Living outside academia

Publication date
Wednesday, 5 Oct 2016

University life is hectic, so finding a balance is essential. Extracurricular activities can help allowing you to develop different skills to put on your resume and meet fantastic people.

When you get to university it’s easy to be caught up in the constant and unrelenting swirl of lectures, tutes, labs and assignments. When I first started I was consumed with the academic side of university. Lectures were attended, readings read and tutes prepared for, plus the hours of study that dominated my spare time. If that works for you congratulations, and I am in total awe, however I, personally, can’t keep up. Come to First Semester exams and I was overworked, overtired and dreading the next 7 or 8 semesters.

When you start university it is easy to believe that the academic elements are the entirety of your university life – the ANU Bar aside of course. Don’t get me wrong, these factors are definitely important, but if you ever feel too caught up in the overall intensity that can come with them, just take a step back and open your eyes to the bigger picture.

While lectures, tutes, labs and assignments might be the core to your degree, you will never be able to fully experience the opportunities that going to university offer you unless you get involved in areas outside of them. And boy are there mountains of opportunities waiting to be discovered!

Ever wanted to write an article for a newspaper? The Woroni is your new best friend. Ever thought about consulting? There are three clubs and societies to choose from. Any guesses as to what Harry Potter, chocolate, 3D printing, meditation, beer, Kanye West and fly fishing all have in common? You guessed it! All have an ANU Club or Society dedicated to them.

If you want to make a difference and are currently rolling your eyes at the display above you; check out the ANUSA Mental Health Committee, or our United Nation Society. If you want to play sport, take your pick (although not swimming – it’s our only flaw). So don’t think for a second that all university offers is a degree. The ANU offers you infinitely more than that.

Look at me, as an arts/science student, marketing is definitely not part of my degree but I'm currently Vice President of the ANU Marketing and Advertising Society (which is awesome and everyone should join). Because of my involvement I now know that marketing is a career I want to pursue.

Finding a life outside of my studies has allowed me to expand my friendship group and social life from the ‘Burgmann Bubble*’ that consumed me in my first couple of years (College goers beware - but not really, you're going to love it).

So whether finding balance includes becoming a member of your residential College’s activities, becoming part of the ANU student's association: ANUSA (or the postgraduate student's association: PARSA), joining a student society or getting a casual job, it is these experiences and the people you meet through them that will help define your university life. As a general rule, if you engage in other activities outside the classroom you are going to do better overall. So always remember to take a step back and glance at the bigger picture.

It sure helped me!

*Burgmann Bubble: getting caught in up in predominately Burgmann activities and people with little to no outside engagement.

– Note: Can be applied to any residential college