy students dedicate to it?

Please leave a comment on any thought/s you have on this post.

Leaving University?

2015 marks my third and potentially last year of university. As my graduation date comes closer and closer, I find myself often wondering about what I should do in the future.

Do I stay at university and do Honours? Should I then do Masters followed by a PhD? Or should I graduate and find a full-time job?

These are the questions that haunt me.

What makes me want to pursue a Honours degree is my interest and passion for Classics and Politics. The opportunity to study these fields in greater depth attracts me to this option. Additionally, I do not feel ready to leave university. If you think about it, university students have been in school for most of their lives. My education began at age 5, when I began primary school. The learning has not stopped since.

Although I get tired of assignments, being graded and going to classes, this is the life I have known for 15 years. I do not feel ready to leave it just yet. University is my safety net. But does that justify doing an Honours degree? Should I just graduate and get on with my life?

The other option is finding a full-time job. This in itself is an issue. I have idea what career I want to pursue. Becoming a government employee, a journalist or working in a museum are all options that can apply to me and my BA degree. Again, my head runs through hypothetical situations. Will I get a job that makes me happy? Will the job pay a decent wage that will support my living options? Will I be unemployed or forced to take a job which I know I will not enjoy? Will I be up against other candidates who have higher qualifications? Will I regret leaving university?

These questions are running through my head all the time. I must reach a final decision by the end of this year. If I don’t, I guess that I could always use a Magic 8 Ball to determine my future. Seems legit.

DO’s and DON’T’s for Your First Year at University

DO make coffee your friend. Discard those sugary energy drinks and replace them with coffee. Coffee will get you through a lot of long nights you spend awake finishing (or starting) assignments.

DON’T leave assignments to the last minute. In writing this, I am a hypocrite. ‘Due tomorrow do tomorrow’ was once my life motto. However, sleepless nights makes for poorly written essays and additional stress I do not need. This year, in my third year of university, I am striving to complete every assignment ONE day before it is due, rather than one hour before the deadline.

DO wrap a bed-sheet around a body and place a fake reef on your head! I missed out on the opportunity to go to the annual Greek dance party for new students and have regretted it ever since. Please don’t make this mistake. Even if the party turns out to be lame and full of drunk first years, you can always ditch. At least you can say that you went to it.

DON’T be too afraid to talk to anybody at university. In my first year, I failed to make any friends. I kept to myself and was shy. However, in my second year, I began talking to three other students who would become my friends. This would not have been possible if I had never taken a chance to speak to these then weird strangers.

DO expect to get lost (on campus). Everything always seems bigger when it is unfamiliar to you. Do you remember how big you once thought your high school was? That may be how university feels at first. However, there are several things you can do to help this. Before classes begin, you can go on a campus tour. During your first week/s, show up to your classes early to allow time for getting lost. Also, don’t be afraid to ask another person where the heck you are if you think you’re in the right building when really you should be across campus.

DON’T expect everything on this list to apply to you. I have written from the experiences I have had in my three years at university. These are some observations I have noted, and they may be unique to me and my university. I hope that some of these tips DO help.

Philosophy is the questioning of shit

Philosophy = questions, questions and even more questions.

I did not realise this before I enrolled in a philosophy class during my first year of university.

Challenge myself, I said. It might be fun, I said. Well, the class turned out to be more of a challenge than it was fun.

I am the only one to blame for being unaware of the impending doom I had brought upon myself. First of all, I signed up to the class NOT EVEN knowing what philosophy was. Sure, I had heard of Plato, but I was not familiar with his work. I just knew he was a Greek dude with a very cool name.


Also, I have no time for questioning things. I am very straight-to-the-point. I just want the direct answer and none of this fluffing around business, questioning anything and everything in existence. What is a drink bottle? What does it mean to be a man? Do we really exist. Well, WHO EVEN CARES??

So, that was all I gained from that philosophy class. That, and an even greater student loan. But never mind.

On a positive note, without taking this philosophy class, I would never discovered that it was a subject field I wanted to stay clear from. As far away from as possible. Like, the distance between New Zealand and America. Or the distance between Pluto and the sun. What ever is greater.

Taking a wide variety of classes in my first year, including film, media studies and history, led to my discovery of Classical Studies and International Relations. I realised that they were both subject fields I wanted to pursue. Thus, both became my BA majors.

So maybe I am not meant to become a philosopher. But I can live with that.