Academic Life + Social Life = My Life

Laura Yang University of Melbourne, Australia


March 10, 2017

So it has been a while since I last posted something, but that doesn’t mean that my adventure is over. Rather, a new adventure has begun – the start of a new semester at a university in a different country. For those of you in the U.S., it’s currently midterms and/or Spring Break. For me in Melbourne, Australia, I just finished Week Two of classes and I’m still kind of nervous (to be honest). This semester, I’m taking Australia Now, Music Psychology, Biological Psychology, and Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality. If you are unfamiliar with their class enrollment and registration, there are generally two components for every subject – a lecture and a tutorial. In my Biological Psychology lecture, there are about 600 students in the lecture theatre. However, in my tutorial, there are about 25 students, which is more suitable for class discussions and reviewing the lecture material. My Anthropology and Australia Now tutorials have about 15 students each, which is even smaller. Also, there aren’t small assessments throughout the semester that add up to your final grade. Instead, usually there are just two assessments – a midterm and a final. My finals are worth 60% of my grade (totally no pressure).

As someone who’s lived on campus in Arcadia, I’m used to rolling out of bed, getting ready, and walking to class all within 30-45 minutes. However, since I live in St. Kilda, which is a suburb of Melbourne, I have to commute a little bit to get to campus using the tram (it’s basically a cross between a train and a cable car/trolley). I have to wake up almost two hours earlier to get ready and eat breakfast before walking to the tram stop (about a 7-min walk), then take the tram to campus (about a 45-min ride). Fortunately, I only have one tutorial at 9:00am so it’s not too miserable for me (even though it’s on a Friday).

University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus is beautiful. I’ve probably explored a total of 15% of the campus, but the architecture, landscape, and views are different and unique. Some of the academic buildings have small museums or galleries that relate to the department of the building (for example, the Arts West building has an art gallery, and the elevators’ wallpaper reflect some of the most famous works). I’m starting to get used to my bearings around campus and can generally find my way from class to class without being overwhelmed or confused. Luckily, there is an app called ‘Lost on Campus’ that has a map of campus where you can search by building name, room number, theatre, and has information on cafes, libraries, study rooms, and resources about textbooks and notes.

Anyways, aside from school, school, and more school, I have gone out with my friends to some of the local events happening near St Kilda or Melbourne. Right before classes started, a few of us went to the CBD (Central Business District) at night for the ‘White Night,’ which is basically an art event showcasing different works using lights and image projections. On one of the streets, they were using some of the buildings as the ‘canvas’ or backboard to illustrate some fairy tales. In another alley, there was ‘purple rain’ that you could go through (but the line for that was too long). The National Gallery of Victoria was using their building to do a broadcast of a fashion runway as a way to advertise the fashion exhibition they had opened.

A few days after that, we had our Welcome Lunch hosted by Arcadia, where we ate at a nice Armenian restaurant trying a range of delicacies that I can’t even remember the names of. It was nice to reconnect with some of the other students who don’t live in the Arcadia Student Centre and catch up on what’s been going on in our lives.

Additionally, Thursdays are free Trivia Night at the bar across the street from the house. They have a $16 dinner deal, where it’s a steak, waffle fries, and a pot (glass of beer). It’s four of us that go, and of course we named our team as “THEE Americans” (there was another team there that wanted to be called “The Americans” but they later changed to “Team U.S.A.”). On our first Trivia Night, we ended up placing last (to be fair, a lot of the questions are not suitable for non-Australians), but I did win a jug of beer for my team on a challenge. On our second Trivia Night, we placed 3rd to last. Yesterday was our third Trivia Night, and we placed 2nd to last, but at least not last.

To no one’s surprise, I also visited the beach a few times – before and after the start of the semester. Unfortunately, St Kilda Beach is actually in a bay, so there aren’t big waves happening, but it’s still nice to relax and soak in the sun… only I may have soaked in the sun a little too much because I left with a sunburn. I’ve recovered since then, but still, a couple of painful nights. I went again a few days ago, but only to watch the sunset. I attempted at a time lapse video, but for some reason it didn’t save so I only have some still images and a panorama. I recently learned that there are penguins that swim up to the beach at night, a bit before midnight, so I have to go sometime this weekend to catch that!

There’s a food festival going on this weekend at St Kilda Beach, so I’ll probably go to that and try a lot of food, watch the sunset again at the beach, and go for the penguins. There’s also a 2-for-1 special at Luna Park, which is an amusement park next to the beach. Next week, I signed up for a weekend excursion through Arcadia, and planned a coastal walk with some new friends I made on campus. Hopefully you’ll stick around for my next blog!


Australia Semester