I had a funny university career. I loved my papers and when I was physically at university I was engrossed in what I was learning, for the most part, at least. But it didn't translate to working once I'd left for the day; as soon as I got home I'd become equally engrossed in what was happening there. It's a shame, really; my marks don't reflect at all how I felt about what I studied, or how much I think about it, or how much it all affects my life. There were a lot of papers I shouldn't have taken (most of which I stopped attending), and lots of work I didn't do. Lots of marks I didn't get. But I don't regret it.
I was a total loner at university, and I don't really know why. Part of it was shyness, I suppose, a hangover from my year at AUT where I felt like a fish out of water, and part of it was laziness and maybe a bit of arrogance; I was really happy with my group of friends outside uni, and didn't really feel I needed any more. I was also going through a stage where, with the exception of my best friends, I preferred the company of boys, but was in relationship, so making new friends that weren't girls was awkward. The friends I did make were not exactly friends; friendish, maybe? With the exception of one, as soon as the papers we had together ended, we never spoke again, and I'm not sure I'd recognise most of them now. Still, something made me think of them.
1. Andrew and Josh. These two guys were in my first philosophy paper, which was an introduction to metaphysics and an overview of continental philosophy (which was later separated into two separate papers, as the philosophy department got bigger). Josh was like the silent partner; he always wore a cap and didn't say much. His attendance was also erratic, whereas Andrew seemed really conscientious, and I loved the paper and didn't want to miss a minute, so I was always there. I don't remember a great deal else about them, except the following:
- Josh was brown and had black hair. Andrew was white and had dark blonde hair.
- Andrew always smelt like expensive cologne. This was because he lived with his Dad in an apartment and had to dry his tshirts in a dryer so they shrank and fit closer than he felt comfortable with, so he was liberal with the cologne, and he worked at Smith & Caughey, so he got discounts on fancy stuff.
- Josh always wore hoodies, and he had a gold tooth. Andrew always had headphones on. That might be why I liked them; like they were signifiers (our lectures were enormous; you had to look for signifiers). At the time, I only wore jeans and hoodys, and as you know, I have always been a big music geek. They also just looked normal. You'd be surprised how many people at uni don't look normal. Boys in tshirts with surf logos emblazoned across the fronts. Or jandals in winter.
- Andrew had a girlfriend. (This made me feel like it was okay to sit with them.)
- Andrew also wrote articles and reviews for magazines about hip-hop. We went to the bfm office together to fill out volunteer forms. He heard back immediately, and started doing bits and pieces up there. I never heard back. I tried not to take that personally, even when he came to class with bfm collector cards. Damn you, b.
- Andrew had round handwriting. I don't think I ever saw Josh's.
- Later that year, I read an article Andrew had written about P Money in Rip It Up. It was good.
- Josh and I had another paper together, so we sat together, but then one of us stopped attending. I think it was me.
2. Matt. Matt was the lone male in a couple of my feminism/women's studies papers. He was reed thin, pale, and had stringy black hair that hung down in his eyes. He had a very good sense of humour about being in a class of women talking about vaginas as receptacles, and while no-one really talked to each other, I think we all thought of him as hope for men. His contributions to discussion were always very interesting, and he took the papers seriously. I wouldn't be surprised to learn he got the highest marks in the classes. I don't remember how we became friendly, but I do remember we would usually sit together in one lecture. I used to worry about Matt. He seemed like the most intelligent and sensitive person in the entire university, and as such seemed so vulnerable to me. I worried that someone would hurt him, or that he would become so disillusioned with the world that he would hurt himself.
- One day he was late for the lecture; like, I think he arrived shortly before it ended. He explained that he had been sitting in his garage and become transfixed by the way the light was coming in the window, so he'd sat, and sat, and then realised he'd been sitting looking at it for almost an hour. I really appreciated knowing someone who could look at light for an hour.
- One day we went for a walk, and he told me about a time he went out by himself late at night. He found himself at a supermarket carpark, and starting riding around in a trolley, and having tons of fun. Then a group of guys turned up, and beat him up.
- He would get so carried away talking that he would frequently lose track of time and where he was supposed to be. I think of him as gesticulating a lot as he spoke, but that might be me confusing him with someone else.
3. Fia. Fia was in a couple of my papers, but I think we met on the bus. She had a gloriously loud laugh, and was incredibly friendly; everybody knew who she was, even if they didn't know her personally. All of our lecturers and tutors knew her, and if you sat with her, they'd know you too, which was kind of funny, but not bad. Fia never missed a class, and had extensive notes on everything.
- In our enormous pop music paper, Fia pretty much had her own row, sixth row, centre. I don't know if she just arrived really early or if people just left it for her, but she always, always had it, which meant even if I was late I didn't have to worry about trying to find a seat (the paper was that popular); she'd be there waving to me to come and sit down. It was pretty awesome.
- Fia had been through some really hard stuff, but was kind and cheerful and took people as they came, including me. She was open, and interested, and even when she was stressed with school or family stuff, she still managed to make people laugh.
- Fia invited me to her graduation party, but I couldn't go. I don't remember why, but I wish I had. The invitation, which she left in my letterbox (we lived near each other), had lollies in it.
- When I finished uni, Fia was in her first year of law. We're friends on facebook, and her updates, standing up for people or keeping everyone up to date on Hollywood, are always entertaining.
And that's about it. I don't know what made me think of them.